Tough times happen to everyone. They can be tough emotionally, financially, physically, illness or injury, challenging spiritually, challenging in any area of our life.
It is usual for us to be in a slump every now and then. Life is a cycle of positive and negatives, and you are not alone in feeling lost in knowing how to deal with the tough times. The pain is real, and so is the joy that comes with living life to the fullest.
Our Reaction And Dealing With Tough Times
The important thing is not how challenging the time is but what we do during the tough time and how we handle it. When a problematic life situation arises, the first thing that occurs is that our thoughts bombard us with negativity to protect us. Thoughts such as I don’t want to deal with this; my life was good until now, why me, it feels too much for one person.
There are many different ways to deal with tough times, and all reactions depend on the person involved and their situation. Some people will withdraw from others while some will encroach upon others’ space. Some feel fortunate for having this challenging experience, while others wish they could go back to “normal” living again.
Some will attempt to ignore the situation. They may feel it is too overwhelming, too great for them to handle, so they try to do their best to ignore their feelings and problems. Or the person might turn to food, alcohol, drugs, sex, whatever form of escapism they can use to avoid dealing with tough times.
We all have had moments of feeling like this.
Life is an ebb and flow of positive and negative, and when we can recall this between our negative thoughts, we can begin to move forward to change the ebb and lean into the flow. In leaning into the flow we may find a new approach in dealing with our tough times.
An Alternative Approach: What Do You Need To Do When Tough Times Strike?
1. Accept Yourself
Begin by accepting the negative thoughts that arise by sitting with them, knowing that who we are and what our thoughts are saying does not need to become our path of action or our truth. Next, acknowledge yourself as a valuable person even though something challenging has happened.
You may feel like you’re worth less than others because of the situation or isolated as the difficult time occurred due to your actions. Recognize that everyone makes mistakes sometimes, and tough times don’t diminish your value as a person. Through self-acceptance, we can deal with the tough time bringing us closer to our desired outcomes.
2. Be Empathetic To Yourself
Give yourself credit for what you’re dealing with. So often, we feel like we don’t deserve the tough time we are in, that somehow we should have known better and prevented it from happening in some way. However, tough times happen, and no one plans it or anticipates it coming.
So if a tough time has come your way… well… congratulations, growth within is occurring. You’ve got another tricky thing to work through and add to your inner strength and resilience skill practice.
Remind yourself often that this situation won’t last forever. It is overwhelming at first and seems so never-ending, but tough times don’t last forever- know instead it will pass and be over soon enough. Tough times will often bring out both the best and worst in people.
Many tough times reveal the genuine person we are. The tough time can either help us to know what we’re made of, what we stand for, and who we want to be; or it can cause us to lose sight of all those things because the tough thing was too much for us, and we gave up, lost our way. Either way, good or bad, our eyes are opened to who we are, allowing us to grow, change, become the person we want to be.
3. Ask For Help
We often try to avoid tough times because we don’t know what to do or how to handle the tough time, or we may feel vulnerable. To ask for help from a good friend, family member, or therapist may not occur to us to do at first, especially when we feel it’s too much.
However, we may need someone to help direct our thoughts when we cannot find a clear direction on our own. Our biggest struggles can be an opportunity for personal growth, sharing who we truly are with those we love and know, and maybe for those we don’t know.
4. Educate And Research
Perhaps you realize that you know very little about the situation, so you can take care of yourself and expand your knowledge by reading inspirational books/blogs. Examining what others have done in your case or seeing that your situation is not as bad as another will begin to give you perspective and provide you with a direction to start your action.
Your negative thoughts may start to decrease, and the courage and strength within you grow as you take your first steps in dealing with the tough time.
5. Take Time For Yourself
Taking time for yourself is critical to keep moving forward. If you find you are too busy doing for others, then set an alarm clock. When the alarm rings, go and take your time. Taking time may mean sitting with yourself and doing nothing or having a bath, relaxing at home while drinking tea/coffee, going to the gym, or for a hike in the mountains.
The most important part of taking time for yourself is choosing to do something that will fill your soul positively, and that you are not thinking or doing it for anyone else. If you would like more information on creating a space where you can take time for yourself check out our guide Create A Personal Zen Space for some inspiration.
6. Acknowledge Your Feelings
When you acknowledge the tough time and the feelings and thoughts that arise, you can make choices that will benefit you and resolve the issue.
The above 6 steps may seem simplistic, especially for those dealing with challenging problems for a long time. However, if you give this idea and steps a chance it can help you keep perspective and increase self-awareness during challenging times.
Life has tough times so acknowledge the tough time without dwelling on it. If the problem is constantly at the forefront of your mind or you bury it, never to be found again, you will lose sight of other things that bring joy in your life. Give tough times their due attention/acknowledgment but don’t have tough times anchor you down any further than they already have done so.
Keep living each day, embracing the good and bad.