Written by guest contributor Sala Tumanuvao

Whenever we’re put in a situation that we can’t get out of, what’s our first course of action? Run? Hide? Ignore it entirely? I know I’ve been guilty of those. The question then becomes, “What if I can’t get out?”

Dealing with our issues is hard. Sometimes, the “dealing” part never happens, and you are just left with issues—and that’s no fun. Things pop up that we are not prepared to deal with. That’s life. The most we can ask of ourselves is to try to deal with them gracefully and with a sense of humor. But guess what? I know that there have been times where I haven’t been able to manage even that much. It’s called life. We’re all doing our best. And to be honest, that’s all that life asks of us: to keep rolling with the punches, or—in other words—to just keep swimming.

I know that one thing that has always helped me is remembering to breathe. You know the feeling when you’re overwhelmed, and you’re trying not to be overwhelmed, which makes you more overwhelmed, so you clench a fist or two and hold your breath until the feeling passes? Well, I’ve done that. Once I stop holding my breath, it’s usually a good idea to breathe again, if you remember. If you don’t remember, you might have other problems—but anyway, that’s a different story. I know that the overwhelmed feeling doesn’t pass entirely at first. But it will, and you will be a lot stronger for it.

The reason why I felt so compelled to write about this particular topic is that everyone has a lot of stuff going on in their lives. If I were to ask a room of people, ‘Who is busy?” I bet every hand would be raised. This is meant to be an understanding between us: I know you have three things you could be doing right now, but instead, you are reading this. I might as well make it interesting and, if possible, helpful for you.

So, to answer the original question posed in this article, if you are in a situation that you can’t get out of, there are three things you might want to try that do not include running, hiding, or ignoring. Let me share with you.

1. Share

One of my greatest challenges in life is learning to be a team player. Every person out there has someone rooting for them. I can almost guarantee that if you asked—I mean, really put it out in the universe via phone call, text, email, or a Facebook/Twitter post—you would receive something. Sharing means caring. The universe cares about you. Sounds weird, but go along with it. If you pose a question, it must answered. Trust the answer.

2. Help someone else

If you need help, the best thing that you can do is help someone else. I’m not getting into any karmic law here, it’s just the plain and simple truth. If you feel lousy, stuck, useless, worthless, or just bad in general, helping someone else will cure whatever ails you. You see, as humans, we get a certain satisfaction from feeling useful. Doesn’t matter what it is that we do. It could be helping an old lady across the street. It could be helping your neighbor fix his fence. It could be calling your mom and telling her that you love her. Whatever it is, it will make you feel better. I’m not saying this so that you can be self-serving, I’m saying this as a reminder: someone wants what only you can provide.

3. Do

You probably already know everything I’ve said already, so I don’t know why I said that there were three things. I mean, admit it, have I told you anything you haven’t heard before? Probably not, but we all need reminders sometimes. Therefore, the third piece that I will share is this: do. Do whatever calls you. Believe me, it will call you back. Not like that ex that you shouldn’t be calling anyway, but like that gut feeling when you know something is right. Do what it says. It might be hard, but you are so very worth it.

Hopefully, this has found you in that in-between space, where you haven’t quite given up and run but also aren’t yet clenching your fists and holding your breath. If it has, I hope this has helped you and that you’ve found something meaningful in what I’ve shared here.

Remember, the key is to breathe.