“No Life is a bed of roses” is a familiar saying; it’s well-known because it’s true – nobody’s life will go smoothly 100% of the time, and we all have to cope with the rough stuff when it happens. Those of us with inner strength deal with the bad situations without breaking most of the time; however, for those without inner reserves, or when those reserves are tapped out, we all find we need help, at some point, in dealing with our stress.
Here are a few tips you can follow when life is overwhelming and you are at your wit’s end in dealing with it all.
It may sound somewhat trite, but mindset is everything. When you are dealing with difficult situations, it’s important to stay focused on the positive aspects of your life; if you allow yourself to succumb to negative thoughts, depression is right around the corner, and it will add to your burdens significantly. You don’t have to be a Pollyanna all the time, but looking for the good in life when you’re struggling will help you through the strife, and you’ll grow from the effort.
Take Care of Yourself
It’s impossible to take care of life’s problems when you don’t take care of yourself; you need to eat well, exercise if you can, and find ways to commune with the universe – long walks, visiting the beach or using a surf sounds CD to bring the beach to you, caring for and playing with a pet, volunteering in your community – any activity that lets you unwind and restores some peace to your inner self. You cannot care for others if you don’t take time to care for you.
Don’t Rely on Potentially Harmful Substances to Help You Through
In our frenetic society, we tend to focus on instant gratification; when, inevitably, we don’t get what we want instantly, we experience negativity, and we tend to deal with negative emotions by using drugs – legal or recreational – to help us cope. We also tend to use drugs to help us cope with grueling work schedules, sleepless nights spent in caregiving, and long hours of travel, among other things.
“Drugs, including alcohol, are a crutch, and most of the drugs we use to cope with negativity don’t work, leaving us worse off than we were before we used them.” Says Michael Dadashi, CEO of Infinite Recovery, a San Antonio drug rehab center.
Drugs used to keep us awake to cope with long hours do work in the short term, but we’re destroying our health in the process. “Mother’s little helper” is not what we need, and using drugs leads to dependency and addiction, and just adds to our burdens in the long run.
Regardless of your personal religious beliefs, it’s important to have faith – faith in yourself, faith in the world, and faith in a higher power. As Albert Einstein said, “That deep emotional conviction of the presence of a superior reasoning power, which is revealed in the incomprehensible universe, forms my idea of God.” – meaning one of the greatest scientific minds of the 20th century believed in a higher power than mankind.
Strong faith will carry you through the most difficult times of your life, and support you when you’re at your lowest point; it gives you the strength to deal with the bad times and still have a smile on your face. You don’t have to follow an established religion to have faith, and you don’t have to believe in an established religion’s deity either; according to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., “Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.” You just have to believe.
We live in the great Age of Victimhood. Believing yourself to be a victim is one of the best ways to stay in the downside of life. No one else is responsible for your successes or your failures – you are. Accepting the responsibility of your own life is how you move forward from failures and have more successes; blaming others for what’s wrong in your life gets you nowhere in a hurry. Winston Churchill stated “The price of greatness is responsibility”; Eleanor Roosevelt said, “In the long run, we shape our lives, and we shape ourselves. The process never ends until we die. And the choices we make are ultimately our own responsibility.” We have to accept the responsibility for our actions, our thoughts, and our lives if we expect to survive the bad times.
When life is hitting you in the teeth, it’s really difficult to keep smiling. When you focus on what you don’t have instead of what you do, or you focus on what’s wrong and you forget about all the things going right, you’re setting yourself up for the negativity to take over. How do you fix it? Be thankful – be thankful for what you have, and for all the good things in your life. According to actress and singer Doris Day, “Gratitude is riches. Complaint is poverty.” Being thankful for your blessings gives you something to smile about when times are tough.
Coping with the bad times is hard; you can make it easier on yourself by staying positive, taking care of your physical, mental, and spiritual self, avoiding the pitfalls of drugs and alcohol, keeping the Faith, accepting responsibility for your life, and being thankful for the good things in your life. If you can weather the downsides, the upsides will be that much better,