Everyone experiences troubles in life. The worst you can do is to lose your head during such times. Not only will you depress yourself, but you will also fail to find the best solutions to your problems.
A study by Bentley University found that failing to stay strong in difficult times can have negative consequences on health. The study was done on people who had lost their jobs. Those who convinced themselves that they would never be hired again developed habits that ruined their lives.
Other studies have shown that by staying strong, one who has just been laid off finds another job in no time.
You have a lot of options on how to lighten up in difficult situations. It does not matter whether you have just been fired, are going through a breakup, or have lost a loved one. The tips below are guaranteed to lock your troubles away and offer you peace of mind and happiness.
1. Distract Yourself
The brain has trouble doing nothing.
When going through a breakup, for example, it will tend to use every free minute thinking about your ex. It will create images of how she or he was the perfect one. Images of how you were wrong and of how you will never find another good lover.
It’s only when you keep your mind from wandering that you can see that you are fantasizing too much. That you are wasting time thinking about things that will never happen. Things that will not solve the current situation.
There are always distractions, if you allow them.
You can use a simple solution to keep the brain from imagining the worst: distract it.
In a study published in the journal Current Biology, researchers measured the effect of how people perceive pain while being distracted. As a distraction, participants were given a problem to solve while being subjected to a pain. Another control group had the pain delivered without any distractions.
In the end, the group that was distracted claimed to have felt less pain than the group which was not distracted.
Distractions are many. And they are everywhere. You just have to seek them. For the best results, choose a distraction that is fun and unrelated to your problem; for example, if you always played video games with your lover, trying to distract yourself in that way is a horrible idea.
Here are some ways on how you can distract yourself:
● Read a book
● Go for a walk
● Work on a piece of art
● Listen to music
● Do a fun but productive task
● Seek some humor
Reading is by far one of the best forms of distraction.
A research by Mindlab International discovered that reading is by far one of the best ways to distract yourself. It has an effectiveness of 68%. Music comes second with 61%, coffee in third with 54%, and video games in fourth with 21%.
2. Look for the Silver Lining
When difficult times arrive, we tend to focus on the negatives they present to our lives. And this is a problem.
I once had a friend who ran a small business selling house building supplies. One day, while he was in bed at 3 AM, his phone rang. A terrified voice on the other end gave him the worst news he would never want to imagine - a fire had gutted down several businesses in the market including his.
To everyone’s amazement, the guy kept a cool attitude, claiming everything happens for a reason.
He reached out to friends and family for support. And in two months, he was back in business. Despite the business not being as huge as before, his positive attitude enabled him to go on.
The problem is that when you only focus on the negatives, you fail to see that you still have a chance of starting again. This friend of mine had a choice: keep complaining about his loss or get up and start over.
You should always choose the latter.
You must keep an optimistic lookout no matter what the situation. That’s because to every problem, there is always a way out.
This study by Concordia University found that optimists usually have low levels of the stress-causing hormone cortisol. As such, they have the ability to get through difficult situations with a sober mind.
Other studies have shown that being optimistic enables you to enjoy better health despite troubles.
Optimism is the madness of insisting that all is well when we are miserable.
So how can you find the silver lining during tough times?
Here are some tips to help:
● Make new goals and plans. This will give you a new road to take. And will help you use the opportunities that may be present in your problem.
● Imagine a new positive future. This study, for example, showed that imagining the future clearly can impact what you do today. If you see your future positively, you will likely be able to get through your problems easily. In addition, you will not do anything that may jeopardize that future. This may include excessive drinking, smoking, and being sedentary.
● Enjoy the present. Despite the trouble you are going through, try to have fun. This is a good way to discover new opportunities that may be present to you.
● And most of all, do not blame yourself too much. If you made a mistake, there is no way you can fix it now. If necessary, apologize for your mistakes and move on.
To every problem, there is always a way out.
3. Learn from Adversity – and Grow with It
Humans are inherently unwelcoming to change. We like to keep things the way they are. That’s because change is risky. It presents an unfamiliar situation.
If you dare say you are leaving your job today to seek greener pastures, you risk becoming unemployed forever. If you decide to leave your spouse now, you risk never finding another lover.
So you will hold on to what you have, fearing that if you try to reach for anything higher, you will drop what you are holding on to under your armpits.
Adversity does not give you the opportunity to make choices. You either get fired. Get divorced. Lose your business.
In a blink of an eye, you find yourself in the very situation you tried to avoid.
But adversity is probably the best thing to happen in our lives. It gives us a chance to change, albeit in a forced way. By losing the comfort we had been accustomed to, we start seeking how we can improve ourselves and our lives. We start asking questions on what we can do never to get fired again, never to get divorced again.
When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it.
And these questions lead to answers that make us better employees, better parents, better friends, and so on.
So instead of seeing your difficult situation as a bad omen, see it as a blessing. Calm your mind and try to find what went wrong. Ask yourself if there is something you could have done better.
However, it is important to be objective. If you made a mistake, concede it.
We like to keep things the way they are. That’s because change is risky.
4. Change Everything around You
Sometimes, your environment may contribute a great deal to how you feel. So if you can’t find a way to shake off the thing that is causing your trouble, changing your environment may help. This can help boost your mood, make you happy, and ensure that you seek better solutions to your problems.
In a study by Shawn Achor and Michelle Gielan, it was found that going on a stress-free vacation reduces your stress and gives you a new insight to your problems. The problem, however, is that most vacations are so full of stress that we return from them the same way we went.
If it is a bad boss giving you trouble, then talk to him; otherwise, find a new job where you will be happy. If your old house is reminding you of bad experiences, then get away from it.
The trick here is to identify the thing tormenting you and remove it from your life.
5. Realize that it is Not the End of the World
There are lots of skills and techniques you can use to lighten up during difficult times (you have seen for yourself in this article). But another important thing, and a heavily underrated one, is hope.
You must believe that things will get better.
The problem with us is that we like to expand our problems to bigger volumes than they really are. We see them as mountains that block our roads. And this bleeds nothing but despair into our brains. And as a result, our problems become worse.
Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness.
Hope brings lots of benefits, especially in difficult times. According to a study by Jennifer Cheavens and Laura Dreer, hope was found to heal depression. And this can go a long way in making you happy and healthy while you go through your troubles.
One simple way of keeping hope is by thinking about how bad things could have been.
In addition, you can try looking around yourself. You can find others in even worse predicaments than you are.
In the book called Making Hope Happen, Shane J. Lopez says that to cultivate a belief of hope, you need to believe in the following things:
● The future will get better than the present situation.
● That you have the power to create the future you dream of.
● That you have many options on how you can reach your goals.
● And that you will face obstacles on your way to reaching your goals.
A simple way of keeping hope is by thinking about how bad things could have been.
Just like a tree, you should always expect storms to shake up your life. But all storms come and go. What matters is how you hold yourself together so that when calmness returns, you carry on with your life.
This article showed you some of the techniques you can use to lighten up during difficult times. And I am sure you found it helpful.
Has a certain situation been tormenting you lately? What have you done to keep yourself strong?