Posted on Aug 31st, 2006

Accidents and tragedies often happen to us when we are not expecting them. They are the unpleasant and even horrendous experiences of life. How can we deal with them when they happen and how can we prepare for them before they happen?

On Thursday 12th January 2006, I head butted a pile of chairs. I was pursuing a student with a fake knife to help him learn how to evade a knife attack. He evaded brilliantly.

As I missed him, I tripped and crashed to the ground falling heavily on my knees. My progress along the floor was stopped as I rammed my head into a pile of chairs.

Blood was dripping from my head to the ground and I felt as if I had been in a car crash.

My first thought, as a motivational writer, was: "What is good in this situation?!"

There was a lot. I still had my eyesight even though things appeared a little fuzzy and I still had intact knee caps. It was also the end of the lesson so no one could ask for their money back!

The scar that would be left on my head for a while would give me street cred as a martial arts instructor. When you are too old to look beautiful it is better to look tough.

The incident also gave me first hand experience of looking on the bright side. This viewpoint is always worth describing since so many humans have to face the dark side of life on a regular basis.

It is a commonplace that when you are in an accident or other stressful situation, you can relieve stress by considering the positives.

Crashing to the floor, will make me a better instructor. I will take better care of my students and make sure that they are not wearing the wrong footwear (as I stupidly was) and are not over committed (as I stupidly was).

I can also take the incident as a warning to be more careful in future in everything I do that involves risk. I will make sure I always wear a seat belt even for short car journeys. Accidents occur when you are not expecting them. The least you can do is be prepared for them.

I was moved by the support of my students. One insisted that he would take me to hospital. I told him I was fine and, in the end, I just drove myself home. I preferred an early night to hanging round in a chilly hospital full of dodgy bacteria.

Two of my black belt instructors phoned next day to check up on me and one of my more recent students emailed me to see if I was OK. Even her mum was concerned. Such support can definitely cheer you up in times of stress.

The incident allowed various talents to emerge. One of my students was a vet who did a great job of patching me up.

My sister commented on how cheerful I was after a good sleep. I would not have been so cheerful if there had been permanent damage to my eyes or knee caps.

It is easy to recover from an unpleasant incident where there is no permanent damage. Just realize the fact that things could have been much, much worse and take steps to avoid a repeat performance.

Being cheerful is not so easy if you suffer permanent damage but again the principle is the same. Look for the positives.

Many people are worse off than you or me. Christopher Reeve suddenly became worse off than billions when he fell off his horse. And even Christopher could have been worse off than he already was if he had suffered brain damage as well as paralysis and if he had not had the support of a loving family.

Money usually helps in any tough situation. One reason I have started an internet business in info publishing is to be able to help any member of my family if they need special treatment or care.

The old are too often treated with too little respect. If they have plenty of money in their old age, the respect is still there.

Having plenty of money cannot replace having good health but it can certainly alleviate your problems when you find yourself in a stressful situation.

Money is a great stress reliever! Being able to pay for any expensive drugs you might need can make a huge difference.

We need to make plenty of money while we are still able to. Even a minor accident can severely limit the power, focus and energy you need when you are trying to make money.

Age, too, can sneak up on us with unexpected health problems and increased stresses. Let’s focus on the best but also spend some time preparing for the worst.

Thorough preparation for the future is a great stress reliever and there is no time like the present to start preparing.

If you are not yet in a stressful situation, make sure you are ready for it if and when it comes.

Another way to deal with stress, even the worst kind, is to see the funny or unexpected side of it. Joan Rivers is famous for relieving stress by looking at the funny side of age, death and even suicide.

At a performance in England, she was almost in tears as she remembered the suicide of her husband and the way the news came first to her fifteen year old daughter, Melissa.

Melissa felt especially upset as she had been the last to speak to her father on the phone and had not realized what he was planning.

Joan felt she had ‘lost’ Melissa until they had a meal in a restaurant together. Joan daringly relieved her daughter’s stress by commenting:

"If daddy were alive and saw these prices he would kill himself all over again."

Melissa smiled for the first time since her father’s death.

Many people are currently stressed by the fear of bird ‘flu. Joan, typically, sees a benefit in this situation:

"Something wonderful has happened. We are all going to die from bird ‘flu, so we can eat what we like."

About the author

John Watson is an award winning teacher and fifth degree black belt martial arts instructor. He has recently written several books about achieving your goals and dreams.

They can be found on his website http://www.motivationtoday.com along with a motivational message and books by other authors

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