How to Deal With Tough Times

Life can be difficult. From personal tragedies like loss of a loved one or the end of a relationship to career and financial setbacks, sometimes it can seem like more than we can take. Here is a guide to getting through tough times and coming out stronger on the other side.

Accept and Process

The first key step is to accept and process what you are going through. When times get tough there can be a temptation to run from the pain including in self-defeating and unhealthy behaviors. Instead of this do your best to start by accepting the pain and letting it process through you. This could mean having to take some time off work, talk to a therapist or even be in settings that allow you to be in touch with yourself like alone in your room or out alone in nature. Face your emotions and sadness or anger and feel it fully. Don’t deny or run from it. It is not about indulging in negative emotions or experiences, but simply about acknowledging that you feel the way you do and experiencing it instead of trying to repress it or run away.¹

The Big Picture

We’re all on this amazing and sometimes overwhelming journey of life together and when hard times hit it can be a chance to turn to spirituality, faith and philosophy. People have a variety of religious and spiritual paths and experiences but whatever the truth and the meaning behind life is for you, use this time of suffering and mental, emotional or physical injury to turn to the sacred and look at the big picture. This could mean going to church or mosque, talking with a religious or spiritual friend, reading sacred texts, listening to worshipful or deep music or even just getting out in the great outdoors and experiencing the divine through the whispering wind through the pines.²

Make Positive Changes If You Can

Depending on the situation or difficulty you are dealing with, sometimes a change can do you good. As long as you have fully accepted the pain you are going through you can look at whether there are practical or more subtle changes you can make to move through this time. If you have had a devastating divorce it may be worth looking at moving into a new home or city. If you’ve lost your job maybe it is worth looking at retraining for a new career or even starting your own business. If you’ve had a life-threatening health situation maybe going on an intense diet or joining a new fitness program could be a change that will smooth your transition back into an active life. Often what seems out of reach can become a reality if we work hard and take action. Sometimes your tough times can be rocket fuel for beneficial life changes.³

You Find Out Who Your Friends Are

One of the parts of going through difficult times that can end up making you stronger is finding out who sticks by you and who fades away. Those who will be by your side during the worst times deserve you at your best times. The bad times when you feel like you can’t get out of bed or face another day can be a chance to find a deep reserve of strength and courage inside yourself that you didn’t know existed and can be a chance to realize just how much friends and loved ones care about you. At the end of the day that is an amazing thing to think about and feel in your heart.⁴

Be Kind To Yourself

Regardless of what kind of challenge you are going through – even if you believe it is partly your fault – be kind to yourself. Nobody is perfect and everybody has times of deep despair and trauma. You need to become your own best advocate and look after your mental and physical health during times of distress. The self-care habits and healthy behaviors you learn will see you emerge from this period of darkness with new ways of approaching life that are more effective, fulfilling and meaningful.²