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What to do when the "you know what" hits your fan

A simple and effective way to get through the stress

“You are always so positive!”

I get this a lot.

The truth?

I’m really not positive all the time. No one can be Suzy Sunshine from Sunnybrook Farm every second of the day. You can be as positive and optimistic as you want, but sooner or later life will hit you across the side of the head and you’ll fall flat on your face. In other words, the “you know what” will hit your fan.

So what do I do when something hits my fan?

Well, if I can’t duck, then I plant my feet and face it. I might not be able to change the situation, but I CAN change my attitude about it. This is what gets me through.

It’s all about your perspective.

Here’s the reality check. No one can pick you up. Only you can pick yourself up. You can watch dozens of videos and read all the inspirational books and articles you want, but at the end of the day YOU have to choose it. Just like you have to choose to go to the gym or not.

I learned this while undergoing treatment for stage 3 breast cancer. Now there was some huge “you know what” hitting the fan! It’s really hard to be positive when you’re in crisis mode and feeling like crap. The bad news is that dwelling on my situation and moping about it wasn’t going to make the cancer go away. Dwelling on it didn’t cure me, nor did it make the pain go away. While I couldn’t control the fact that I got cancer, I could control how I got through it.

I could control my perspective.

Right before my first surgery, I decided to get though it with as much grace as I could muster. So I smiled, laughed, and looked at the bright side of things as much as I could. While I couldn’t control what they were doing to me on the outside, I could control what I was thinking on the inside. I focused on it being a temporary situation. A roadblock that would eventually open up again. Plus, whenever I went to chemotherapy and radiation, I smiled and tried to ease other people’s journey. My motto has always been to leave people better than I find them, and I continue to do this wherever I go.

It’s seven years later, and I look back at that journey with mixed feelings. Part of me is angry and frustrated that I was sick for four years. The other part of me is thrilled that it happened.


It completely changed my perspective about life.

Here's what I learned...

I learned that life is a gift. While there is no guarantee that we will make it to old age, we ARE guaranteed that we are here right now. In this moment. I will worry about future moments when they get here.

I learned that complaining doesn’t help anything. So now instead of saying things like “I have to go to the store today,” I say things like “I get to go to the store today!”

Since I spent almost four years living in my pajamas, I now relish getting dressed every day. It’s a gift to have eyebrows and be able to brush my hair!

I learned that when I am grumpy at my family, I can turn it around by staring at them and remembering what a gift they are. Without them, I would be nothing.

I learned that not dying made me stronger. So yes, cancer was a gift of sorts. A one-time winner take-all gift as I have no intention of doing it again!

Before something in your world hits the fan, try and start changing your perspective now. Look at each situation that you face today and say the word “gift” to yourself and see if you can change your perspective about it. If you can’t, then simply smile and listen to some music that makes you happy. Changing your perspective on the small stuff will help you when the big stuff happens.

Being positive is a minute-by-minute choice. It's a work in progress. It’s like taking a shower, you have to do it every day.

Until next time.

Award-Winning Author & the world's leading Concierge and Front Line Staff Trainer/Consultant. To read more, please visit www.KatharineGiovanni.com

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If one was to find people who are still at school and to ask them what they want out of life, a number of them may say that they want to be happy. And even if someone as to say that they want to do well in a certain career, it could still be because this can be seen as something that will lead to the same outcome.

The Same Answer

Along with this, one is also likely to find that people who are lot older have the same desire. If this is not the case, it can be a sign that they are already happy, and this is then not going to be something they desire.

Even so, if one was to go and find these people at another point in time, they might not be experiencing life in the same way. As a result of this, they could be consumed by their need to experience life differently.


It is not going to be hard for one to work out why someone would have this need; in fact, they might have it themselves. When one is happy, they are going to feel good, and this is going to cause them to experience pleasure.

One could believe that they have two options; either they are happy or they are unhappy. Their life is then going to be based around pleasure or it will be based around pain.

One Option

Thus, it is going to be normal for them to want to do everything they can to maximize pleasure and minimize pain. As far as they are concerned, the purpose of life itself could be to be happy.

