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Last Updated on August 7, 2019

How to Not Be Sad When It Feels Like Everything Is Going Wrong

How to Not Be Sad When It Feels Like Everything Is Going Wrong

I can safely say that the previous year was the most challenging year I had experienced, and it emotionally broke me. After losing my grandfather over the summer, I had lost my father, and a good friend a week apart from one another later in the year. Looking back, it was almost a domino effect that left me feeling completely angry, sad, and other times transparently emotionless.

Gaining emotional balance is far different than finding physical or mental balance. Human emotions, especially, sadness, pain, depression, and anxiety, tend to arrive suddenly and uninvited. Sometimes, it may feel like the odds are stacked against your favor, which makes it harder to break through that specific cycle or see the light at the end of the tunnel.

These emotions – especially sadness – is weighed differently by everyone and may feel amplified during specific periods in one’s life. Whether it be because of a breakup, losing a friend or a loved one, feeling like a failure, or even homesickness, understand that it’s completely natural to feel a certain way about it.

So how to not be sad?

1. Keep in Mind That There’s a Season to Everything

Like nature’s seasons, we also go through seasons in life. Some seasons may seem longer than others especially when it comes to dealing with emotions such as sadness, grief, sorrow, and depression. But just like nature, there is a beginning, and there is a renewal to every moment in our lives.

Take a moment to think back on the last five years. The chances are you’ve had your highs and lows, and maybe one particular year stood out more than the others. For that particular moment, event, or even year, it might have been hard to see the light or good that was to come out of it.

Trust that while it seems like everything is going against you, there is a close to every single loop in our lives. It’s also meant for your growth mentally, physically, and spiritually to have these renewal periods.

2. Embrace the Domino Effect

Other times, life will have some dominos lined up for you and there will be a time when it’ll all come tumbling one after another – or it may seem so. Sometimes, it’s the universe clearing and paving something else, but the frustrating part of it is not knowing what is coming to fill that space.

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The unknown can be an exciting thing, but can also create restlessness, anxiety, and uncertainty. It’s part of trusting the process and knowing that others have, are, or will be going through similar emotions.

It’s not an end-all, but instead a reset button for what’s to come next. It’s a cleanse that we need and is also a reminder that maybe we have to switch our perceptions.

You’re also the director and screenwriter of your life and it’s time to embrace all your moments and even the ones you feel are against you. Making that simple switch in perception can make all the difference

3. Find Your Bliss

It’s time to break away from the single-minded pursuit of happiness and embrace the thing that works for you and what’s in alignment to your values. Everyone deals with sadness in a different way –exercising, drawing, dancing, connecting with friends, or spending time with family.

Be compassionate to yourself and find what makes you happy. It’s not a one-answer-fits-all, and it’s not supposed to be. Find several things you can refer back to that brings balance mentally, physically, and most importantly emotionally.

4. Start a 5 Minute Journal

Whether you’re a writer or not, try starting a 5 minute journal and write down all the things you are grateful for. Sure, it may sound tedious at first, but use those 5 minutes that you were going to use scanning through social media or watching television towards something that can help shift your emotions.

Many successful entrepreneurs start their day with gratitude, and just by listing down the simple things you appreciate daily, you begin to notice other things to be grateful for throughout the day. Here are several prompts to get you started:

  • Who made you smile in the last 24-hours and why did that person make you happy?
  • Was there a specific song on the radio that reminded you of a fun time in your life? How did that make you feel?
  • Think about what you had for breakfast and how it fueled you for the day. How did that energize you?

Once you start looking at the little things to be grateful for, it starts becoming a natural habit that then begins shifting your emotions automatically. Call it the happy domino effect.

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5. Reach out to Someone You Can Connect With

Having a huge support system is a blessing, but there’s always someone you might be able to connect with on a deeper and personal level.

Everyone’s circumstances and situations are different and while you may feel that you are the only person that may be feeling a certain way about it, open up yourself to connect with others who similarly could have felt the same way.

Breakups happen for a number of different reasons, but that similar feeling of grieving that person, relationship, and entity still exists. Homesickness may be defined differently depending on a person, but it’s that mutual feeling of longing for a place or person.

Life’s not meant to go about alone, but in the company of others.

6. Change Your Perception

When my father passed away, I went through the stages of grief – as most people do. I remember texting a friend that I was angry at him for leaving, although I know that my father’s fate was not in my hands.

