Have you noticed that difficulties in life come in gangs to attack you when you’re least prepared for them?
The effect is like being forced to endure an unrelenting nuclear attack.
Overcoming obstacles in life is hard. But life is full of personal challenges and we have to summon the courage to face them.
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But you may be enduring the onslaught of multiple difficulties in life – maybe you are stressed out after being retrenched, your relationship with your teen is terrible, your best friend is dating your ex, you’re behind with your bills…..
Consider this YouTube video which gives a different view of facing challenges in life:
So while we may rant and rail against the personal difficulties in life you face, they serve a vital purpose.
INSPIRATION TO OVERCOME DIFFICULTIES IN LIFE
If you’re feeling that life is so unfair for dealing you so many challenges, just know that you are not alone.
Watch this YouTube video of famous people who faced overwhelming odds in their lives.
Their strength of character led to them overcoming obstacles and becoming household names to us all.
So if you’re facing a Mount Everest in your life, there’s hope for you to come out beaten and bruised but definitely a whole lot wiser.
But, let’s take a minute to think about dealing with personal problems in real life.
Types of obstacles to overcome
Did you know that the challenges in life can be sorted and categorized?
This post enlightened me on the types of obstacles you face in life:
• External – obstacles you have no control over like the economy, or natural disasters
• Internal – once-off obstacles that you can solve like improving your skillset necessary for a job, having debts to pay off
• Habitual – obstacles caused by your own mindset. This can only be changed by developing new habits and is the most difficult of all obstacles.
So, the first step to overcoming obstacles is to find out if yours is an external, internal or a habitual obstacle.
Then you can map out a path to solve your crisis. Some may be relatively easy like getting a bank loan to pay an unpaid bill.
But often a great deal of introspection and self-improvement is needed to change the mindset that creates recurring problems.
Check out these awesome books to help you come to grips with the challenges in your life:
- Take Control of Your Life: Rescue Yourself and Live the Life You Deserve by J. Paul Nadeau
- The Obstacle Is the Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Trials into Triump by Ryan Holiday and Tim Ferris
I have a simple mini journal to help you come to terms with the challenges in your life. Just click the graphic to get instant access to it.
Examples of traumatic difficulties in life
These are life-changing traumatic events that mould and shape you into a better human being.
– Death of a loved one
– End of a relationship
– Diagnosis of an illness
– Substance abuse
– Modern lifestyle addictions
– Loss of a job and unemployment
– Family issues
So how do you get up again when difficulties in life have floored you with a power-packed punch?
10 helpful tips to cope with difficulties in life
Here are 10 smart tips to help you to overcome your obstacles head-on.
1.THE STOP TECHNIQUE
This post outlines the STOP method:
STOP stands for Stop – Take a step back, Observe, and Proceed mindfully.
So STOP means distancing yourself from the problem, calmly observing your reaction to the issues at hand and then mapping out a plan to deal with the challenge.
This can be done by setting meaningful and realistic goals as part of the problem-solving process.
It is vital to accept that difficulties in life cannot be avoided. But it’s worth noting that acceptance results in understanding and often brings new opportunities.
Let me show you what I mean.
I have lived with an autoimmune illness for 20 years. But in 2017, I was forced to quit my job as a high school English teacher due to a medical crisis.
I simply had to accept this or risk massive life-threatening health complications.
But, acceptance opened me up to the idea of earning a living online while working from home.
And so my blog was born.
To use the job loss example again, perhaps you did not have an emergency fund equivalent to 3 months salary as the financial experts advise.
You now make positive changes like drawing up a budget and making your emergency fund a priority.
You may even resolve to take on some part-time work just to build up this fund.
3.TAKE TIME TO COME TO A SOLUTION
Master your emotions.
It’s common for people to ask in times of crisis:
• Why me?
• I go out of my way to show love and kindness to others. So why is God punishing me?
What you need to do is accept that you are facing challenges. Then try to be objective about it.
Problem-solving is a process. Take the time to research the options open to you. Rushing the process may result in unsound decisions.
To go back to the earlier example of being retrenched, you may choose to accept a position where the monthly paycheck is decent but the long term benefits are not good.
Bear this quote in mind when times are bleak and tough:
Every problem has a gift for you in its hands.
4. SEEK COMFORT IN NATURE
Research proves that spending time in nature helps to heal the toughest of problems.
Break the worry and stress cycle by seeking refuge outdoors. Take a walk along the beach or visit a local park.
