How to survive adversity when life sucks, is the million dollar question?
It is impossible to avoid adversity, for to live is to know adversity. Even the advent of being born is a traumatic and adverse event, so why do we think life itself should be any different? Adversity plays a major role in shaping who you are, so it is vital you understand and adopt survival keys. Hard times are learning opportunities that help us grow into better people, who can become an inspiration to others.
Never Give Up
It takes a lot of courage and resilience, but never give up. Making excuses for your circumstances, or playing the blame game, is a sure recipe for failure, so it is vital we learn to be overcomers.
Yesterday is gone, tomorrow may never come, so make the best of NOW and never lose the dream of being whole, body, soul and spirit. Getting stuck in the past is also a very unique trap, that reaches out like tentacles of a thorn bush. Don’t let negative emotions or disabilities define who you are.
Change Your State of Mind
Your thoughts define you in what many see as self-fulfilling prophecy. If you expect only disappointment and failure, then that is what you will experience. Take baby steps by changing your state of mind away from negativity. Look at a half full glass of water and decide if it is half full or half empty?
There are many small things you can do that will improve the way you view the world. Take up gardening, do a jigsaw puzzle, or anything that will allow the ‘worry’ part of your mind to take a much-needed break.
If you worry about something, past, present or future, it will become larger than life. It will drown out every voice of hope until the worry is the only thing screaming in your mind. Who hasn’t lain wide awake at night, rambling the endless maze of what if……? That is the time to put the brakes on, get up and have a cup of tea, read a book, or turn the television on.
Change your thought pattern and violently discard the mind set of self-pity. Looking backwards all the time, or filling your head with dreams of the impossible is not positive. Work out what can be changed and what can’t be changed, then have the discipline to change what you can.
Don’t Play the Blame Game if you want to Survive Adversity
We can all find ways to blame ourselves or blame others. That is a no exit road and a sure way to failure. Life is what it is, by whatever road you took to arrive at where you are. Don’t allow disappointment to rule you, as we all fail one way or another. Do a checklist of the things that are holding you captive in the world of negativity, even if that requires writing it all down.
Find small ways to improve your life and not succumb to the Black Dog of depression. It takes discipline to stop the mind meandering down the road of negativity.
Let Go Unrealistic Expectations
Expectations are an important part of life, but when they are unrealistic, they are a killer. Things seldom work out as planned and life is always full of the unexpected. You can’t control everything, and setbacks happen.
A necessity for how to survive adversity, is to accept that change is necessary. Holding onto false hopes and false dreams is a road to disaster, right alongside a negative attitude. Today has to be dealt with, which demands a balance between reality and the dreams and hopes of the future, putting aside past failures and mistakes.
Take Small Steps as you Learn how to Survive Adversity
The keys to surviving adversity are simple to talk about, but a lot harder to put into practice. Yet, you need to keep changing one small thing at a time. The old saying is: “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” Anything that leads to success takes time and one patient step at a time. Each small step is a celebration and part of the overcoming process. Great success does not come all at once, but by one small step at a time.
Edison did not suddenly wake up one day with a successful light bulb, but after many failed experiments. Others too were working on the theory of electricity, and it was just a race to see who would succeed first. We all operate on the shoulders of those around us and we need to learn from the experience of others.
Value your Sense of Humour
All of us have an inbuilt sense of humour, no matter how small it may be. It is necessary to pull back and look at the ridiculousness of the situation, for there is healing in laughter.
A husband may be abusing a wife. First, you need to recognize the symptoms, then get alone and visualize the situation as if it were a sitcom on the television. The husband’s behaviour is totally stupid, so imagine picking up a bag of flour and dropping it on his head. The situation may not improve, but the person being abused will see it in a different light and will find ways to deal with it differently.
The major problem is that most of us are like the proverbial frog, sitting in the pot of water. The heat is turned on and the frog just sits there, even though it is capable of jumping out of the pot. Seeing how ridiculous the situation is, may just be the time to reach out for the desperately needed professional help.
When you laugh, it literally changes the brain activity. The stress-triggering hormones in the body are calmed, boosting the effectiveness in the immune system. The body creates gamma waves that aid in the natural healing process. This leads to better mental health, long-term fitness, and positivity.
A friend was talking to me about how she had placed a valuable ring somewhere safe and couldn’t remember where she had put it. For some crazy reason, I saw the funny side to it, a gift I inherited from my maternal grandmother. Eventually, the pair of us were in the throws of a huge laughter session. She admitted she felt a lot better after it, but still can’t remember where the ring is hidden. There is a unique value to laughter.
Be Careful of your Self-Judgement
You are always your own worst judge. In your head you tell yourself you should have done things better. Life is full of ‘If only…..’. We all have bucket loads of them, but hindsight has twenty-twenty vision and we all make mistakes.
It’s not what you did, or did not do yesterday, it is what you are doing with today. We would all do things differently if we could relive our life. The thing is, you are what you are, made up of hundreds of different decisions you made. You operated to the best of your ability and understanding at the time and that is that.
“Comparisons are odious,” is also a well-known phrase. Put it into practice and do not compare yourself with others. We are all individuals and each of us will face adversity in our own peculiar way. What works for one, may not work for another.
Also, run a checklist on who you associate with. You need to be among others who have the same determination to survive adversity as you do. Negativity only breeds negativity and it is all too easy to slip into a mind set that is always complaining.
Retain Faith and Hope
There is always hope for each morning is a new day. The fact you are even reading this article shows that you are searching for answers and ways to survive adversity. Or it may be, this is a time of reflection on how you survived. Laugh at the stupidity of things you did and retain your hope of a better tomorrow.
Always keep hope and faith that you will survive this particular adversity, which includes the many forms of grief. If you learn from your adversity, you will come out the other side a wiser and better person. Your determination is your most important and effective tool of how you survive adversity. Life might kick you in the guts, but you have an indomitable will inside you that is determined to survive.
Let Each Success Energize You
No matter how big or small, celebrate your accomplishments. This will help you establish your sense of empowerment and self-confidence. Set yourself small goals and let every success replenish your energy reserves. You may not be able to totally control a situation, but you can control the small steps you take. Be an activator, not just a reactor, for victory comes to those who learn from adversity.
I have buried two husbands and a teenage daughter, faced cancer, and known abusive relationships. Through it all, I have survived. That does not make me a martyr, or a hero, just a woman determined to keep walking, one day at a time. You too, can survive and come out healthy, and sane, with loads of empathy for others.
Our major goal in Whispering Encouragement is to inspire women to reach out beyond their circumstances and to dig deep inside themselves to find those extra reservoirs of strength. Overcoming and surviving adversity is difficult but it has the power to transform who you will become.
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________________________Whispering Encouragement_______________________ Wendy is an inspirational writer, for which she has a strong passion. She is also very passionate about her garden and family. She says life is too short to waste, so live life to the fullest.