Handling Adversity: You’re Stronger Than You Think

May 13, 2011 | Topics: , , , , | READ 0 COMMENTS & JOIN THE DISCUSSION

Catastrophic events like the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, the earthquake in New Zealand, the cyclone and floods in Queensland, NSW and Victoria as well as the Western Australian bushfires can knock us to our knees. But personal adversities can pack an equally powerful punch. Our partner is diagnosed with cancer, our child has a mental breakdown, or we lose our home or job. Often these events seem to come out of nowhere and feel completely unmanageable as we struggle to regain our footing and any semblance of “normal.”

But, like great trees, humans can grow stronger when exposed to powerful winds. That is easy to say, we may think, as we recall those who did not grow stronger but instead broke in the wind. How do we increase our inner strength and flexibility so that we not only survive the adversity but thrive? Here are several strategies that can help.

Take responsibilityHandling Adversity

Look at your role in the situation. Was the event, in fact,predictable? You may have had more control over the situation than you realized. At the same time, don’t take more responsibility than is warranted. If your daughter develops a brain tumor it’s not because you did something wrong. Be honest, but don’t point fingers, not even at yourself.

Be optimistic and think creatively. Trust that there’s a solution to every problem and let your mind soar. Approach the problem from new and different directions. Perhaps rather than losing your home, you could find a housemate whose rent would make the difference between paying the mortgage or not.

Have courage and speak up. Courage is taking action despite the fear you feel. If someone isn’t taking you seriously, speak up. Be your own advocate. Tell that person what you want and need. Don’t assume he or she “should know.” No matter how close you feel you are to someone, their feelings and thoughts are filtered through their own experiences. Therefore, respectful communication is the key.

Take action. Handling the day to day details can keep you from getting bogged down in the mud of adversity. Determine what can be done, and do it. However, down you may be just doing the smallest thing will help to lift your spirit and provide you with hope in your darkest hours.

Take the long view. Recount other times when you have overcome challenges. How did you do it? Who or what helped you? Who or what can help you this time? Life is a series of challenges. Your response to these challenges is determined by how quickly you are able to change the way you think about them.

Maintain a sense of humor. There’s truth in the adage: “Laughter is the best medicine.” Even in the darkest of times, laughter can help ease the pain.

Get support. No one can handle everything alone. When you get that overwhelmed feeling—or even before—reach out. Ask for help. Next time, ask for it sooner. You’ll be amazed by how much better you feel.

Don’t quit. Persistence may be the greatest human quality that helps us overcome adversity. Draw inspiration from the great heroes of the world—Nelson Mandela, Mother Teresa, Mahatma Gandhi—people who persisted despite the odds. Remember, you are your own best ally. And you’re stronger and more resilient than you thought.

Rosie Coppin, the Energizer Coach, helps people who want to make changes to their life – whatever they define it to be. Thinking about making a change but not sure how to start? Contact Positive Goals & Solutions today for an exploration of what’s possible for you. Mobile 0414 511 455

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