5 Powerful Methods To Overcome Life's Challenges
What do you do when you face a situation that challenges your emotions? It’s easy to get stuck in a rut over it. You might be tempted to just ignore the issue and hope it magically resolves, in your life and in your head, all on its own. You might develop a negative mindset about it, blame others, or start building anger and resentment.
These examples are unhealthy coping mechanisms that are easy to automatically turn to when you’re faced with difficult or hurtful dilemmas. However, wishing it away or getting angry won’t help you get to a resolution - not a positive resolution anyway.
So if your negative default settings won’t help, then what can you do to move through life’s tough times in a more positive way that actually helps you grow through the process?
You need to reframe life’s challenges! You are in control of how you think and the lens you view the world through. There is opportunity in every challenge if you make a conscious decision to look for it and embrace it. Resisting only leads to more chaos and an unsettled mind.
Let’s look at 5 ways you can reframe life’s challenges for a more positive outcome!
This might seem obvious, but it has to be the first step. You have to stop the momentum of your resistance. One of my favorite quotes that inspires me to accept over resist is:
in acceptance lies peace - Amy Carmichael
I tell myself this constantly. It’s on a repetitive loop in my head because it’s so true! There’s a sweet freedom that comes from letting go - a gentle peace that can’t be stolen from you. You must accept things as they are in order to move forward.
So, look your challenge in the face for what it is and accept it. This is simple in theory, but it’s not easy to truly execute. However, the more you do it, the easier it will become. Once you are familiar with the peace that acceptance brings, you will be more motivated to achieve this step for the end goal.
Once you have accepted the challenge, it’s time to examine it more deeply. Ask yourself if there are any parts of the situation that you can be grateful for. I know this might sound counter-intuitive, but trust me on this - if you look hard enough there is always something to be grateful for.
It’s hard to see the good in the troubles, but that is what makes it so powerful! Studies have concluded that gratitude can measurably change your life by helping you effectively cope, recover from illness faster, and enjoy better overall physical health. Who doesn’t want all that?!
It might help to start a gratitude journal and incorporate it into your routine. At first you might only be able to list one thing, but don’t get discouraged. It will come easier with time and practice. Gratitude journals are a great self reflection tool. I love to look back at mine and reflect on how I’ve grown over time.
So see the rainbow through the rain! Being grateful changes your perspective and is definitely a key part of reframing life’s challenges.
Stop Playing the Victim
This one might be hard to hear and it’s a little tough love, but...Stop playing the victim! It doesn’t get you anywhere and honestly, after a while everyone is tired of hearing about it.
Life can be a bitch! And everyone is on a level playing field when it comes to getting thrown life’s curve balls in some form. Instead of whining all day long about it, be empowered to take control of your mind set.
A trick I use to help with this is to say and write positive affirmations. A positive affirmation is a specific statement you tell yourself to foster a positive mindset about life or a particular situation. One affirmation I often use is “I am a strong woman who sees a problem and finds a solution”. If you have trouble creating your own statements, there are numerous websites that offer lists you can use. (Click here for a free list of our favorites). There is no need to reinvent the wheel.
Bottom line, put on your big girl panties and stop insisting that everyone around you listen to your complaints everyday. Your change in mindset might even inspire someone else to change how they handle challenges.
Forgiveness - a nasty “F” word that people don’t like to hear. But forgiveness is beneficial for you. It helps you grow, heal, and releases you from toxic connections. For this step, you need to evaluate if forgiveness is necessary regarding your challenge. This includes forgiving others as well as forgiving yourself.
If you are carrying guilt or shame from choices you have made or things you have said, it’s time to forgive yourself. Allow yourself to feel emotions for this step. Feel it and then let it go. The past is in the past and continuing to hold onto it won’t change it. Everything you have experienced has made you who you are today. So, cut yourself some slack and practice self love. You are worthy of your own forgiveness.
Forgiving others isn’t easy, especially if you feel justified in holding onto resentments. But, if you insist on holding onto it your mind set and your physical health will be negatively impacted. When you do this, you are also giving over control of your happiness to that person.
Forgiveness is freeing and it’s also the best revenge. Move on and be happy!
You assign meaning to things in your life. This is true of physical objects, relationships, and circumstances. So, take some time to think about what this difficult circumstance means to you and then ask yourself if you are assigning appropriate meaning.
Is it possible you are over exaggerating the importance of this in your life? Are you blowing it out of proportion? This isn’t always the case, but it’s worth exploring. For this step to be effective you have to be willing to be brutally honest with yourself.
Once you’ve assessed the importance of the situation, you will then need to update the meaning you are assigning it in your thought life. Write down a bulleted list of facts about the challenge leaving emotional descriptions out - just facts. Looking at circumstances separate from our emotions is a good way to analyze what is really happening. Breaking the problem down into smaller parts also helps it seem more manageable. Review each bullet and apply all the previous steps to create new meaning for each part of the problem.
This might seem like a lot of work, but this is where the personal growth happens. Changing your thinking changes your outcomes. So, next time life gives you a challenge, embrace the opportunity.