Whether you’re recently jobless, or have been floating around in the unemployed ethers for months, you know it takes daily effort to keep a positive outlook. Having been gainfully “part-time” employed for the past 7 months, I have come to rely on some certain truths for my mental survival. These 5 Truths have replaced my job security blanket and make coping with uncertainty not only bearable but on some days even enjoyable. I hope they will also serve a similar purpose for those of you traveling the road of unemployment.
1) Imagine the Worst. : Wait! Before your “positive thought” codes step in, just hear me out. Its human nature to be clouded with worries and fears about the future, the unknown, or what feels like the uncontrollable, but it is also these thoughts that can lead us to some great life lessons. At times, our resistance to, rather than our acceptance of those fears can keep us trapped in a cat and mouse game of stressful mental exercise. So take a moment and write down some of your fears associated with being out of work.
Here are a few of my own:1) I’ll never find the right job 2) I’ll have to file for bankruptcy 3) I’ll end up homeless! Don’t judge your fears no matter how big or small. Be honest and look at what really worries you. Now give yourself some honest feedback. If some of these worst fears did happen, what would you do? Would you survive? Would you find a way to make it work and move forward with your life? Would it really be the end of the world? No matter what you may be facing, its important to know that you are not the only one who has ever faced this. Others have as well, and they have survived… You will too! No one is immune to the ups and downs of life, the real trick is not getting swallowed up by your fears.
2) Move It!: Sometimes, especially when feeling depressed or anxious its challenging to step away from your computer, strap on your running shoes, or meet up with your friends. This is sticky trap to fall into, and it can lead you down a path of ill perspectives. So whatever happens, keep moving! When your body is inactive your mind becomes overly active and often repetitive. The more physical energy you can burn up in a positive way (do yoga, dance around the house, take a walk) the more perspective and calm you bring to your mind.
3) Be Still and Dream.: Once you’ve begun to incorporate regular exercise into your life you’ll start to notice a calmer mental space. These calmer, open, and loving spaces are the perfect fertile ground for the seeds of hopes, dreams, and gratitude. For some, a positive mental attitude is a natural by-product of their genetics or upbringing, but for others it takes practice and intention. Don’t beat yourself up for not being the most confident upbeat person. That is exactly the kind of self-judgment thinking we have to work on. Start by spending a few moments (5-10 min) a day affirming your great qualities. If you are stumped about what those are, just breath and practice accepting exactly who you are in this moment… crazy thoughts and all.
4) Do What You Can. : Maybe your dream job is eluding you and your life’s passion is still a mystery, but that doesn’t have to stop you from moving forward. The more you experience, the more you know. If a job comes along that meets your needs but is lacking your all of your ideal qualities, give it a try. It just might teach you something you didn’t know or lead you in an unexpected direction. Remember, life is equal parts elimination and inspiration. Sometimes, doing what you don’t want gives you clarity about what you do. And while your at it, VOLUNTEER! Create some of your own direction and sense of purpose by helping someone else. Much of the steps to happiness are about the rich experiences we accumulate inside.
5) It Starts NOW! : Imagine that your life has unfolded just the way you had always hoped. You’ve saved up for that dream vacation or house, donated to your favorite causes, and payed off all your debt. Imagine how great that would be but, there’s a catch, you can’t wait for that! You have to start NOW. Even if you can only save 10 cents a day/week (that’s how much I saved when I was living in a motor home parked in my friend’s yard). Start putting away for your retirement or a new car. Your intentions are powerful and it WILL begin to multiply.
Waiting for the “perfect” life scenario to occur is like telling the universe that your intentions and actions don’t matter. So stop waiting and start creating.
About Jessica Martin
Jessica might have the most success as a resident in Iceland, where trying many things in life is highly celebrated, if only it weren't so cold there. She is an artist, teacher, Kundalini yoga instructor, tour guide and creator of the non-profit Beyond Measure Arts. She solidly relies on her belief in our potential as humans, long deep breathing, and dancing, lots of dancing. She hopes one day to have a home in India and a center where people can experience the gifts other cultures have to offer. Jessica currently resides in New York City.