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How to survive anything

Whatever funny and real situation life throws at you, it pays to be prepared.
Image courtesy: Lonely Planet/Mark Read

Public speaking, blind dates, and if you’re really unlucky, even a zombie apocalypse… whatever life throws at you, it pays to be prepared. Learn to laugh in the face of adversity with Lonely Planet’s How to Survive Anything. The following is an excerpt from Lonely Planet’s How to Survive Anything.

How to survive…

…in a dysfunctional family

Psychoanalytic theory says every family is a system, within which members unconsciously fulfil a role (think Homer as buffoon, Marge as home-builder, Bart as wild child, Lisa as goody two-shoes swot and Maggie as the forgotten one). Dysfunction happens when people’s roles affect the purpose and running of the system.

  1. Identify your unconscious role within the family. Are you the breadwinner, black sheep, the perfect one or the screw-up? If you find it unhelpful being labelled in this way, resist the stereotype by acting out of role.
  2. If you’re an adult, you can distance yourself from your childhood family group and start your own, both geographically and emotionally. Try to pinpoint what went wrong with your parents and siblings as it will help you to avoid repeating the same dynamics again with your spouse and kids.

…a foot-in-mouth situation

Burying your head in the sand is the worst possible idea when you’ve dropped a clanger and said something you regret. Be prepared to take stock of the situation. Don’t leave it too long or the situation will spiral out of control.

  1. Assess how big the problem actually is. It often seems more significant to you than it appears to be from the outside. Talking it through with someone trusted allows you to regulate your response by taking on board an external perspective and modifying your actions accordingly.
  2. Make a plan. Don’t just react to events. What you do next could affect your life and reputation forever. Don’t think about what will happen in the next hour. Think about the next year. How do you want to look back on this situation and remember it? How do you want others to recall it in a year’s time? Act on that long-term basis.

…your commute

Let’s face it, unless you have a limo or helicopter to ferry you around, commutes can be boring, stressful and unpleasant. The secret to alleviating the tedium is to make your journey work harder by incorporating small activities that actually leave your brain and body better off when you arrive.

  1. Train surf. Stand without holding on to anything for as long as you can for a free workout. As you learn the bumps and bends on your route, you can bring your feet closer together until you eventually stand on one foot: pro level.
  2. Use the ‘five-more’ rule to develop better concentration in your daily life. Force yourself to do five more things before you get distracted: remember five dates, sing five songs or plan your next five bucket-list holidays.

More from Lonely Planet’s guide to surviving anything:

How to survive getting locked out…naked

How to survive small talk

Grab your copy of Lonely Planet’s How to Survive Anything, here: