7186099_sI don’t know about you, but sometimes I just need to remind myself of what really matters to me and remember that it’s actually the small, simple things and the people I love. Do you ever feel that way? I mean, life is rarely simple and straightforward, and is often very messy. And, it can sometimes feel overwhelming. Multiple problems may be coming at you from all different directions. And, some days it seems like it will never stop. On those days, I know you just want to crawl in your shell and give up. I have these thoughts too….frequently!

But, I’ve learned something though. One of the best tools I use to combat this feeling of being tossed about in life is focusing on what’s working in all the chaos. In truth, when things are going wrong, we have the choice to get stuck in the mess, believing that only more of the same is coming or we can choose to believe that whatever is going wrong, is an obstacle that can be resolved. We can also take a moment to focus on what is and has been going well in our lives so we don’t start a pity-party for ourselves.

Think about it for a minute. You’ve had a rough day at work. A deadline didn’t get met, a team member took credit for your work, your supervisor misunderstood something you said, someone took your lunch…and then you got a call that a close friend was in the hospital and, as you are leaving, you discover that you have a flat tire…. YIKES!! Just one of these things is enough to send most of us into a tailspin of worry and negativity…and, any combination of things like these can and do happen, seemingly right on top of each other. And, yes it is frustrating. But are you the kind of person who has all this happen and then believe that you and your life are miserable? Or perhaps when the first crisis happens you decide “uh oh, today is going to be a bad day” and then look for evidence to confirm it (and it will come).

Alternatively, in the midst of all the chaos, you can take a moment to take a deep breath to calm the stress hormones racing through your body and think about solutions to the issues that need one. You can also, in that moment when you get centered, take stock of all the blessings in your life and what you DO have to be grateful for. You can also remind yourself that tomorrow is a new day. This way when you get home to your family and your daughter greets you at the door asking for your help on her homework, you will realize that all the craziness of the day has nothing to do with her and instead of responding angrily because you have had a tough day, you have the emotional resources to calmly assist her with the task. I guarantee you that when she looks at you with deep gratitude and relief because you are the superhero who helped her figure out what she thought was an impossible problem, you will release all the stress that you thought was most important.

Sometimes all it takes to bring us back around to what matters and help us to get centered again is a simple look, a kind word, or a gesture… I promise you that taking the time to focus on what really matters to you, getting centered and releasing the stress of your day, will make a huge difference in how you think and feel each and every day.

So, what helps bring you back around when the world around you feels like a chaotic mess? Is it a baby’s laugh? The sound of the ocean? A hug from your grandmother? Your husband having dinner ready when you get home and doing the dishes? A long, laughter filled phone call with a good friend?

These simple things may not seem like much. But they do have the power to help shift your mood and help you to focus on what really matters in your life. The next time the balance of negative and positive in your life seems to tip too far to the dark side, stop and remember any one of these little things to help you shift your energy and your focus. Encourage yourself and remember that you really do matter…and so does everyone around you, even the people contributing to your rough day.