Lately, I have been talking with folks who are facing tremendous challenges and sadness such as illness, job loss, relationship troubles or the loss of a loved one.
Their situations and their bravery made me think about the fact that when we are knee-deep in a crisis or dealing with sad times we don’t always have the time or the wherewithal to figure out we can do to get through the difficulties and sad times. Yet, if you are human, you have been through some type of hard times and did do something to get through them.
Even if you are thinking “Well, just barely,” you are still here, and now is a good time to review what worked for you then as a way of helping you now and in the future, and to give yourself credit for making it through!
Start by asking yourself, “What has worked for me in the past?” “What did I do to regain my footing, strengthen my resolve or help myself create a new perspective?”
- Did you reach out to friends? This is a great way to start sorting through what is happening to you. Via phone, social media, face time.
- Did you reduce your outside commitments? Increase them?
- Did you make more time or less time for yourself? Were you able to key in on what you really needed or what really mattered to you?
- Did you try to refocus or better understand your worries or negative train of thoughts? (Rumination – rehashing negative thoughts primes your brain to release stress hormones, getting too much of them is not a good thing.)
- Did you use music, movies, TV, reading or another method to relax? Which worked best for you? Least? (I note in “My Courage Diet” how often I have used movies and music to make me feel better and ready for anything.)
- Did you try something new – even if only because the situation forced you to? (This is referred to as becoming a “reluctant hero”, like Hans Solo or Finn in Star Wars – they didn’t start out wanting to do good, but ended-up on the right path for them and others.) As an example, if a loved one was in the hospital or lost a job, did you take on new tasks or responsibilities to get through the hard times? Did those choices take you out of your comfort zone? What did you learn by doing that? Did you gain any new insights or skills? Have those choice away made your life better or you stronger?
- Did you simply grin and bear it or did you focus on comforting thoughts such as, “This too shall pass?”
- Did you under/over eat, drink or medicate? Did that help or hinder your situation? Would you want to repeat those patterns, if not, how would you change them?
- Did you exercise intentionally or by accident due to circumstances – change in schedule or environment, lack of transport, or increased activity?
- Did you meditate, breathe deeply, count to 10, take relaxing baths, light candles, connect to nature? (Any and all can be effective what matters is what worked for you.)
I have created a free Wishful Thinking Works “I am stronger than the tough stuff!” sample to review and sheet for you to print and customize for yourself, so when a difficult situation arises you can pull it out to help you deal! Download as many copies as you need to list everything that you have done that works for you. Keep the list(s) around and add to them as you think of new activities, thoughts or quotes that helped you. Using the lists is a form of resiliency, which is a very good thing.
The key is to objectively review and write down how you got through the tough times using the benefit of hindsight and perspective.
As you start the process, it is human nature to think of all the things you did that didn’t work . . . Don’t beat up on yourself for anything you did, but also don’t make excuses. Simply review what you did and whether it helped or hindered your situation
Resiliency “is the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness”
Psychological resilience is defined as an individual’s ability to properly adapt to stress and adversity. Stress and adversity can come in the shape of family or relationship problems, health problems, or workplace and financial worries, among others. Resilience is not a rare ability; in reality, it is found in the average individual and it can be learned and developed by virtually anyone. Resilience should be considered a process, rather than a trait to be had.
A common misapprehension is that resilient people are free from negative emotions or thoughts, remaining optimistic in most or all situations. To the contrary, resilient individuals have, through time, developed coping techniques that allow them to effectively and relatively easily navigate around or through crises. In other words, people who demonstrate resilience are people with optimistic attitude and positive emotionality and are, by practice, able to effectively balance negative emotions with positive ones.
Your life may never be exactly as it was before a traumatic or sad event or before other circumstances beyond your control entered it, but it can be good again, even great. Developing resiliency will help you find your way until your path is clear again. (Please note: I am not saying losses are without pain, loss can be very painful. I am saying if you are still standing, sitting, kneeling or even crawling you got through them and somehow, someway you can do it again.)
Get your free Wishful Thinking Works “I am stronger than the tough stuff.” plan.
Creating a plan for coping in advance can reduce the shock and may help the pain pass more quickly. The Wishful Thinking Works “I am stronger than the tough stuff.” sample and sheet are an easy way to started. Click here for sample to review. Click here for blank for you to record what works for you.
Let me know how they work for you and please share any thoughts on what works for you when you are sad or facing difficulties. We can all learn from one another.
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