It will then be necessary for them to do everything they can to avoid being unhappy and the pain that this will create. Now, if one is at the beginning of their life, they could be more invested in this outlook.

The Reason

This can be due to them not having the same amount of life experience as someone who is older, and this can cause them to be more naive. They are less likely to have had the kind of experiences that will cause them to question how they believe their life should be.

On the other hand, if one was older they could see that life doesn’t always go to plan, and that it’s not possible to always be happy. One way of looking at it would be to say that when one is younger they will be idealistic and when they are older they will be realistic.

A Time and Place

Still, there is clearly a time and a place for both ways of looking at life, and even though someone who is older could be more realistic this is not always going to be the case. Instead, one could be at the beginning of their life and they may have had a number of different experiences.

It then won’t matter how old they are, as the experiences they have had will have opened their eyes to the world. And if they have a strong need to be happy, it could mean that what they have gone through hasn’t been very pleasant.

Holding On

If one is a fully grown adult, the kinds of experiences they have had are not going to have stopped them from wanting to be happy. What they have gone through is then not going to make them question if they can attain this goal; it will simply make them try even harder.

But if they do have moments when they begin to doubt if they can fulfil this need, it could be covered up. What is taking place within them is then going to end up being ignored and their need to be happy will soon take precedence.


It is then not just that one wants to be happy, it is that this is something that is incredibly important. One will then be doing the right thing by allowing this to be something that consumes their whole life.

That is unless they are able to experience happiness, and then they will be able to settle down and enjoy what is taking place. At the same time, this could be a time where they will be thinking about how long it will last.


Therefore, out of their need to try and control what is taking place, they can end up missing out on the very thing they desire. If they were to detach from what is taking place in their mind, it would allow them to embrace the present moment.

Yet even when they have the desire to be happy, this can also stop them from being able to be happy. On one side, they will be avoiding the present moment, and on the other, they will have the need to do something.


What is taking place in their life can then be harder for them to handle, as they will have the need to experience life differently. If they were able to surrender, they may find that they start to feel different.

And as they believe that they should be happy, they can feel like a failure if they are unhappy. They may find that they start to experience life differently if they were let go of this need.

A Different Purpose

One may find that they will have a more fulfilling life let go of the need to be happy all the time and to focus on living a purposeful life instead. This won’t allow them to always feel good, but what it will do is give them something far more substantial.

There will be good moments and bad moments, and this will be a lot easier to handle when one is doing what matters to them. By doing what gives their life meaning, they might even let go of the need to be happy all the time.


If one has the need to be happy all the time, it can be a sign that they find it hard to tolerate ‘negative’ emotions. It can then be necessary for them to develop the ability to regulate how they feel, and this is something that can take place with the assistance of a therapist.

In today’s world, depression has become a word that carries enormous weight; either for people who have it or for people who hear about it. It could also be described as a modern day taboo, with people often wanting to avoid the whole thing.

However, what is clear is that depression is not something that can be ignored. It is a very real challenge in today’s world. And this is just one aspect of what are often described as ‘mental health’ problems.

This is not something that can be cited as having one cause, as there are often said to be numerous causes. These can be: genetics, diet, repression, chemical imbalance, abuse, illness, the environment and other factors.

And as we are all so different, it’s not a case of one cause being the same for everyone. So as this is such a complex area and not something that can be put into one box; I will cover one of the above aspects that can cause depression.


On the Google home page, it is described as the following - 

1.Severe despondency and dejection, accompanied by feelings of hopelessness and inadequacy. 

2. A condition of mental disturbance, typically with lack of energy and difficulty in maintaining concentration or interest in life.

So here, one feels at a low ebb and is unable to feel any positive emotions. Their energy is gone and the will to live doesn’t exist either.


While depression is often treated as a taboo, emotions are not too far behind in this respect. They are generally ignored and this is partly due to a lack of understanding in how to deal with them. One is not simply born with emotionally intelligence; this is something that has to be learnt.

And when it comes to how one responds and perceives their emotions, the childhood years are typically the most important time. This time will often define what kind of relationship one will have with their emotions.

