What do you do when your world is falling apart?
When everything you depended on and thought was true starts to crash down around you?
How can you weather the storm and come out the other side without permanent damage?
This is a survival guide.
1) Take stock of your situation
You need to start by acknowledging what’s happening and accepting the current situation.
What is causing your world to fall apart?
Maybe it is multiple things: a loss of someone close to you, job upheaval, a broken relationship, health issues and mental health struggles.
Maybe even that only scratches the surface…
Even if this is the case, isolate the top thing right now that is tearing up your life and making you unable to sleep at night.
Even if you have no answer for how to address this problem, write it down and acknowledge what it is.
This is your life right now, and you can’t fight a dragon if you deny it even exists.
“Determine what exactly is contributing to your unhappiness.
“Write a list of all these things, and start working on each thing once at a time, by addressing the most pressing things at first.”
If you put a gun to my head and asked me one thing that we all have that gives us the power to heal and become stronger, I would say breathing.
On the literal level, our breath keeps us alive.
On a more complex level, breathing is the link between our autonomous and sympathetic nervous system: a bridge between the unconscious and conscious.
You can’t tell your digestion to digest differently, but you can consciously decide to breathe differently.
That’s why learning to breathe in the midst of a crisis can be the best thing you ever do in your life.
But I get it, letting those feelings out can be hard, especially if you’ve spent so long trying to stay in control of them.
If that’s the case, I highly recommend watching this free breathwork video, created by the shaman Rudá Iandê.
Rudá isn’t another self-professed life coach. Through shamanism and his own life journey, he’s created a modern-day twist to ancient healing techniques.
The exercises in his invigorating video combine years of breathwork experience and ancient shamanic beliefs, designed to help you relax and check in with your body and soul.
After many years of suppressing my emotions, Rudá’s dynamic breathwork flow quite literally revived that connection.
And that’s what you need:
A spark to reconnect you with your feelings so that you can begin focussing on the most important relationship of all – the one you have with yourself.
So if you’re ready to take back control over your mind, body, and soul, if you’re ready to say goodbye to anxiety and stress, check out his genuine advice below.
3) Find your spiritual side
When everything around you is crashing down it can be the best time of all to discover your spiritual or religious side.
Even if you usually considered religion and spirituality to be hokey or not for you, this can be your chance to find out more about what speaks to you.
Maybe it’s Zen Buddhism or evangelical Christianity.
Maybe it’s taking a look at indigenous shamanism and ayurvedic medicine.
Maybe it’s just sitting quietly with a book of poetry and reflecting on the beauty and mystery of nature.
When your whole world is falling apart it can be a great time to turn within.
Find out your priorities and what speaks to you.
Let your eyes fill with tears when you watch a beautiful sunset or see the wind whispering through the trees.
We live in a magical world, even if it can be very painful.
4) Let yourself be angry and ‘negative’
One of the worst pieces of advice that the New Age and spiritual community gives out is to make yourself always remain positive and focused on optimism as much as possible.
This is childish advice that will leave you in worse shape than you started.
If you’re looking for things to do when it feels like your world is falling apart, do what comes naturally.
Yell, cry for an hour to the saddest music on earth, punch a pillow, go out in the hills and howl with the coyotes.
Stop trying to live up to some image of being “positive” or full of “light.”
Far too many people end up suffering from toxic positivity and become intolerable to even be around.
Don’t be one of them.
We’re born into this world without an instruction manual and life is full of all sorts of things that can bring us to our knees.
Express that pain and frustration. Stop trying to repress your anger and sadness.
Don’t be afraid of the hurt and pain inside you.
Get to know it. Respect it. Liberate it.
5) Find a friend
If it feels like your world is falling apart, you may want to disappear and just be left alone.
However, in many situations this is the worst thing you can do.
Spending time in solitude and opening up to your pain is a great idea, but spending too much time alone can sink you into a long-term depression or avoidance of life altogether.
That’s why there are times when finding a friend is so vital.
Even if you just sit together and look at the moon or sink into armchairs and listen to the Doors for the afternoon…
That company will do you good.
Find a friend when your world is falling apart. They’ll help put one piece back together: or at the very least they’ll be there to share the apocalypse with you.
As Simon and Garfunkel sing in the climax of their song “Bridge Over Troubled Water:”
“Your time has come to shine
All your dreams are on their way
See how they shine
Oh, if you need a friend
I’m sailing right behind.”
