Over the last few days I’ve had conversations with several people going through difficult times. Having gone through such times myself it got me thinking about the ways that were helpful for me in overcoming those times. Today I’d like to share some of my favorite tips when facing adversity.
- Don’t be negative. Talking negatively too often and/or dwelling on the past is ultimately not constructive and has the damaging consequence of slowing (or preventing) our potential for solutions. Worse, it can also become a destructive habit over time. Rather than focusing on negative things, seek out the positive. Direct your energy toward your positive traits, previous successes and the things you DO have in your favor. This mindset will fuel you toward greater outcomes instead of hindering your progress.
- Get out of yourself. Something I’ve found extremely helpful during hard times is helping other people. This helps get us out of own heads while providing a better perspective on our lives and problems. Nothing will help you feel better about yourself than helping someone else.
- Suit up and show up. There will be rough patches in life for all of us – personally, financially, etc. When we encounter these challenges there may be a temptation to quit taking the steps necessary to improve our situation. You may not feel like getting up many days, may avoid the work you know you should be doing, you may cancel and not show up, etc. I believe that for things to improve you must continue battling every day – even the days when you absolutely do not want to. Your situation can be dramatically improved simply by continuing to push on; you never know when your break will come.
- Read the signs. Whenever I am faced with adversity I focus on even the tiniest signs of positivity that I can. When I faced my most difficult times in life I was never handed immediate solutions. However, I took note of small signals that helped motivate me to move forward. As an example, I can remember during a particularly stressful time in my life watching a show that had a powerful scene in it. I downloaded a song that played during that scene and listened to it constantly. It didn’t solve my problems but it kept me hungry and motivated to keep pressing on. These small signals on their own may not end your difficulties but they can be used as fuel for moving forward.
- Change is a process. No one ever magically wakes up one day with everything completely as they want; it takes time for things to manifest and improve. My life over the past several years transformed into something far greater than I’ve ever experienced. What’s interesting to me about this time period is that none of it happened over night. In fact it was a series of wins seemingly spaced between an equal number of losses. As you go through challenging times try and remember that change is not necessarily linear – there will be (many) ups and downs before you land where you want to be.
- Get some perspective. As human beings we immediately judge anything that happens to us as either good or bad. However, in many cases it takes time for us to truly know which they were. A person could lose their job today and be in a better job a year from now at which point they’d see losing the first job as a blessing. When most of us look back at our toughest times few of us would change them. It doesn’t mean they were a blast to go through but the strength, motivation and growth it provided almost always leads us to greater things afterwards.
- Get physical. One of the worst things a person can do when facing adversity is to neglect their body. Doing so usually results in more stress and less motivation. Eating better and making sure to get daily physical exercise of some kind is an excellent way to strengthen yourself to deal with any difficult time. It will also help reduce stress and provide numerous physiological benefits.