This relationship can be just like a relationship that one has with other human beings; it can be positive and empowering or it can be negative and distempering. So emotions can be seen as problems and as something that one needs to avoid or as feedback and as something that one needs to listen to.

The Education System

One of the reasons this time is so important, is that one doesn’t usually learn about their emotions during their years of being in education. Certain areas are seen as vital, but emotional intelligence is a new thing.

This means that the early relationship that was formed with their emotions will generally be carried into their adult years. And it won’t matter if this relationship is healthy or unhealthy.

The Relationship

So coming back to this early relationship, there can be two ways that one can develop in order to cope with their emotions. And this will generally depend on how their caregivers responded to ones emotions as a child and to their own emotions.

Emotional Regulation

Here, a child will develop the ability to regulate their emotions; this means that they will rarely act on them or deny that they exist and repress them. They will be able to just be with them, without getting too caught up in them. And if they become too overwhelming, the child will learn that it is safe to seek assistance in others.

Emotional Dysregulation

In this case, the child will not develop the ability to regulate their emotions. This means that the child will have to either act on them or to deny and repress them. They won’t be able to just be with them and will end up being caught up in them. And during times of being overwhelmed, they are unlikely to feel safe asking for assistance.

Empathic and Unempathic

The first example will relate to a caregiver that is empathic and the second example is for a caregiver that is unempathic. An empathic caregiver is emotionally available and will generally mirror, match, hold and sooth their child during emotional distress.

And an unempathic caregiver will is likely to be emotional unviable. So this means that they generally won’t mirror, match, hold or sooth their child during emotional distress.

These are just general guidelines, as there is likely to be moments where it won’t be this black and white. However, this creates an idea about what it is like.


As a result of the above taking place, it is likely to lead to completely different consequences. If as a child, one learned to regulate their emotions through having an empathic caregiver; it is likely to mean that one will have a tendency to either regulate their emotions or to seek support in other people.

And if as a child, one didn’t learn how to regulate their emotions through having an unempathic caregiver; it is likely to mean that they will have a tendency of either repressing their emotions or of acting on them.


So the first child is rarely going to have to repress their emotions and this means that when this child grows into an adult, there shouldn’t be the need to repress them either.

But the second child, who has to repress their emotions, will likely grow into an adult that continues to repress their emotions. And this is inevitably gong to lead to an emotional build up in the body.

These emotions will have accumulated from when one was a child and all of the emotions that one has experienced as an adult, but denied and ignored.

Different Types Of Repression

For some people, this will involve certain moments as a child where they were abandoned, ignored, rejected, humiliated, felt hopeless, helpless, suicidal, guilty and ashamed for instance.

These can relate to the odd occasion or perhaps when one experienced these things on a daily or consistent basis. This can also include traumatic moments where one was: physically, emotionally or intellectually abused as a child.

And due to these moments taking place many years ago, they are generally blocked from the mind. But the body remembers these feelings and will not be silenced until they are recognised. This creates a heavy burden on the body and can result in a loss of energy.

Emotionally Trapped

In the beginning these may have only been emotions or feelings, but as time has gone on, they have become emotional states and have completely taken over. A bit like how one weed appears and soon after, the whole patch is covered in weeds.

So the fact that there were only one or two weeds to begin with is hard to comprehend and finding the original weeds or weeds can then be extremely difficult. Here one no longer feels one or two emotions, but has become emotionally trapped. And no longer experiences one or two emotions, but a general feeling of being overwhelmed or – depressed.

Two Scenarios

It could be that one has felt this way their whole life or that one felt this way after a certain experience. This could be the result of some kind of loss or traumatic occurrence that triggered emotions that have been trapped and frozen in the body for so long.

For the first person it may be experienced as normal and how life is, simply because they have never felt any different. And for the other person, it might not feel normal. This could be due to the fact that these feelings have been repressed for so many years and this has caused a disconnection to occur.


Perhaps one has recognised the connection between how they felt as a child and how they feel as adult or just that they need to be assisted emotionally. And this can be done through the help of a healer or a therapist that will allow one to feel and therefore release their emotions

This doesn’t mean that one will be forever caught up in them. If it is done right, it means that one will be able to let go of the emotions that have built up. 

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