6) Get up and get dressed
When it feels like your world is falling apart, you may want nothing more than to disappear into bed forever.
Just getting up, getting dressed and showered and having a bite to eat can feel like climbing Mount Everest.
That’s why it’s so crucial that you do it.
Go through those motions and get those basic things done.
No matter how bad things are, put a toothbrush over your teeth, comb your hair, do some laundry and stick some slices of bread in the toaster.
Get your daily actions going again even if it feels like hell on earth.
This discipline will strengthen you and help alleviate a small amount of the horrible pain inside.
“To get yourself out of this unpleasant situation you’re going through you’re going to have to do those little things you don’t want to do.
“Like getting out of bed in the morning, putting on clothes, taking a shower, making a healthy meal…
“Those little things may seem small, but they’re really important steps in building your life back together.”
7) Focus on what’s in your control
There are millions of things in this life that are out of your control, from today’s weather to the culture you were born into.
The primary thing you control in this world is you and the decisions you make.
That’s why tapping into your personal power is so crucial.
Begin with yourself. Stop searching for external fixes to sort out your life, deep down, you know this isn’t working.
And that’s because until you look within and unleash your personal power, you’ll never find the satisfaction and fulfillment you’re searching for.
I learned this from the shaman Rudá Iandê. His life mission is to help people restore balance to their lives and unlock their creativity and potential. He has an incredible approach that combines ancient shamanic techniques with a modern-day twist.
In his excellent free video, Rudá explains effective methods to achieve what you want in life and stop being dragged down by things that are out of your control.
So if you want to build a better relationship with yourself, unlock your endless potential, and put passion at the heart of everything you do, start now by checking out his genuine advice.
8) Get physical
If your world is falling apart due to injury or illness, then this piece of advice might not be possible for you at the current time.
But if you have your physical health and can work out or exercise, then I strongly advise you to do so.
When we exercise and get physical, our body floods with oxygen, endorphins and dopamine.
We feel good.
It just sounds abstract until you actually do it and observe the results for yourself.
If your world is crashing down around you the last thing you want to do is go for a 10-mile jog at 6 a.m.
But this can actually be the best thing you can do to get out of your head and let your physical energy melt away a tiny bit of the painful experiences that are impacting you.
As I said, expressing negative emotions is a good thing, so none of this is about forcing yourself to feel good or thinking it’s “bad” to be upset.
It’s actually just about getting in your body and truly feeling a bit more alive.
Plus: if you want to shout “FUCK!” while jogging you have every right to do so, in my opinion.
9) Listen to the pain
If you burn your hand on a hot stove you will feel intense pain.
There’s a reason for this:
The pain is sent by your nerves and sense of touch as a signal to stop touching the stove immediately.
When your world is falling apart, the pain and anger you feel isn’t “bad,” it’s a valid experience you’re having.
Often it can be telling you something, like not to be overly trusting of people, or to take care of yourself more.
In other cases it can just be shaping you into a stronger person and your job is to survive.
Learn to listen to the pain and leave complacency behind. We weren’t born to just sit around and be fine with whatever happens.
We’re dynamic beings who are made to go out of our comfort zone and face our challenges.
“Complacency feels nice, as it’s comfortable. Its soft texture wraps us up in a daily routine of predictability; we feel safe.
“It’s no surprise that we avoid change, as it brings discomfort and even pain. How could pain possibly bring us happiness?”
10) Start a new project
When everything is crashing down seems like the last time you’d want to build something new.
But it can actually be the best time of all to do so.
Some of the greatest success stories I’ve seen in business are people who started new ventures and borrowed money to take a big risk right in the middle of one of their other ventures crashing and burning.
When you wait for the right time you put yourself at the mercy of forces outside your control.
But when you forge bravely forward regardless of the outer circumstances, you put yourself back in the driver’s seat and regain power.
Look away from the disaster around you for a moment.
Are there any opportunities that still exist? Find one and go for it.
11) Figure out what you really want
What do you really want?
It sounds simple, but it’s not.
Many times we get caught up in chaos and disaster because we’re just really, really confused.
For years I let the ideas and values of others guide my goals in life.
It was only when I decided what I wanted for myself that I began to clear a path through the confusion and mixed messages.
