Ever felt like banging your head on the wall and screaming “Why me?!” again and again?
We’ve all been there, so today I’m going to share a bit about my life and how I work through challenges and stress.
I’ll also show you how you can change your perspective in difficult situations and turn them to your advantage.
Keep reading for a physical solution to mental turmoil.
Understand That You Have A Choice
First things first: you have a choice.
Work issues, family troubles, money woes, and physical pains that keep us from our training programs – we all face challenges. And when problems crop up, it’s natural to get stressed out and let anxiety get the best of us. But it’s not necessary.
We may not always have a choice about the events in our lives, but we do have a choice about how we react and deal with the situation.
Allow it to drag us down? Or find a way to keep moving towards our goals?
It’s your choice.
Cliche Alert: Half Empty or Half Full?
I’m pretty sure you’ve heard this a thousand times.
If you’re like me, it’s got to grate on you sometimes! I hate it when people try to look like they have a positive outlook on life ALL of the time.
It’s just not genuine.
I know I’m not alone in feeling that there are times when life is so overwhelming that I just want to crawl back into bed and sleep for a month.
And some days I try just that! But then my two kids come running into our bedroom and start jumping on the bed. At first I yell at them for messing around and waking me up. But then I see them give me the confused “What’d we do?” look, and I realize that I’m the one to blame. That’s when I snap out of my negativity-dream-land and take a look again at that glass.
The glass is not half empty or half full. It’s always full no matter how much water it holds.
There’s air in there too.
The (Complete Lack of) Zen of Parenting
When you’re responsible for kids, there are times when life starts to cave in all around you.
Especially when your kids are crying, fighting, and generally driving you bonkers. When all you want is a little piece and quiet so you can finish all the crap you have to do. But for me, having these two beautiful children running around healthy and happy puts the priorities of my life back in full view.
I’m lucky that they’re able to run around freely when other kids are weak and sick. They’re able to eat when they’re hungry, sleep when they’re tired, and simply live their lives. Without any thought, they just know their glass is always full.
My “Perfect” Life
I’m lucky enough to be a coach for many people all around the world. As a coach, I analyze people’s patterns, develop plans, and help them meet their goals. So when they follow my advice and get good results, they sometimes assume that I have all the answers and my life is as perfect as can be.
That’s just silly.
Don’t trust anyone who says they have all the answers (or even if they don’t say it but just act like they do).
I’m just like my students, we work hard, make mistakes, learn from those mistakes, and then keep working hard towards the top of their mountain. I just happen to be further up on that same road, so I can share what it’s like ahead for them, and hopefully make it a bit less stressful than it was for me.
The road is tough and filled with challenges, but in the end, we do what we need to do for our families and loved ones. I train so I can tackle the challenges in life and do it in a way that encourages true strength and growth.
That’s easy enough to say, but what do you do when “stuff” happens?
When you’re pulling a heavy load behind you and there’s a hard wind blowing in your face, how do you deal with it?
When The World Conspires Against You
Last year, after months of debating and decision-making, my wife and I finally decided to move the family to the US. We’d planned to be there by December in time to spend Christmas with my parents – we knew they’d love to see the grandkids.
All we had to do was finish up my wife’s visa application, and typically this shouldn’t have taken longer than three months. But, the immigration procedures changed right before we sent in the application. With all the changes in paperwork and the hassle of the transition to the new procedure, after already several months of waiting they told us it would take at least 6 to 8 more months.
That was it for getting to my folks for Christmas.
My wife and I were pretty pissed off and frankly, I was embarrassed. I had told quite a few people that we were heading to the States and informed my students in Japan that I would no longer be here. I made arrangements to turn my classes and private clients over to other instructors.
Well, it’s been over 6 months and we’re still here. Six long, rough, and incredibly stressful months.
Just ask Andy, Amber, and Jarlo. I was stressed out about my training, my business, and everything else I could find to complain about. Not to mention stressing about having to explain to all of my clients just what the hell I’m still doing here!
How I Turned It Around
I’m glad to say that I broke through being angry and depressed and got my ass back in gear.
I worked on and released a book in Japanese with a major publishing house, started the Ryan Method (GMB for the Japanese audience), and just recently found a quality gymnastics center to work on my skills.
Most importantly, my family has grown stronger.
My wife and I have come to accept that there are some things that we can control and others that we can’t. It’s okay to feel overwhelmed and stressed out. It’s a normal part of life and you’d be totally abnormal if you’ve never felt this way. But it’s not okay to stay like this forever.
Here at GMB, we always say that being strong is more than just how much you can lift, or how high you can jump.
It’s about how you deal with the challenges in your life. Pour your heart and soul into what you can change and you’ll continue growing and moving forward.
That’s the mental part, now here’s a physical strategy that I use to help keep me on an even keel.
Physical Practice For Mental Grounding
Athletics and training have been a steadying influence for so much of my life, so it’s no surprise that I use physical work to manage emotional setbacks and challenges.
I have done various types of sitting meditation, but I always find myself coming back to active movement. It’s probably a function of my personality, but it just works better for me to be moving and working physically.
Over the years, I’ve discovered a variety of exercises I like to do that double as “moving meditations.”
Recently, because of all the ring training I’ve been doing, handstands have been ideal. I’ve found that concentrating on doing the straightest handstand possible really clears my mind and removes a lot of pent up anxieties.
And within three minutes, I feel calm and in control again.
It takes a lot of focus to hit that perfect balance point in a handstand. It’s also such a familiar thing to me (by this point in my life I’ve probably spent thousands of hours total in a handstand), so I’m fine tuning details rather than learning a new skill. Since there isn’t any significant technical frustration, the activity helps me relax.
Handstands are my happy place. They may not be as easy for you, and that’s OK.
I’d love for you to find your own personal movement to drive away stress and anxiety.
Discover Your Own Zen (Definitely Try This At Home)
I like handstands because they require concentration but no longer cause any kind of stress for me. You can use the following tips to discover your own zen activity.
The activity you choose should:
- be familiar and comfortable (though not necessarily easy)
- demand concentration to keep your mind in the present moment (so you don’t start thinking of stressful stuff again)
- be able to be done anytime
- not require much time – less than three minutes is a good rule of thumb
- not be too strenuous (if you have to rest from your relaxation, you’re doing something wrong)
- be easy to do daily
You probably won’t find the perfect activity right away. It’ll take a little trial and error – and you’ll need to remind yourself to actually do it – but it’s worth the effort.
Experiment and find what works for you. And remember that nobody is perfect.
We all face challenges – every single day – but we each have a choice to decide how we’re going to react when things aren’t easy.
Choose to move.