10 Tips For Dealing With Life’s Headaches


A man went to his physician, complaining of constant headaches. The physician asked him if he smoked.

“Yes, I do,” said the fellow.

“Well, stop smoking,” suggested the physician.

So he stopped, but the headaches persisted. He went back.

“Do you drink?”

“Yeah, I drink considerably.”

So he stopped. The headaches persisted.

“Are you engaged in physical labor that would in some way put pressure on your back?”

“Yes, I am.”

“Quit your job.”

He quit his job and took another position, but his headaches persisted.

Every day the pain pulsed through his head.

Finally, they discovered he was wearing a size 15 collar on a size 16 neck.

No wonder he had a headache!

Superficial problems call for superficial solutions.

But real life isn’t like that; its headaches and stresses go much deeper don’t they?

They touch the very nerves of our security and affect every moment of our lives.

Dealing With Headaches

1. Take your emotional temperature. Try to be more aware of where your emotions are coming from and how, even if seemingly irrelevant, they may be adding on more stress than necessary.

2. Give yourself a daily reality check. As Joseph Crossman says, “If you want to test your memory, try to recall what you were worrying about one year ago today.” It’s amazing how much we allow things that won’t even matter a year from now to stress us out and steel our joy. When you start to feel overwhelmed just ask yourself if it will really matter in a year or 5 years from now.

3. Take the advice you would give a friend. In a recent New York Times article, Chip Heath suggests that when working through difficult decisions one of the most enlightening things we can do is to consider what you would recommend to your best friend. “When we step back and simulate someone else, it’s a clarifying move,” he said. 

4. Develop a good morning routine. According to Henrik Edberg of the Positivity Blog, “What you do early in the day often sets the context for your day. As humans we have a strong tendency to want to be consistent with what we have done before. That’s one big reason why a bad start often leads to a bad day and a good start often leads to a good day. So create a routine that gives you a positive and proactive start to your day. A tip is to include doing the hardest task of your day first thing in your day.”

5. Don’t fear regret too much. This can be paralyzing. It’s easy to fall into the trap of never trying, never risking, and always playing it safe in order to avoid regret – all the while producing regret about all the things you never did! Crazy right? Terry Connolly, a professor of management and organizations at the University of Arizona, suggests that “regret is an inevitable part of life, and if you can say you’ve lived a life without regret, “you’re not having enough adventures, or you’re rationalizing and not truly examining when things went wrong.”

Holding a grudge6. Let go of hurts and offenses.Holding a grudge is letting someone live rent-free in your head.” They don’t pay rent, clean the dishes, take out the trash, or do anything else to make your head-space better by being there. Do to them what any landlord does to an unruly tenant; KICK THEM OUT! Let go of the grudge.

7. Develop a sense of humor. I can’t even tell you how many times having a little laugh about something has helped me through a difficult situation. Try not to take life too seriously. Find something humorous about the situation or yourself to laugh about. “Sometimes crying or laughing are the only options left, and laughing feels better right now.”  –Veronica Roth

8. Count your blessings. You can’t be thankful and complain at the same time. One of the things I always do in a tough situation is too think about how much worse it could be. Because it could always be worse right? For example,

  • If you get a flat tire – at least the engine isn’t blown.
  • Crap, It’s Monday – at least you have a job to go to.
  • You have a headache – at least it’s not the flu.
  • Another traffic jam – at least you weren’t in the accident.
  • Your child is failing math – at least they are still in school.

Doing this little exercise immediately sort of tricks you into a more thankful mindset. Try it next time you’re faced with a difficulty and see if it doesn’t help.

8. Watch how you talk to yourself.  I like how Marc from Marc and Angel Hack Life explains this:

“You tell yourself a story inside your head every day.  No matter where you are or what you’re doing, you’re always reciting it.  This story makes up a big part of who you are – you build much of your life from it.

You will either use this story to your advantage, or it will use you.  This is why you have to tell yourself the right story.  If you tell the right one, it will make you more alive, more human, more courageous, more passionate, and more loving.  If you tell the wrong one, the exact opposite occurs.  Obviously, you owe it to yourself to get the story right.”

9. Remember that strength comes through struggle.

“All life demands struggle. Those who have everything given to them become lazy, selfish, and insensitive to the real values of life. The very striving and hard work that we so constantly try to avoid is the major building block in the person we are today.” – Pope Paul VI

“Success is not measured by what you accomplish, but by the opposition you have encountered, and the courage with which you have maintained the struggle against overwhelming odds.” – Orison Swett Marden

“Where there is no struggle, there is no strength.” – Oprah Winfrey

10. Help and encourage someone else. In his book, the “Power of Intention”, Dr. Wayne Dyer cites scientific studies which conclude that kindness both

  • increases levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin and
  • strengthens our immune systems.

Serotonin makes us feel light, happy, and at ease and anti-depressants work by increasing the production of this neurotransmitter. Research has shown that a single act of kindness increases the levels of serotonin in the recipient of the kindness and in the one being kind. Furthermore, those who witness the act of kindness are affected in the same manner. Wow! Sounds like a win/win/win to me.

Who do you know that could need a little boost of encouragement?

Go ahead and spread some serotonin for all by kindly forwarding or sharing this post with those you care about. They will thank you for it 🙂 

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