Consider this time of awful chaos and sadness as a chance to think about what’s most important to you in life.
What do you want to change?
What are your dreams?
What is it about this situation that’s bothering you the most and how can you prepare for it in the future?
“Get clarity. What is it you would like to do and who would you like to spend time with.
“Define what success actually means to you, not your family and start creating your success,” advises coach Lisa Gornall.
12) Stop being so hard on yourself
Sensitive and creative people are interesting to talk to and inspiring.
But they do one thing that really frustrates me:
They tend to beat themselves up and blame themselves for things which aren’t their faults.
One of the most important things to do when it feels like your world is falling apart is to go easy on yourself.
You may have made big mistakes and went off track.
But all of us do.
Don’t beat yourself up so much and take it all out on yourself.
We’re all trying to do our best and making some wrong moves along the way. Vow to do better next time, absolutely, but don’t make the mistake of thinking you’re uniquely evil or flawed.
13) Remember that life is change
The one constant in life is change. None of us are going to change that.
As the philosopher Martin Heidegger noted, the Greek word existere itself means to “stand out.”
As far as we know at this point existence is only possible within time. If you were alive but frozen in one place for an unspecified amount of time you would have no ability to move, change or adapt.
You wouldn’t “exist” in any way that’s meaningful for our current experience.
As Heidegger noted, what would the concept of “blue” even mean if we were born into a world in which every object including ourselves was the precise same shade of blue?
Existence and definition is defined by difference, movement and contrast.
In other words, life is change and movement.
Without that it’s just a “thing” or an “idea,” (or maybe a higher spiritual reality of some kind which we experience after death).
When your world is crashing down, try to think of it as a natural cycle.
This is the time of pain, confusion and chaos. It’s nothing personal, as painful as it is.
“No order can ever be maintained. No one order can last other than the order of the whole that is this world.”
14) You’re not here to carry other people’s baggage
Everyone’s got problems, including me and you.
That’s a good thing to be honest about and admit.
The problem comes when we start taking responsibility for the problems of others and let them take them out on us.
Compassion is great, but codependency is toxic and harmful.
This is as true in families and work situations as it is in romantic relationships.
Remember that you’re not here to carry other people’s baggage.
You’re here to live your own life.
And what’s more is that you won’t be able to make any real progress on helping others if you have too much weight holding you down and holding you back.
“While your own life feels overwhelmed with issues, you need to remember to take a step back from trying to shoulder the weight of other people’s problems as well,” notes the Power of Positivity.
“Being open and available to help others when they need it is a good and positive quality.
“However, you need to make sure that you’re asserting boundaries and not allowing other people’s problems to become your responsibility on top of your own.”
None of us can single-handedly put our own world back together when it’s falling apart.
But what we can do is work on ourselves and find and develop inner strength.
The path forward may not lie in external things, jobs and accomplishments.
It’s likely to be a lot more subtle than that: as you develop and strengthen yourself you begin to notice points of reference and more promising opportunities around you.
All of us are caught up in varying degrees of chaos our whole lives and we have to learn not to depend on outer stability.
Because if you do you will remain dependent and at the mercy of the next big disappointment.
Finding your feet after the storm
When life throws you off course and gives you a beating it’s a disorienting and upsetting experience.
You may be feeling like a victim who is being punished for a crime ou didn’t do.
It’s crucial that you learn to stand up for yourself and look after yourself.
It’s also crucial that you admit sometimes to being just plain lost.
As the great British band the Alarm sings in their 1987 song “Rescue Me”:
I’m looking for protection
I want love
And physical asylum
Running from destruction
While I seek defection.”
We all want a safe place to call home.
We want a tribe and a role: we want to belong in some way, some place, somehow.
The first place to start is inside yourself.
Be patient, give yourself the approval and respect that you crave from others. There are so many things you can’t control:
It’s important that you accept the situation as it currently is and acknowledge the reality.
Rebuilding may be slow.
If you’ve lost a loved one, broken up a long relationship or suffered a devastating setback in your mental or physical health nobody can blame you for feeling angry, scared and sad.
Accept that these feelings are natural and healthy. They are not “bad” or invalid.
Then begin the practical steps to find your feet again.
Eat well, exercise, practice meditation, find your spiritual path and help others whenever you can.
Life has no manual, but with determination and goodwill you can come out the other side of trauma even stronger and wiser than you went in.