Hoping A Crisis Isn’t Around The Corner
As a caregiver, we know that a crisis could be just around the corner. It is the reality we live in when our spouse has a serious illness or health condition. While we may be painfully aware of this fact, we often aren’t prepared when it happens. We sometimes live in that state of hopefulness that we won’t actually have to face it. We’re secretly keeping our fingers crossed that everything will be fine.
Can’t Control The Future
The problem with hoping everything will be fine is that we can’t control the future. Hoping everything will be fine is not an effective strategy. When something does happen, despite our strongest wishes, we are not prepared. This can be even more frightening.
A Recent Family Crisis
One of my clients recently had a family crisis. In the middle of the night she was awoken to discover her child had tried to harm herself. She was in complete shock as she drove her child to the emergency room. Earlier that day I had coached my client on having a powerful mantra in times of need. The one she had created for herself came to mind during the crisis. Her mantra was:
I can get through this.
As she drove to the emergency room, she just kept repeating it in her mind. Five little words… over and over again. This kept her focused and functioning when she easily could have lost it.
She told me later how happy she was that those words were fresh in her mind and ready in her time of need.
Mind In Freak Out Mode
When we are faced with a crisis, especially one we may not be expecting, unless we have special training, we may not respond very well. In that moment, our brain may offer up all sorts of unhelpful thoughts. We may be in shock and disbelief because what we are facing seems just too hard to accept. Or we may feel frantic and get stuck in indecision, not knowing what to do.
Our mind will offer us unhelpful thoughts like:
This can’t be happening!
I don’t know what to do!
How am I going to get through this?
Oh my God, oh my God…
None of these thoughts are helpful because they cause us to feel fear, doubt, uncertainty, sock. Typically when our emotions are high, our reasoning is low. These type of thoughts keep us stuck, frozen in indecision, unable to act. Exactly the opposite of what we need to be in a crisis, right?
One Empowering Thought
In a crisis, you want to be able to think clearly and calmly. To do that, you need to first get your emotions in control. We know that our emotions are caused by our thoughts. So, first you need to give your mind one empowering thought, a mantra to focus on. Something that will keep you centered and present, able to function and take action. Something like:
I can get through this.
Just one thing at a time.
I’ll be OK.
I’ll figure this out.
Your mind will have something to focus on, something that allows you to keep functioning and moving forward. When your mind is focused, then you will be able to take the action you need to in the moment. You don’t need to have all the right answers, you just need to be able to take action. This one thought will set you up to be your best in a crisis.
The only requirement is this thought needs to be about YOU. Only you and how you show up is within your control. You may want to think a thought like: He will be OK. He’ll get through this. Everything will be fine. While it seems reasonable, you can’t control what happens to him or anyone outside of you. Your mantra needs to keep you focused, no matter what happens to anyone else.
Find Your Mantra
What is your mantra? If you don’t have one, pick one now. Write it down, put it in your phone. Practice it once a day. This one step will make a huge difference the next time you are faced with a crisis.
If you have a spouse with cancer or some other serious health issue, then you need to watch my free video. In just 10 short minutes, I’ll teach you the three most important things I wish I knew from the beginning about coping when your loved one is sick.
These 10 minutes will change everything!
The 3 Secrets I Wish I Knew About Coping With My Partner’s Cancer