This Formula Can Help You Navigate a Tough Situation

Do you feel trapped in a tough situation? You may have more options than you realize.

Pain has a way of causing us all to get tunnel vision. No matter what area of life you are struggling, pain will dominate your world if it hurts enough.

Of course, not all pain is created equal. Not getting the job promotion you were counting on stings. Getting laid off can shatter your financial stability. Getting served divorce papers can break your heart.

Are you caught in a spot where you feel like you have no options? The Challenge Formula (by ACT practitioner and coach Russ Harris) may help you broaden your perspective.


The Challenge Formula


1. Leave.

Yes, leaving may not be an option for you. You can’t leave cancer. But you can leave a roller coaster relationship, an anxiety-inducing job, or a toxic roommate.

We often get caught up in sunk costs and the fear of the unknown so much that we won’t even entertain simply leaving. Which may be the most direct path to a better life.


2. Stay and live by your values, change whatever you can to improve the situation and make room for the pain that goes with it.

Who do you want to be in this difficult situation? You can’t change a diagnosis. Your spouse may leave you. But you can honor the person you want to be even in the direst of circumstances.

What can you do to make things better? You can work on your communication skills with a counselor. You can get a certificate or degree to change careers. You can exercise more and eat healthier to strengthen you as you navigate the situation.

You also need to make room for the pain that goes with your situation. You can learn how to cope with difficult thoughts and feelings more effectively.


3. Stay and give up acting effectively: do things that make no difference or make it worse.

This option is easy because we choose it instinctively when we feel trapped. Feel rejected by your partner? Yell at them. Or try to soothe your emotions with food and movies.

You likely have more options than you first thought. Here’s to hoping that you choose ones that take you towards a richer, more meaningful life.

Are you struggling with loss & grief, anxiety, or burnout and live in Ohio? Reach out to me at Oak Harbor Counseling Services. My office is conveniently located in northern Columbus. You can learn more about my counseling practice here or email me at [email protected].

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Brent Flory

Brent is a licensed professional counselor in Columbus, Ohio. He works with adults and adolescents, and specializes in helping people who are struggling with anxiety, loss & grief, and burnout.
In his spare time, he enjoys hanging out with his family, playing basketball, and eating too much ice cream.

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