Allow the eternal beauty of nature to calm and soothe you in your distress. Take stock of your home and find creative ways to bring nature in.
Maybe a tiny herb garden in the kitchen, a vase of yellow roses in your living room, framed pictures of soothing scenes and pot plants.
Choose great nature photos and set them as wallpapers and screen savers on your mobiles and computers.
Nature invites quiet and stillness. That is sufficient to calm your anxious mind so you can better overcome the obstacles you’re facing.
What do Katy Perry, Madonna and Hugh Jackman have in common?
They all meditate.
Why? Perhaps this quote sums it up best:
Meditation can help us embrace our worries, our fears, our anger; and that is very healing. We let our own natural capacity of healing do the work.
Thich Nhat Hanh
Kendra Cherry states in What You Should Know About Meditation:
‘Meditation can be defined as a set of techniques that are intended to encourage a heightened state of awareness and focused attention.’
Why should you meditate when your whole world has been wrecked?
- To quiet the mind
- To calm your mind and body
This enables you to better deal with the issues you are facing in life.
You see the matter in the context of everything else rather than allowing it to govern all else.
Here’s a YouTube video I handpicked to get you started with meditation.
Other resources to help you are:
6. WRITE IT DOWN
Try a smart journal like one of these to come to terms with your difficulties in life.
Journaling is a powerful self-care tool which you would be wise to embrace.
It is a soothing activity that allows you to pour your heart out.
Sometimes, like in the case of the death of a loved one, we may be too distraught to share with your closest family or friends
According to Elizabeth Scott in The Benefits of Journaling for Stress Management journaling allows you to:
clarify your thoughts and feelings, thereby gaining valuable self-knowledge
It’s also a good problem-solving tool; oftentimes, one can hash out a problem and come up with solutions more easily on paper.
At first, it is likely and understandable that you will just brain dump all your feelings about your crisis.
But, the more you journal, the more the desire to solve the problem grows.
When you get to this point, you need to be more strategic with your journaling:
– Describe the problem.
– List the immediate consequences of the problem.
– Note your feelings about the problem.
If, for instance, the problem is the loss of a job, your notes may be:
1. Immediate loss of your job due to the company closing.
2. Not enough money to pay your bills
3. Frustration, hurt, anger – you loved your job, you were good at it, you were due to be promoted.
Journaling encourages introspection and self-improvement. Read my personal experience here.
So, in essence, journaling helps you to become a better person.
When you’re facing difficulties in life, it’s important to take care of your mental health.
Take a creative class like photography, pottery or fabric painting to release the stress of dealing with your crisis.
This allows you to free your mind from your hardship for a while. Your focus and attention are needed to create something beautiful from scratch.
The process is a soothing activity and shifts your mind from churning over the problems of your life.
The surprising benefit is often a clear plan to deal with your problem constructively.
8. LISTEN TO MUSIC
Embrace the healing power of music.
In How Does Music Heal, Dr Candace Pert says:
‘Beautiful music can inspire, calm, and uplift us as it connects
us to the innermost nature of our being. Surrendering to music
may be the ultimate meditation.’
Listen to music to soothe you as you come to terms with your personal challenge.
Check out this video of FIGHT SONG by Rachel Platten
A good idea is to compile your own playlist to boost your mood when you’re down.
The last thing you want to do in the midst of a life-changing crisis is volunteer.
But, this is a powerful tool to help you see your difficulty in the context of those experienced by others.
Helping at a soup kitchen or reading to the elderly at a local home for the aged impacts the lives of the less fortunate.
It forces you to be grateful for all that you have. Being homeless, for example, is dire compared to the end of a relationship due to deceit.
Volunteering allows you to get away from the personal challenge for a while.
When you revisit it, you may find that volunteering has given you a different perspective. A better and more constructive solution may result.
10. SEEK HELP AND SUPPORT
• Find help if you feel the problem is too overwhelming:
• Confide in a trusted friend or family member
• Try counseling
• Join a support group
• Start your own support group
• Turn to family and friends
Let’s recap. When you are facing your Mount Everest, try these 10 tips to help you cope with it:
1. Try the STOP method
2. Practice Acceptance
3. Take time to think deeply about the solution
4. Seek comfort in nature
6. Journal about the challenge
7. Find solace in your own playlist
9. Find a creative outlet
10. Get help
This quotation sums up why we all experience Mount Everests in our lives.
Difficulties strengthen the mind, as labour does the body.Lucius Annaeus Seneca
Do you have any tips about tackling difficulties in life?
Share your story in the comments below.