Difficulties in life cause you to isolate yourself like this woman sitting alone and watching the sunrise

10 Powerful tips to deal with difficulties in life (Updated 2020)

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 shows you why you need to face your challenges in life:

So while we may rant and rail against the personal difficulties in life you face, they serve a vital purpose.


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:

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.

Mini journal

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.


One of the best ways to handle difficulties in life is to use the STOP technique commonly used in Dialectical Behavior Therapy.

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.

Spend time alone to learn to accept your difficulties
Photo by Zaini Zain on Reshot


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 pay check 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.
Richard Bach


Find refuge 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:

The One Minute Stress Relief Meditation for Beginners

5 Of The Best Free Meditation Apps To Help You De-Stress And Sleep


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.

 woman looking down and arms crossed over her chest

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.


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.

FIGHT SONG is a classic example of how music can help you overcome personal challenges. Sung by by Rachel Platten, she explains:

Fight Song‘ was inspired by a lot of experiences that were hurting me and that were making me feel like maybe I didn’t have a chance in this industry. I wrote it because I needed to remind myself that I believed in myself

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.


•  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

How to deal positively with difficulties in life

Try these 10 tips to help you cope with with tough times in life:

1.   Try the STOP method
Practice Acceptance
Take time to think deeply about the solution
4.   Seek comfort in nature

5.   Meditate
6.   Journal about the challenge 
7.   Find solace in your own playlist
8.   Volunteer
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.

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56 thoughts on “10 Powerful tips to deal with difficulties in life (Updated 2020)”

  1. Pingback: 5 Simple and Effective Ways to Overcome Challenges - Universal Stories

  2. These are all awesome tips. I have found many of the activities really helpful. I love that you have shared the different types of obstacles. I especially like journaling as it is great for working through self-thoughts to internal obstacles and providing clarity on external and habitual obstacles.

  3. I love that you not only talk about how to deal with difficulties in life but also the different types of difficulties like internal versus external. I think defining the difficulty is an important part of the process. Great tips! My favorites are listening to music, write it down, and the STOP technique. Thanks for the awesome tips!

    1. It’s important to understand that sometimes we experience external difficulties like the one the whole world is dealing with right now. I find journaling a great way to deal with any challenge in life.

  4. Life happens. It’s 10% how life is and 90% how we deal with it. Very insightful article! I wrote something similar about how to deal with depression on my blog that might be helpful too.

  5. This is a great article. I have had many situations in my life when taking a long walk to a beach or through park helped get me through many difficult situations. Clearing my head to focus on what really mattered.

  6. I love this great post and I will say we all face one challenge or another in our life’ Journey. I love meditating and journaling as this has helped me in the past. Thank you for sharing more with us . I love your blog as I am all about self-development.

  7. I have been through a bad phase in life where I was broken. Luckily I got into hiking where I found peace and comfort in nature. Listening to music, meditation and acceptance are the keys that worked for me.

  8. This is wonderful advice. I faced two really big challenges in my life during my early twenties. I turned to alternative methods to numb what I was feeling & it ultimately made the situations worse & more painful. It’s so important to take care of yourself during trying times. I think acceptance is huge. You are completely able to feel whatever emotions you may be feeling, but you cannot let that pain or suffering define you! Great post! xo

    -Madi | http://www.everydaywithmadirae.com

  9. Writing things down has been huge for me. There is something therapeutic about getting all my thoughts and frustrations out on paper and then being able to shred it later if need be.

  10. This is a great list, I battled infertility during my thirties which was very difficult. I have not ever spoken about it publicly. I thinking about writing on the topic, but I feel like I might get some back lash for my choices of not “forcing the envelope” and choosing to accept my diagnose, no adoption, no extreme measures.

  11. Great to read that life challenges are there to remind us that we can all become a stronger and better person… Well, when I left life in the UK to return home to Greece, I decided to set up my own blog. To creatively remind me that whatever preoccupies us could turn into a map for the future.

  12. Great post. I particularly liked the section about how to journal properly. Reading that made me realise that I haven’t been exploring my feelings enough.

  13. I really like the acceptance part in your post because that saves so much energy. If you can accept what happens to you and don’t fight it, or resent or whatever, all your energy can go into making the situation better. It is the way I like to live my life. I always say’ what can I do to make this better. Great post, thanks for sharing!

  14. I love your tip about being outdoors with nature. When I suffered from extreme anxiety a while ago, I needed to go for nature walks at least once a day to relieve my stress. Volunteering helps us to think outside of ourselves-another great point. Thanks so much.

  15. Such great tips. I use music when I’m feeling really out of sorts or when life gets difficult. There is always just the right song for my mood at that time.

  16. I totally needed this, life has definitely been throwing a few curve balls at me in the past few months. I need to reset to avoid this cycle again!

  17. I absolutely love this post and will be sharing!! Your advice is spot on…I especially love the idea of volunteering. Building a sense of community and establishing relationships is such a great way to feel connected and to help us through difficult times. Thank you for this meaningful post!

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