Once you go down that Rabbit Hole of emotions, it’s hard to come back up, especially when you feel like everything is going wrong. Here’s the spoiler alert:

There is no Wonderland or a magical place with all the answers. The tunnel never ends unless you stop yourself from free falling with your thoughts and find the willpower to climb out of that tunnel.

It’s about switching those perceptions and pushing your mental power– which includes seeing the silver lining in places that seem almost impossible.

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Here are questions to help shift those current perceptions into more positive thoughts and ideas

  • Life isn’t happening to me, but instead for me. What am I learning from this and why now?
  • How can I help others with what I am experiencing?
  • Is being negative helping anyone or myself?

Keep in mind being negative and being sad are two completely different emotions. Being sad is natural and sometimes you have to ride those emotions out; but being negative sometimes stems from unaddressed sadness.

With that, I searched for the silver lining in the sudden passing of my father and saw that the beautiful thing about death is that it brings people closer in the most bittersweet way.

Changing your perception is the game changer.

7. Put Yourself First

Put yourself first and most especially during your darkest hours. Everyone is different, and there isn’t a clean cut and simple solution when dealing with sadness.

If it helps, surround yourself with people whether it be a distraction mechanism or something to bring up your vibrations. If it helps to turn off your phone for half the day and disconnect, allow yourself that time. If you’d rather be alone to let go and release any pent-up emotions, or even to be in complete silence and solitude – allow yourself those moments.

Once you show up for yourself and begin putting yourself first, you start to show up in other areas in life again.

Here’re some self-care tips for you: 30 Self Care Habits for a Strong and Healthy Mind, Body and Spirit

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8. Gain and Give Compassion

Compassion is not always a skill that’s given, but a sometimes it’s a skill learned. As humans, we have genuine compassion towards other human beings, animals, and nature by being kind, gentle, and observant – things that flow naturally.

Yet, there are some areas in life we will not truly and fully understand unless we have gone through it ourselves. Most times, it may be understanding traumatic experiences.

Sadness can be an all encompassing emotion, but you’re not alone.

By taking some time to be compassionate towards other people and their waves of sadness, you may feel more connected to that particular person even if you haven’t gone through that particular event. In return, compassion is a energetic wave and what you give always comes back around.

Final Thoughts

Sadness is a healthy human emotion and is something your family, friends, colleagues, and mentors have all experienced. Reach out to loved ones, especially those you have a special connection with.

Remember to put yourself first and be open to trying new things that may seem foreign to you such as starting a journal or exercising. When everything starts feeling like it’s hitting at once, know that there’s a season to all of this – even your darkest moments.

More Inspirations About Happiness

Featured photo credit: Chad Madden via unsplash.com

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Akina Chargualaf

Akina Chargualaf is an entrepreneur, writer, and the content creator of travel and personal development blog Finding Fifth.

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Last Updated on May 22, 2020

What Makes a Good Leader: 9 Critical Leadership Qualities

What Makes a Good Leader: 9 Critical Leadership Qualities

The word “leader” makes you think of people in charge, high-ranking people: your boss, politicians, presidents, CEOs…

But leadership really isn’t about a particular position or a person’s seniority. Just because someone has worked for many years doesn’t mean s/he has gained the qualities and skills to lead a team.

Getting promoted to a managerial position doesn’t automatically turn you into a leader either. CEOs and other high-ranking officials don’t always have great leadership skills.

So what makes a good leader? What are the characteristics of a leader?

Good leadership is about acquiring and honing specific skills. Leadership skills enable you to be a role model for a team in any environment. With great leadership qualities, successful leaders come in all shapes and sizes: in the home, at school, or in the workplace.

The following are some of the many characteristics great leaders exhibit.

1. A Positive Attitude

Great leaders know that they won’t have a happy and motivated team unless they themselves exhibit a positive attitude. This can be done by remaining positive when things go wrong and by creating a relaxed and happy atmosphere in the workplace.

Even some simple things like providing snacks or organizing a team Happy Hour can make a world of difference. An added perk is that team members are likely to work harder and do overtime when needed if they’re happy and appreciated.

Even in the worst situations, such as experiencing low team morale or team members having made a big mistake at work, a great leader stays positive and figures out ways to keep the team motivated to solve the problems.

