Life is not always extraordinary.  Sometimes, things are downright terrible.

If something sucks right now, it’s okay.  It’s supposed to be hard when something sucks. 

If you are dealing with a personal crisis, a family issue, or a work-related problem the tendency is to feel disempowered and hopeless.

It becomes a problem when you think you’re not supposed to have challenging seasons in life.

Maybe, you avoid dealing with issues and push them under the rug.  Or, maybe you overindulge in worry, doubt, fear, and overwhelm.  However, tumultuous feelings are validated and can arise when navigating through difficult periods.

I am offering five key strategies for coping and finding peace amidst the chaos.

Five Helpful Ways to Handle Challenges

I want to teach you a process for what to do when something sucks.

1. Find Calm

When you’re in a fight or flight, your nervous system is overloaded, and you do not have the best thoughts.

First, you want to focus on taking deep abdominal breaths for one to two minutes. When you turn inward this brings you back to the present moment.

Also, you can focus on what’s around you.  Taking your focus away from spiraling thoughts in the head and observing your environment can help the nervous system.  You’ll be more focused and able to think better thoughts.

2. Take Care of Yourself

When things are hard, the first thing people do is stop eating and lose sleep. At night, they toss and turn and think about all their worries.

This is when you want to take extra care to do things that will help you. You want to eat nutritional food. You want to drink plenty of water, get rest and sleep. If you’ve had a rough night sleeping, take a nap.

These pillars of well-being are often the first to crumble under stress, yet they are the foundation upon which you can rebuild your strength.

Also, it is important to avoid watching negative news and drama during this time. Your brain is overactive and doesn’t need extra stimulation.

However, include daily movement by stretching, yoga, tai chi, or strolling around your neighborhood. Rather than staying inside your home, go outside and get some fresh air. This will do wonders for your emotions and help your immune system stay strong.

3. Focus on What You Can Control

Most importantly, you can’t control what other people say or do. And, you can’t control rude comments that your mother-in-law has said to you. Or, you can’t control a layoff. Your spouse comes home and says he’s been laid off.  You can’t control a leaking roof or pipe in your home and you certainly can’t control the weather.

Shift your attention away from what you can’t control and back to yourself.  You can control how you think, how you feel, and what you do.

That is going to feel the most empowering when something sucks.

When you think about whatever it is that sucks for you ask yourself how do I want to think about this? How do I want to feel about this?

4. Create a Solution

Sometimes, you don’t know all the steps to create a solution and believe there’s no step to take.

I want you to know there’s always a next best step.  And, you get to decide what that is.  If that step doesn’t create the desired results, you try another one. 

When you create solutions, you focus on what you can control, regardless of the challenge.

So, when something sucks, ask yourself what do you want to do next?

This gets you out of feeling stagnant and stuck in your past and out of spiraling worries in your head.

You are focused on your future.

5. Tap into Gratitude

It’s easy to feel sorry for yourself and have a victim mentality when you focus on the problems and the negative things in your life.

This is when you want to tap into things that are going well. Focus on the basic things that many people don’t have access to.

Be grateful you have plenty of clean water, a roof over your head, a comfortable bed, nutritious food, and clothing. Look at what’s going well in your life. Life isn’t all doomsday.

When we have a challenge, we’re only focused on that challenge. But there are so many other things that are going well and we need to be grateful for those things and appreciative. Remind yourself that this season of your life is temporary and not permanent. It’s okay to be frustrated, but at the same time, can we look for those things that bring us joy?

Challenges are Temporary

If you accept that this is how life is from time to time and you stop clinging to a dream of perfection, then your life will become simpler and lighter and you’ll be less stressed out and be able to constructively handle that bad day when it does show up on your doorstep. Maybe many bad days are hard, but know that it’s temporary.

While life’s storms are inevitable growth lies in waiting on the other side of adversity.  And, it is through resilience and the support of others that you can emerge stronger and more radiant than before.

Remember the tools shared, and may you find peace and strength to weather any storm.

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