How are you dealing with the pandemic? Do you feel a little like you’re being pushed over the edge? If you do, then try using a twelve step program approach to bring your life back into focus. These programs have helped millions of people who felt like their life was spinning out of control. Look, even if you’re not addicted to drugs, alcohol, sex or gambling, their philosophy may help you when external events, like what’s happening right now, make your situation seem unmanageable.
Why You Should Consider a Twelve Step Program Approach
Today, more than ever, your life could be being disrupted by health issues or job loss. Maybe staying home in isolation has strained your relationships. Maybe you’re feeling lost and alienated.
Your mental and physical wellbeing depends on how well you respond to these situations. Take a closer look at the lessons a twelve step program contains. What you’ll find is wisdom that you can apply to this, or any other kind of hardship.
1. Know yourself.
Real growth begins by taking an honest look at yourself. Determine your areas of strength and evaluate where you need to grow. By taking a honest inventory of yourself you can better appreciate your potential and define what an authentic life means for you.
2. Acknowledge obstacles.
Denial will not protect you from difficult truths. What it really does is hold you back from making positive changes. Acknowledging your obstacles will allow you to find ways to move them aside so you can move forward.
3. Take action.
This is the step that gets in the way of most people’s success. You have to take practical steps if you want to fulfill your goals. Figure out what motivates you so you can put your ideas into action.
Connect with Others:
1. Ask for help.
One of the biggest reasons a twelve step program succeeds is because of community support. Other people cannot read your mind. Let your family and friends know how they can support you. Recognizing your limits is a sign of strength rather than weakness. You can accomplish more when you’re willing to let others help.
2. Give generously.
One of the best things you can do for your mental health is to focus on others. Invest time deepening your relationships. Build your self-esteem by sharing your time, talents, and other resources with others. What you’ll find is your own troubles will seem less overwhelming.
3. Take risks.
You will never get anywhere if you don’t move out of your comfort zone. To be understood you have to allow yourself to be vulnerable. Talk about your thoughts and feelings. Give others the opportunity to do the same. Yes, it’s risky but it’s worth it.
Live One Day at a Time:
1. Be mindful.
Practice spending time in the only moment that matters, the present moment. Give your full attention to one task at a time. Savor the ordinary moments in life like playing with your children and listening to the rainfall. For more information about how to begin a mindfulness program, pick up a copy of my book, Modern Mindfulness: A Beginners Guide on How to Find Peace and Happiness in a Busy World.
2. Care for yourself.
Adopt daily habits that nourish your physical and mental health. Find some exercise program you enjoy and practice it daily. Eat a balanced diet. Aim for at least 7 hours of high-quality sleep each night. Learn to take care of you!
3. Start small.
As the old saying goes, the only way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time. Break big goals down into simpler steps. Set intermediate goals that you can accomplish in three to six months. Each victory will inspire you to keep trying.
4. Accept uncertainty.
Change makes everyone uncomfortable. This is because change makes you go through unfamiliar territory. At the same time, change is inevitable. What you want to focus your efforts on are the areas that give you the most impact. Thinking about what you can gain will help you move through uncertainty.
1. Clarify your values.
Religion or spirituality plays a major role in a twelve step program. Take a look at your core beliefs. Ask yourself if they have you on the right course. If they are, great! If not, regardless of your age, you can set a new course.
2. Find meaning.
Knowing who you are and what you are about will make a big difference in your life, especially in challenging times. The fact is, challenging times are when you are best able to discover your purpose and sort out your priorities. Let your challenges help you create a vision of the legacy you want to create. This will inspire you to keep going even when times are tough.
3. Meditate and pray.
Your spiritual muscles need conditioning the same as your physical ones. Set aside time to train them with daily rituals. Read inspirational texts. Experiment with meditation and prayer techniques that align with your personal faith.
4. Join a community.
A key tenant of a twelve step programs is that community can be what makes the biggest difference, especially in troubled times. Visit local faith communities that interest you or attend services online. Allow other believers to help you amplify your power.
Use the Wisdom of a Twelve Step Program to Change Your Life
You can use the wisdom of any twelve step program to help you move through these challenging times. Even when you’re surrounded by chaos, you can use these processes to take responsibility for yourself and move forward in your life. Take what you can from these programs to make yourself stronger and more compassionate.
You can make it through these troubling times!