Remember the storm is a good opportunity for the pine and the cypress to show their strength and their stability. - Ho Chi Minh
The dictionary defines stability as "The quality or state of something that is not easily changed or moved". This definition doesn't really reflect the flexibilty required to have stable emotional health, physical health & financial health. Instead, the definition I like for stability is the ability to remain grounded and centered internally despite external conditions.
A stable person is optimstic as opposed to pessimistic, calm as opposed to anxious, tolerant as opposed to aggressive, autonomous as opposed to dependent, and empathetic as opposed to apathetic.
But how do we foster these traits? Think about something that has rocked your world either emotionally, financially or personally in the past. Say a divorce, the death of a loved one, a bankruptcy, traffic jams, loss of a job, fights with your partner...the list can be as large or a small as you let it. And therin lies the key to becoming truly stable. You cannot control the situations that come into your life but you can always control your reaction. Here's a few quick tips to help you weather the storms by rolling with the waves rather than being thrown overboard.
1. Will it matter in 5 years. If the thing that has you worried or angry won't matter in your future (say a flat tire or a bad haircut) let it go!
2. WWOD. (What would Oprah do) Ask yourself what advice you would give a friend with the same issue. When we remove ourselves from the emotion of a situation we get out of the fight/flight part of our brain and are able to access the intellectual side which is probably where the answer will be found
3. Is it a certainty or a "what if"? Don't waste a second of your precious time worrying about something unless it's a done deal. What ifs zap joy from our present as we try to micro-manage our future.
4. Collect stable friends. Wayne Dyer points out "When we change the way we look at things, the things we look at change" so surround yourself with friends who see the glass as half-full and live a joy-filled life. It's contagious.
5. It's OK to re-group and start over. Imagine your sitaution like a house of cards. It is really hard to build on a weak base. So if your foundation is weak, you may need to go back and start over. The cool thing is, you start with knowledge you didn't have the last time you tried. One step closer to a successful finish.
6. Test your boundaries. Its's a fine line between stable and rigid. Go out of your comfort zone regularly just to remind yourself that you can.
7. Gratitude is the attitude. Focus on all the great things about your life. What you focus on gets bigger so spend more time thinking of the positive.
8. Breathe, meditate, be mindful. These all help to re-set the internal compass and get you back on track.
Let us never confuse stability with stagnation- Mary Jean leTendre