Working through hard times
“Always believe you are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem and smarter than you think”. - A. A. Milne
Life is not always easy. We all live through hardship, whether losing a loved one, experiencing financial troubles, having relationship difficulties or problems at work. Everyone experiences challenges differently. Some are able to thrive through struggle and others simply put their lives on pause while they work their way through troublesome times. In this world, there is no way to escape hardship, but we can equip ourselves with the skills, tools and knowledge needed to grow, develop and work through the lows in life.
We all live through ebbs and flows. Some days you’ll feel on top of the world, like you can achieve anything and the sky’s the limit, yet other days you’ll be down in the valleys, struggling to simply get by. It’s not easy to sit with the feeling of struggle, but it’s an opportunity to reflect and grow. If you can learn to better overcome hardship and improve your ability to navigate difficult times, you’ll no doubt grow as a person and live a happier life. It’s not always what we go through that defines us, but how we respond to those experiences that shapes the person that we become.
Here are some key strategies that can help you through difficult times. No matter what approach resonates with you most, be sure to be kind to yourself along the way because kindness is a core function of acceptance and growth.
“Hope is important because it can make the present moment less difficult to bear. If we believe that tomorrow will be better, we can bear a hardship today.” – Thich Nhat Hanh
Try to live with hope. No matter how difficult today may be, tonight the sun will set, nightfall will come and tomorrow the sun will rise, bringing with it a new day and new beginnings.
Let go of the need to control everything. Focus on the things that you can control, rather than the things that you cannot. When we fixate on the things outside of our control, we set ourselves up for frustration and drain precious time and energy. Try to refocus that time and energy on those things that you can control, because they’re more attainable and they are the things that you’re capable of changing, that will actually be able to help you.
Tip - Make a list of everything you can control about the situation and divert all of your focus towards those things. Anything that’s not on the list, doesn’t get any attention.
When we go through hardship, it is often difficult to see the light. You may feel as though you have a dark cloud looming over you, that you cannot escape. No matter how dark your world may seem, there are always things to be grateful for. Perhaps you have an incredibly loyal dog, or a beautiful garden, or maybe your husband brought you coffee in bed this morning. It may be something as simple as a new jumper that keeps you warm in winter or a delicious apple that you ate this morning. Try to find those things in your life that are positive and that you can be grateful for.
Tip: Keep a gratitude journey. You may purchase a guided gratitude journal online or simply take 5 minutes each day to write down all those things you have to be grateful for. Choose a journaling style that works for you and that you feel that you can commit to.
It’s not easy to live with uncertainty or to sit in the unknown. Finding the courage, strength and willingness to move forward, when moving forward means entering the unknown, is no easy task. Fortunately, the most challenging part is the lead-up. How often, growing up, did your parents tell you not to worry because everything always had a way of working itself out? Well the reality is, most things do work themselves out one way or another. In entering the unknown, you’ll learn more about yourself, you’ll grow, develop confidence and gain experience. It’s often those who embrace the unknown that reap the benefits.
The COVID-19 pandemic forced most of humanity to endure difficult times, though at the same time highlighting the resilience and strength of mankind. Despite the challenging years that we have all lived through, we sit here today with the skills, knowledge and understanding of what it takes to get through hard times. These learnings we will carry forward and use to continue to live our best life.
Please join us for our upcoming event Refocusing After Setback, with our Head of Clinical Services Kevin Vowles.
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