Walt Disney had his share of hardships and challenges, and like any great leader, he managed to stay positive and find new opportunities. In 1928, Disney found that his film producer, Charles Mintz, wanted to reduce his payments for the Oswald series. Mintz threatened to cut ties entirely if Disney didn’t accept his terms, and Disney chose to part ways. But in leaving Oswald, Disney decided to create something new: the iconic Mickey Mouse[1].

The key is to break down huge challenges into smaller ones and find ways to tackle them one by one.

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Think about the lessons you can learn from the mistake and jot them down because sometimes you win, and sometimes you learn.

2. Confidence

All great leaders have to exhibit an air of confidence if they’re going to succeed. Please don’t confuse this with self-satisfaction and arrogance. You want people to look up to you for inspiration, not so they can punch you in the face.

Confidence is important because people will be looking to you on how to behave, particularly if things aren’t going 100% right. If you remain calm and poised, team members are far more likely to as well. As a result, morale and productivity will remain high, and the problem will be solved more quickly.

If you panic and give up, they will know immediately and things will simply go downhill from there.

Elon Musk is a great example of a leader with confidence. He truly believes that Tesla will be successful, which he has shown many times through his actions. He converted 532,000 stock options at $6.63 each, their value on Dec. 4, 2009, before Tesla went public. It was a hefty bargain considering Tesla’s stock price stood at around $195 per share at that time. He doesn’t apologize for his beliefs and has drawn fire from just about everyone for his political actions.

You can’t instantly become a very confident person, but all the small things you do every day will gradually make you more confident:

  • List 5 things you like about yourself every day (something different every day), and you’ll appreciate yourself more.
  • Work on your strengths and do your best to enhance them.

3. A Sense of Humor

It’s imperative for any kind of leader to have a sense of humor, particularly when things go wrong. And they will.

Your team members are going to be looking to you for how to react in a seemingly dire situation. It would probably be best if you weren’t stringing up a noose for yourself in the corner. You need to be able to laugh things off because if staff morale goes down, so will productivity.

Establish this environment prior to any kind of meltdown by encouraging humor and personal discussions in the workplace.

As a president, Barack Obama exuded confidence and calm during stressful situations. But he was also known for his “dad jokes,”[2] his genuinely funny speeches at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, and appearing on Zack Galifianakis’s Between Two Ferns.[3] Obama’s sense of humor made him grounded, realistic, and honest, which no doubt helped during some tense moments in the White House!

Learn to laugh at yourself. Confident people laugh about their own silly mistakes, and when you do this, others will also trust you more because you’re willing to share your experiences.

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Be observant and learn from the jokes others make. You can also get a lot of inspiration from the internet.

4. Ability to Embrace Failure

No matter how hard you try to avoid it, failures will happen; that’s okay. You just need to know how to deal with them.

Great leaders take them in strides. They remain calm and logically think through the situation and utilize their resources. What they don’t do is fall apart and reveal to their team how worried they are, which leads to negative morale, fear, and binge-drinking under desks.

Great leaders do, in fact, lead, even when they’re faced with setbacks.

Henry Ford experienced a major setback after designing and improving the Ford Quadricycle. He founded the Detroit Automobile Company in 1899, but the resulting cars they produced did not live up to his standards and were too expensive. The company dissolved in 1901. Ford took this in stride and formed the Henry Ford Company. The sales were slow and the company had financial problems; it wasn’t until 1903 that the Ford Motor Company was successful and put the Ford on the map.

Get to the root cause of any problem so you can prevent it from happening again and learn from the mistake.

By asking “why” 5 times (or more) on why something happened, you can find out the key factor that caused the problem and can find the best solution to tackle the problem.

You’ll also learn how to prevent this from happening again in the future after finding out a problem’s root cause.

5. Careful Listening and Feedback

This is far more complex than it actually sounds. Good communication skills are essential for a great leader. You may very well understand the cave of crazy that is your brain, but that doesn’t mean that you can adequately take the ideas out of it and explain them to someone else.

The best leaders need to be able to communicate clearly with the people around them. They also need to be able to interpret other people properly and not take what they say personally.

The Dalai Lama, as a symbol of the unification of the state of Tibet, represents and practices Buddhist values. The Dalai Lama’s leadership is benevolent and aims toward truth and understanding, alongside the other Buddhist precepts. This is a great example for all leaders: if you want to give good directions to others, you have to get feedback from others to understand the situation properly.

