Life can come with all sorts of trouble, setbacks, curve balls, and other major difficulties. Money problems, school problems, job problems, family problems, relationship problems, legal problems... the list goes on and on. These sources of stress can beat us down if we let them, and sometimes it's tough to climb out of the resulting depression. Getting past hardships is crucial to improving things, though, and proceeding through life with positivity and clarity.
Of course, everyone copes with issues in their own ways, and different struggles call for different approaches. But there are general ways to encourage yourself to find the resolve to get past hardships. They help put things in perspective and turn on that light at the end of the tunnel.
Coping with Personal Struggles
- Remind yourself about past problems. It may sound strange to dwell on negative experiences when you're already down, but this serves an important purpose: It shows you clear examples of how you've conquered other hardships before, even when things seemed hopeless at the time.
- Don't focus on blame. Understanding the cause of our troubles is a key part of learning from our mistakes. But dwelling on blame-whether blaming yourself, someone else, or just circumstances-can fuel anger and other negative feelings. Focus instead on moving forward.
- Don't get caught up thinking about fairness. Thinking of things in terms of being "fair" or "not fair" isn't useful. Life just doesn't work that way. It's too easy to get bogged down feeling sorry for yourself or like a victim, and this often prevents you from moving on.
- Find acceptance of what's happened. You can lose a lot of time to denial, time better spent focused on healing and growing. Come to terms with the issues you're facing, make an honest evaluation of what they mean for your situation, and turn your attention to making progress.
- Realize that what doesn't kill you makes you stronger. OK, it's such a cliché. But it's still a smart one. Learning from mistakes, experiencing deep personal pain and doubt, and conquering it all provide valuable life lessons, impart wisdom, and strengthens your resolve.
- Spend time with family and friends. It's easy to isolate after serious setbacks, but it doesn't do any good. Take advantage of your support network. But even if you don't feel like talking about what's wrong, simply being around loved ones helps keep your mood and determination up.
- Train yourself to have a healthier outlook. We can teach our minds to feel better and be more optimistic. Doing this fosters the strength to get past hardships and makes day-to-day life more manageable.
- Expose yourself to inspirational stories. Find motivation in the stories of others who've overcome significant hardship. Fiction books, memoirs, biographies, movies, and music are some sources, as are countless blogs and videos online and even stories of people in your life.
- Distinguish between things you can and can't control. This is crucial to successfully conquer your problems and turn things around. Mental and physical energy has to be directed at things you can change, which means you can't afford to waste it on things you can't.
- Set some big and little goals. It's beneficial to feel like you're making progress, and reaching tangible short- and long-term goals is the best way. Some should be related to your hardship, and some should not. Write them down, make solid plans for achieving them, and get to it!