“If it is not okay, it is not the end.”

I am not sure where I first heard that quote, but it has stuck with me ever since. This post is about faith and it has nothing to do with religion.

Recently, I came through an extremely difficult, personal event in my life. This event was very emotionally painful for me at times. Similar scenarios have occurred in my life but the importance of this time was the way that I handled it. The primary difference was faith. At no point did I ever think this is it, this is the end for me. Throughout this challenging time, I kept complete and utter faith in the Universe. I want to teach you how you can do the same. I want you to know that hopelessness and desperation are unnecessary emotions. You have power over those emotions and that power is faith.

As human beings we have a great tendency to prepare for, and even to expect, the worst. Many people are prone to pessimism. Pessimism is deadly to a life of positivity, happiness, and mental health. Perhaps it is due to anthropology, but the fact is that often times our gut reaction to any difficult event is panic, the flood of fear. External challenges cause our bodies to produce adrenaline and a rush of adrenaline triggers the “fight or flight” response in our minds. This reaction is instinctual — it has nothing to do with weakness or inability — it is a result of thousands of years of human evolution. While we may not have control over our bodies’ involuntary responses (sweat, adrenaline, etc.) we do have absolute control over how we handle these responses and what we do after they occur.

Faith is the key but before we get there we must first take several steps. In a moment of panic (you get laid off, you find out your spouse is having an affair) faith is not going to automatically pop into your mind. Instead you will probably experience the involuntary responses I’ve described above. Here are the steps to make your way to faith:

1. Breathe. Breath is the first and most important step. The earliest symptom of panic is shortness of breath. In panic, you will not even realize that your breathing is growing quicker and shorter. This shortness of breath will cause your heart to beat more rapidly which will accelerate your degree of panic.

Before you do anything else, take control of your breathing. Draw long, slow inhales and exhales through your lungs. Focus on taking the air deep into your lower stomach. Allow your stomach to push out as it fills with air. Concentrate on your breath until you feel that your heart rate has returned to normal.

2. Control. Next, stop the panic train that is running through your mind. Stressful situations lead to anxiety and anxiety leads to irrational thoughts. These irrational thoughts will eat you alive if you let them, so you must stop them in their tracks. As each negative, irrational thought passes through your mind, embrace it, harness it, and then turn it into a positive, rational thought.

Do not let your mind take control of you. Remember, it is your mind. You have the power.

3. Calm. Once you have taken control of your breathing and your thinking, you will feel a small sense of calm. Depending on how much control you take, you may even feel a large sense of calm. This calmness will be your bridge from fear to faith. Focus on your smooth breathing. Focus on the positive thoughts that you have created. Be proud of yourself for having the strength and the wisdom to overcome. Let this calmness and pride wash over you and then, remember faith.

4. Faith. Faith will be the angel that carries you out of all challenges. Every single person’s version of faith will be different. My faith is knowing that there are deep pools of strength within me always. My faith is knowing that no matter what happens in my life, I will always remain strong and beautiful and kind. My faith is knowing that there is only love in this Universe and there is nothing else.

Even in your darkest hour you can and you will find your way to faith.

“We all have a secret pact with defeat, motivated by guilt and fear. Find yours. Break it.” —Paulo Coelho

Faith has power over even your deepest fears, your most painful insecurities. Use that power. Do not let life’s obstacles (lessons!) ever break you down. Breathe, take control of your mind, focus on the calm, and find your faith. Embrace your faith, live, love, learn. Your happiness is your destiny. The Universe is pointing you in the right direction, always. Have faith. Remember that if it is not okay, it is not the end.

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