Unfortunately, life has a way of kicking you in the teeth sometimes. And occasionally it will kick you when you’re down, too. I should know, it’s been kicking me repeatedly for years! So how do you cope when life is tough?
Here are my tips for coping when life is difficult.
1)Focus on the small joys: Finding joy when there’s so much to deal with is very possible! BUT, it’s critical to focus on small things rather than the big stuff. You may not be able to change your situation, or overhaul your life, but hopefully you can control some things. What I mean by the small things are the things you enjoy doing when you’re not dealing with crap. Are you a movie buff? Do you like to hike? Enjoy chatting with friends? For me, one of the things I derive the most joy from is writing. I love to write everything from creative fiction to serious journalistic pieces. If I could have ten extra hours in a day, I’d probably spend most of them writing. Doing this fills me with a sense of peace and accomplishment. So in the midst of difficulties I can’t do much about, I CAN do this!
Another thing I derive joy from is distraction. I don’t want to sit around thinking about crappy, unhappy events, so I do things that take me away from it. I enjoy doing things like watching funny movies and TV shows or reading books. I also love to get together with my friends. I don’t have too much time to do it anymore, but when I can, I love to hang out with them. It’s a bright spot in my world. So I encourage you to find your bright spot and enjoy it!
2)Try to find a lesson or some good in your difficulty and use it: You know the saying about finding a silver lining in tough times? While this is good, I think it’s incomplete. The saying suggests that you should look for a little something good in something bad that happens. But it fails to tell you that not only can you find something good, but you can use it to further good and learn from it. Good comes out of everything in life, we just need to find it and harness it for use in our future. Maybe the positivity is the lesson you learn; a lesson you might be able to use to help others. Or maybe the bad situation redirects you to something better that you might not have seen otherwise; like a map you can use to get where you’re going. The positive can be many things, but whatever it is, look for the good, too!
3)Don’t focus on your difficulty: I can’t stress how important this is when life gets tough. It’s hard not to focus on the challenges sometimes because they’re just so prominent. Focus instead on other things that are positive. Re-direct your thoughts and energy on good things and life will feel lighter.
4) Prayer: God can go where you can’t and can take care of things that are too much for you to bear. He can also help you when you’re not strong enough to get yourself over the humps in life. Prayer can make a huge impact on your life, so don’t underestimate the power of it!
Now, I know there aren’t many suggestions here, and that’s ok. Sometimes there aren’t too many options in difficult situations, either. And none of these suggestions are guaranteed to change your circumstances, but they will make a difference in your life and in YOU. And when there’s a difference inside of you, things get better-even in tough situations! Sometimes the little things in life are the ones that make us joyful; and taking those little things together is what makes life better. Life may not be good right now, but it can be better. Focusing on what you CAN do in a difficult situation will help hold you over until the hard stuff passes- and it will. Just hang in there!
How do you cope when life is difficult?