Strength When Life Gets Rough

Periods of life come and go just like the seasons. Some periods are full of smooth sailing. The sky is bright, your co-workers are happy, and everything exceeds your expectations. In other periods, it seems like everything is going wrong. Unexpected bills take us by surprise. We are buried in long lists of household chores, and work-life balance is a distant memory.

rock-climber-lisa-ryanWhen life gets rough, we have to make a choice. We can allow ourselves to be overcome by negative feelings and give up. Or we can decide to become stronger so we can cope with any of life’s (many) obstacles.

It’s easy to feel attacked by the universe. When we pass through a difficult season, achieving a positive mindset can seem impossible. But guess what? If you commit to putting in the work, you really can weather any storm.

In this article, I’ll go over eight ways you can build strength to get through even the roughest moments. Keep reading to learn more about how you can take control during a rough patch.

Take Charge of Your Perspective

When we feel stuck under a pile of negativity, we can lose sight of the broader context of our lives. By focusing only on our immediate problems, we forget everything that makes life beautiful.

If you feel stuck in a rut, the first thing you can do is take charge of your perspective. Ask yourself: will these problems still seem so terrible in six months? (Chances are they will not.)

Don’t forget that everything is temporary. Whatever you’re dealing with today, it won’t last forever. Remembering this can help you develop strength during rough times.

Think Carefully Before Making Big Decisions

Has anyone ever told you not to go grocery shopping when you’re hungry? When we go to the supermarket on an empty stomach, we’re more likely to buy junk food on impulse. In a similar way, being under huge amounts of stress can compromise your ability to make decisions. You might also be having trouble getting good sleep and eating healthy foods. All of these factors can make it difficult to make smart, positive choices.

If you’re in the middle of a crisis, don’t make important decisions on the spur of the moment. It’s easier to draw on your strength after you’ve had a good night’s sleep or a nutritious meal.

Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help

If you’re used to taking care of other people, it can be really hard to ask for help when you need it yourself.

Maybe you feel ashamed that you need help. You might wrongly think that asking for assistance means you’re weak. Or you could feel worried that you will be taking too much time from other people.

But asking for help is really a sign of strength!

If you have a hard time asking for help, try to imagine that a loved one or close friend is going through your present circumstances. Wouldn’t you want to give them support?

You deserve support, too.

When you’re going through a hard time, reach out to someone who can help. It could be a family member, friend, or even a kind neighbor. Remember that there’s no shame in asking for help.

Keep Sight of What’s Also Going Well

Even if it feels like everything is going wrong in your life, there is at least one thing going right. Dedicate some time each day to appreciating all the good around you.

You might appreciate kind friends who help you handle the tough moments in life. Or you might think about how much you love your home or the natural beauty of the area where you live.

Getting bogged down by negatives happens to the best of us. But if we make a choice to focus on the positives, the strength we develop can help us chart brighter courses through future waters.

Accept the Good and Bad of Your Situation

Ignoring our problems can cause a snowball effect. Our problems just keep getting bigger, until they become a full-blown avalanche. No matter how serious your problems are right now, they will only get worse the longer you avoid them.

During rocky periods, you must face obstacles head-on with strength and determination. Spend some time accepting the good and bad parts of your situation. After you’ve done some reflection, you’ll come to realize that you’re not alone.

Virtually none of our problems are totally unique. Whatever you’re facing, know that someone else has faced something similar in the past. With clarity and commitment, we are all capable of facing our challenges with strength.

Create a Strength Roadmap

Trying to solve all your problems at one time will only exhaust and discourage you. By creating a hardship roadmap, you can regain control of your destiny.

When you’re charting your course, take stock of the little things you can achieve today. Think about where you want to be in three or four months. What small step can you take today to get closer to making your goal a reality?

If you just went through layoffs at your company, your ultimate goal could be a new full-time job. Your goal for the month might include finding a part-time job to pay the bills. Your goal for each day could include a manageable number of job applications.

Visualize Your Life After Conquering this Difficulty

Visualization is a wonderful tool for enhancing positive feelings and cultivating a determined mindset. Once you’ve drawn your hardship roadmap, take time to visualize success. Even if you’re under a lot of stress, positive visualization can help you build hope.

This exercise should be fun, so let your creativity take the reins! You might visualize that family vacation you and your spouse have been dreaming about for years. Or maybe you see yourself on a night out with friends, celebrating all your hard work.

When we spend all our time just trying to keep it together, we often lose sight of our overarching goal: to thrive. Giving yourself permission to imagine a brighter future will help you build strength to attract and accept the positive things in your life.

Use Strength to Manage Feelings of Fear

We all experience fear and anxiety during dark periods. But what is fear, really? When you think about it, fear is nothing more than an emotional response to an event we imagine in the future.

We feel afraid of the unknown. Or we feel scared that we will fail.

In prehistoric times, fear helped teach our ancestors to stay away from scary predators like lions or bears. Fear can be a useful emotion when it protects us from actual harm.

But if the danger is only present in your imagination, fear can do more damage than good. When you feel afraid, question whether that fear is legitimate. Ask yourself: is this emotion helping me right now? If not, you know it’s time to take charge of your fear by building strength. You can manage your fear by giving your fear a shape in your mind and imagining the shape floating away. Or you might investigate the source of your fear in your journal.

The eight steps we’ve covered will help you plot a course to smoother waters. No matter where you are right now, remember that you are only there right now. Your present circumstances are temporary, and they will improve.

Remember, you are not alone! The struggle bus comes for everyone from time to time. Joining a supportive community can help make that ride more pleasant. When you visit Advocacy Circle, you arrive in a community of care. We are committed to helping everyone in our community get through life’s toughest seasons.



Lisa Ryan

Lisa Ryan

Lisa Ryan is a relationship expert based in Westport, CT.

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