No one really escapes difficult times in their lives. Whether we like it or not, we learn the most from our own particular challenges. The ability to stay positive through tough times though is a skill that we can all learn. Here’s how.
Embrace The Difficulty
If you’ve suffered a calamitous problem that has left you reeling and feeling negative, the worst thing you can do is try to deflect or deny the issue. Many people attempt to ignore the problem and its ramifications yet by acknowledging the problem, it can be dealt with and a solution found.
Begin by considering ths: There is no such thing as a problem.
If you are faced with a huge dilemma, ask yourself “Am I able to do anything about this problem?”. If the answer to that question is “yes”, then do that something and you rid yourself of the problem. If the answer is “no”, and there honestly isn’t anything you can do, then forget about it and the problem is no longer! Don’t waste your time and energy worrying and fretting about something you cannot change.
Learn from the Experience
Look for the the lessons that can be gleaned from the problem. This way you will be able to calmly face the issue and deal with it in an unemotional manner. By remaining calm and in control of your feelings you will be able to more readily understand the situation you find yourself in, how you got there and determine not to find yourself in that position again. You will have learned from the experience. Then, move on.
This Isn’t the First Time
Use your experience of previous difficult times. Think about when adversity struck before – how did you deal with it then? It didn’t last forever. You came out of it, maybe not unscathed but you got through it. This will give you the determination to win through this time too.
Record the experience
Make a written record of what you’re going through as you tackle the problem. This has a therapeutic effect of self-counselling. You are forcing yourself to understand the issues, your reaction to it and yourself.
I found keeping a daily record of events helped me through a traumatic divorce that I didn’t initially understand or could accept. Through writing my journal I came to deal with an emotional problem logically rather than be an irrational mess. I looked back at this record regularly through days (or rather nights) and it became a strong indicator of my progress through the awful experience and it offered me hope. I knew myself better after the events concluded and I was a more contented person as a result.
I didn’t have much to laugh about during my marriage break-up but there were moments that cheered me up and lightened my load for a while. So, even when you don’t feel like it initially, try to see the good or fun in life. Don’t let the difficulty drag you down.
Try to laugh. The good thing about laughter is it is contagious. For others and for yourself. Force yourself to laugh at things. OK, that laughter may be rather shallow at first but keep at it. Your mood will lighten and it will help you see solutions that weryou didn’t believe were there before.
Choose to be Happy
Rid yourself of the emotional baggage that the difficulty lays on you at first. It takes time but refuse to allow yourself to be lumbered with, as Donald Sutherland termed it in the movie Kelly’s Heroes, “those negative waves.”
If you don’t allow yourself to wallow in self-pity but choose a path towards happiness, it will come.
Importantly, be yourself during this awful period. Allow yourself to scream, yell, cry, curse or whatever else gets you through it. Don’t concern yourself with what others or society thinks how you should be acting in your adversity. Do what you need to do. As long as it doesn’t hurt others, choose that which will create happiness in your life.
For many, trying to manage tough times alone is sure to maintain a feeling of hopelessness. Gathering people around you who make you feel hopeful just by being with them can be a great asset because their positivity, their hopefulness can easily rub off on you.
But, you may be the sort of person that doesn’t like group hugs, the sharing of common problems. I couldn’t allow myself to discuss my problems with others and found solace and comfort through my journal (see tip 4, above).
Choose your own course and do it with hope and a will to survive and flourish.