by Kristin Kuiper, LMSW, MSW
Have you ever experienced a problem that has you end up feeling trapped, like there is no way out? Do you end up stewing, thinking about, and focusing on this struggle from day to day, leaving you feeling even more discouraged? Maybe you feel trapped in your job, experience frustration and misunderstanding in a relationship, or are upset at yourself for gaining some pounds over the past couple of years. Perhaps it’s just that the summer and change in routine has you spinning. Do you feel disorganized, depressed, overwhelmed?
I know how easy it is to focus on these concerns, to experience thoughts and feelings that consistently come back to the struggle you are experiencing. The focus is on the problem…day after day…this in itself can be overwhelming and discouraging.
It can be difficult to experience joy in the midst of these struggles. It can be really tough to know how to begin the process of change…
One place to begin is by turning some of your challenges upside down. What this means is that when you are focusing on your struggle, truly thinking about it and feeling it, turn some of your challenges into questions. For example—if you are feeling overwhelmed, ask yourself “What would it look like for me to not feel overwhelmed? What would be the first thing that would be different if I weren’t feeling overwhelmed? How can I make this happen?”
If you are feeling out of control of your summer with your children at home, ask yourself “What would it look like for me to feel in control? What would be different? How would I know that this change is happening?”
Turning our struggles upside down like this can get us on the road toward solutions—solutions that help us grow through our challenges, even in the midst of them.