The Do’s of Coping with the Uncontrollable – Bad Weather

Today is a sunny and warm day. The sky is so very blue. The white puffy clouds are bouncing across the sky. The higher thin whisps of cloud are lazily streaked on the blue. The mountains seem cut into the sky. The thought enters my mind, “I think it’s summer”. That’s a rare thought in this mountain town. It’s amazing how good I feel just sitting on my balcony, basking in this warm, slightly breezy hug. Ahhhhh…I think most of us feel better when there is this type of weather. Do you?

In contrast to the idyllic picture above, Mother Nature has served up record snowfalls this past winter (I’m a skier so I love them for the most part, but many do not) leading to record road closures outside Revelstoke, BC, rainfalls in the form of the worst floods in years in Manitoba, the terrible tsunami effects in Japan and fires burning down whole neighborhoods in Slave Lake, Alberta, not to mention the simply horrid spring that was really winter in disguise in the Bow Valley. So how do you cope with these vicious swings in something that affects all of us and that is completely out of our control to change?

Weather is one of those things that is talked about a lot and creates a great deal of negativity. Most of us do not have the option to relocate to a more stable, warm and welcoming climate. I even read somewhere on the internet that if Canadians did not have the weather to talk about, they would not have anything to talk about. So what to do? Think about it for yourself… How many conversations that you have with others revolve around the weather, good or bad? That’s a fair amount of time spent on something over which we have no control and yet impacts each one of us so significantly.

Here are some do’s for coping better with the uncontrollable events in our lives, such as the weather and natural disasters that have occurred in this past few months.

  • Do identify what you do and do not have control over in such situations; most often all you have control over is how you  think, feel and act about the situation. To quote Henry Ford “If you think you can or think that you cannot, you areright”, meaning our thoughts about a situation can determine the outcome.
  • Do realize that it is normal and natural to feel badly about  things outside your control. If, however, you dwell on this and start blaming the outside factors  for your feelings and thoughts, or dwell on negative thoughts and feelings, your life can become more difficult.
  • Do realize that there is nothing that you can do about the weather. You can look at your own attitude and decide if your present attitude, thoughts and feelings arehelpful to you. You can make the deliberate change  to have more helpful thoughts, feelings and actions. These might include doing an enjoyable activity, spending time with friends or family. To help with the shift, take a five minute belly breathing session or simply place the image of a big STOP sign in your mind, followed by shifting to something different.
  • Do make  a list of things that you like to think, see, do and play at so that whendifficult external situations arise you canrefocus  your energies in  a more positive direction and  feel better about yourself.
  • Do what you can do with things such as naturaldisasters. You can donate money, time, old clothing and send positive thoughtsto the location.
  • Do focus on what you are thankful for in yourlife and live according to what is important to you. You can refocus yourenergies on things over which you exert influence.
  • Do look into using a SAD (Seasonal AffectiveDisorder) light as the sun heads south after June 21 in the northern hemisphereif you experience low energy, irritability, negative thought patterns andchanges in your sleep patterns as the summer progresses and fall approaches.

In sum, do put your energies where they will have the most positive effect for you. Choose this direction and refrain from focusing on things over which you have no control.

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