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Encourage communication between team members and establish an open door policy.

Practice not interrupting team members when they’re talking. Instead, summarize what they say and ask for feedback after you have talked about your ideas.

6. Knowing How and When to Delegate

No matter how much you might want to, you can’t actually do everything yourself. Even if you could, in a team environment that would be a terrible idea anyway.

Good leaders recognize that delegation does more than simply alleviate their own stress levels (although that’s obviously a nice perk). Delegating to others shows that you have confidence in their abilities, which subsequently results in higher morale in the workplace, as well as loyalty from your staff. They want to feel appreciated and trusted.

Although Steve Jobs was known for focusing in on the smallest of details, he knew how to delegate. By finding, cultivating, and trusting capable team members, Jobs was able to make Apple run smoothly, even when he had to be absent for extended periods of time.

To know when and how to delegate work to team members, you have to be very familiar with each of them:

  • List out all of their strengths, weaknesses, and personalities.
  • Talk with your team members more to know about their passion and interests.

Take a look at this guide and learn more about delegation: How to Delegate Work Effectively (The Definitive Guide for Leaders)

7. Growth Mindset

Any good leader knows how important it is to develop the skills of those around them. The best can recognize those skills early on. Not only will development make work easier as they improve and grow, it will also foster morale. In addition, they may develop some skills that you don’t possess that will be beneficial to the workplace.

Great leaders share their knowledge with the team and give them the opportunity to achieve. This is how leaders gain their respect and loyalty.

Pope Francis has been unusually popular with many Catholics and many non-Catholics. His position isn’t totally traditional, which is part of his appeal, but he also has admirable leadership skills. Pope Francis’s TED talk[4] drew attention because he encouraged leaders to be humble and to demonstrate solidarity with others. This inclusive, kind, and respectful style of leadership is incredibly important for any situation.

It’s important to spend time talking with other team members individually to understand them.

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Find out team members’ current challenges and try to give feedback and encouragement so they will grow and do better.

8. Responsibility

Great leaders know that when it comes to their company, work place or whatever situation they’re in, they need to take personal responsibility for failure. How can they expect employees to hold themselves accountable if they themselves don’t?

The best leaders don’t make excuses; they take the blame and then work out how to fix the problem as soon as possible. This proves that they’re trustworthy and possess integrity.

Howard Gillman is the chancellor of UC Irvine. You might have heard of how the university rescinded a bunch of acceptances, and then changed its mind[5], This past spring, an unusually high number of accepted students decided to matriculate; the school initially responded by rescinding offers over things like missed deadlines. But the college realized this was a mistake and reversed its decision. Gillman and the university accepted responsibility and decided to move past their earlier bad decision.

Always ask yourself what you can do better or what you should change. Take responsibility and think about what you can do better to prevent this from happening next time.

9. A Desire to Learn

It’s safe to say that all great leaders will have to enter unchartered waters at some point during their career. Because of this, they have to be able to trust their intuition and draw on past experiences to guide them.

Great leaders know that there’s always something to learn from everything they have experienced before. They are able to connect the present challenges with the lessons learned in the past to make decisions and take actions promptly.

You can either recall what you’ve learned from your memories or search your notes (ideally, a software that you can access anywhere with things well-organized).

Warren Buffett, one of the richest people in the world, has mostly made the right calls. But in dealing with huge amounts of money, Buffett has also made several multi-million (and sometimes multi-billion) dollar mistakes. He has stated that buying the company Berkshire Hathaway was his biggest mistake[6]. From that poor choice, he realized that it was unwise to pursue “improvements” and “expansions” in the existing textile industry. Despite mistakes like this, Buffett has invested wisely, and it shows.

To effectively learn from the past, write down lessons you’ve learned from any mistakes you’ve made. Have all the lessons well organized, and when similar things happen again in future, take these lessons as references.

The Bottom Line

Leadership traits are learnable. If you practice consistently, you can be a great leader, too.

Make small changes to your habits when you work with your team, wherever that may be. Most of us aren’t presidents or CEOs, but we all work with other people, and our actions always impact others. This gives every person the chance to develop leadership skills and to stand out from the crowd.

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Featured photo credit: Markus Spiske via unsplash.com

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