Unfortunately, we all go through painful, problematic, and challenging periods of our life from time to time. It is important to know how to overcome them. How to get through tough times?
In this article, I will share with you some practical, actionable tips that you can follow in order for you to go through challenging situations.
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5 Tips To Deal With Tough Times in Life
1) Choose Between Denial, Acceptance, and Growth
Here’s an analogy:
There is a carrot, an egg, and a coffee. Imagine we put them all in a pot and pour some hot water on top of them. The hot water symbolizes a certain problematic situation that we put these 3 objects into. How will they react?
The carrot will become softer. The egg will become stronger. Whereas, the coffee will turn into something totally new; the coffee bean will turn into a coffee drink/beverage.
This is an illustration of the 3 common reactions that people have when they face a certain problem in their lives.
#1 DENIAL – which the carrot symbolizes. This is when people don’t even want to talk about the problem, hoping that it will somehow settle by itself. Or they even try to deny the situation itself.
Of course, when things are painful, we definitely don’t want it to enter into our mind/heart, but unfortunately, this actually makes people weaker, and that’s what happens to the carrot in the analogy. The people who become ‘softer’, actually become weaker.
#2 ACCEPTANCE – which the egg symbolizes. It’s when you say “Alright, things like these happen. It’s life”, in challenging situations. You just accept the fact, even though you hate it, that this is a problem and you are going to address it.
These are the people who become stronger; they get ready to fight in the phase of troubles.
#3 GROWTH – which is shown by the coffee. These are the people who find a way to get a new perspective and find new opportunities. They evolve and grow into something new - someone better and smarter than they used to be earlier.
2) See Things From a New Perspective
Here is a story:
When Thomas Edison, the famous inventor who invented the light bulb, was 67-years old, there was a big fire in his lab, and he lost almost all of his setup, which in today’s money is worth 23 million dollars.
He was too old to start things over again. His relatives were very concerned; they thought that Edison would be too depressed about this tragedy. But actually, he took a totally sudden approach.
When the fire was going, he actually saw his son nearby and asked “Where is your mom? Go, get her. And also tell her to bring all her friends, because they will never see a fire like this”. It was a really big fire! And then, he added, “Don’t worry, it’s alright. We just got rid of a lot of rubbish”.
Of course, it’s hard to stay optimistic when you lose everything in a fire, but anyway, that’s the approach he took. And he actually did start all over again the next morning. He started to rebuild everything again.
The same approach can be applied to any other situation in life. Pretty often, the end of something is also the beginning of something new. The end of one unhappy relationship can be the beginning of a new, better relationship.
Therefore, if you find a way to take this new approach and a better perspective of the same situation, it can actually help you grow and get something better in life. Just like what the coffee symbolized - grow/evolve into something new.
3) Choose to Respond Effectively
I actually got this advice from a man I know. He lost his leg due to health issues. A lot of people, in that case, would be deeply depressed. But, he took a totally different approach.
He asked himself “What are the actions that I can take in order to change the situation for the better?”, and that is the key question that you need to ask yourself.
He came up with a list of questions like the following:
“Who are the people who can help me?”
“What are the things that I need to do?”
“How do I have to change my life to adapt to these new circumstances?”
In contrast to this, what usually happens to people when they go through tough times is that they start feeling sorry for themselves and ask questions like “Why does this happen to me? Why did it happen now? How could that person do this to me?”, and so on.
All these questions, unfortunately, only provoke depression and negative emotions.
The only antidote, to this kind of thoughts that will inevitably come to you if you face a certain challenge, is to shift your focus to actions. Ask yourself this critical question:
“What are the actions that I can take right now in order to change the situation for the better?“
A good mantra that you can tell yourself is “I decide to respond effectively!”. By doing so, you remind yourself that you need to respond effectively, instead of being emotional and immersing yourself into negative emotions, which unfortunately only brings you down.
Find the actions that actually can contribute to changing the situation for the better.
I’ve actually followed it myself several times when I was having some health issues and other hard periods of life. And I have noticed that these tips helped me run through such situations much easier than a lot of other people I have seen around dealing with similar problems.
4) Seek Help From Those Who Have Been There Already
Another common reaction that we have while we are going through hard times is thinking that it is unfair because it happened to us.
Try to find out if there are people who ran through this situation already. By doing so, you will quickly realize a couple of things:
1. First of all, there are thousands of people who have faced the same situation already in the past. And many of them actually found a way to deal with it effectively and now they are living a happy life.
Therefore, they came through successfully.
You will also realize that there are thousands of other people whose situations are way worse compared to yours. Unfortunately, nasty things happened in the world; therefore, many people are going through painful things in life.
We forget about this when we just focus on our own problems. But when you realize that several other people have already gone through this, it helps you get a better perspective, and stop feeling sorry for yourself so much.
2. Most importantly, it helps you find the solutions. If others overcame such situations, and are actually happy now, then there is a certain recipe that they followed. Therefore, you can investigate this, maybe even approach these people.
There are communities of people who went through certain problems and found a way to get rid of them. Therefore, you can become a part of those communities and seek help from other people.
Usually, people who went through something themselves are really willing to help others, because they know how hard and painful it is. You can use the solutions that they have used in order to go through these challenging situations.
5) Move On!
It may sound like something superficial. But, it actually has a profound effect. Because in tough times, you get upset, frustrated, feel depressed, and you lose your motivation and enthusiasm. You stop moving.
Your body starts to deteriorate; your energy levels go down. Therefore, not only are you facing a negative situation in life, but even your state is even worse than it usually is. But, in order to respond effectively, you have got to be strong.
Therefore, it is very important to get moving. If you don’t know how to deal with a certain challenge, at least get moving - make sure that you exercise, or take a walk. It helps you to stay active, energetic, and it prevents you from falling into depression.
A lot of people take pills hoping that it will help them, but unfortunately, those pills deprive different emotions and make them less active overall. But, moving on works way better than any pill that one can possibly take.
We all go through tough times. Sometimes it is a little thing that we can deal with effectively and quickly. Sometimes it is a bigger challenge in life that we have to go through for a certain period of life. And, sometimes it could be big adversity that we just have to face and accept.
But whatever it is, there are these proven ways for you to go through it effectively and to make sure that it is not as painful as it could be, and that you can still be happy afterward. 😊
Remember, get your focus totally on actions, and ask yourself the question “What are the actions that I can take in order to change the situation for the better?”
This is best because of two main reasons:
1. Obviously, by taking action, you do change the situation for the better.
2. You stop the negative thoughts from entering into your mind. You shift your focus to something else.
There is also one great quote about this:
“If you are going through hell, don’t stop. Keep moving!” – Les Brown
You need to take action to get through these situations as quickly as possible.
Know that the universe always has a positive intent to you. Therefore, whatever you are going through will bring you some good things down the road.
You may not seem them right now, but in the future when you look back, you will realize that it actually made you stronger, wiser, and maybe opened new doors/opportunities for you.
Keep moving and take action! Everything will be good.