4 Strategies To Cope With Adversity

If you’re reading this, you might be stuck in a rut. You may feel irritable, stressed out, and be unpleasant to be around. You know it, but you don’t know how to be any other way right now.

You’ve been stuck here too long, and you’re determined to feel better ASAP!
Sure, we all know the best way to enjoy life is to be grateful and stay positive, but how do you do that in times of extreme stress or even tragedy?

Sometimes, we’re faced with phases where airy-fairy, positive thinking is great, but that alone doesn’t always cut it. During times like this, optimism may not even feel welcome at all. After a rough breakup, the last thing you want to hear is that there’s plenty of fish in the sea — even if it IS true, you want to feel validated right now.

Even if validation feels like it’s what you need, it won’t be what will bring you out of suffering. If you feel like you’re stuck in a rut, there are actionable strategies that you can use right now to start moving forward.

Whether you’re recovering from a breakup, the death of a family pet, or you’re just tired of generally not feeling great, we hope the strategies below will help you move forward.

1. Change your physical state.

First order of business: change your physical state from that of a person who is suffering to that of someone who is feeling good.

What does this mean? It means that, before you can stop feeling sad, you have to stop “doing sad” first. “Doing sad” is anything that you’d observe depressed people doing. This includes their activities, how they carry themselves, and their facial expressions.

This could be sitting with your head in your hands, being slumped over, fidgeting, staring listlessly out a window, or even overeating to self-soothe. Why does this work? We’ve all heard the phrase: “Fake it ’til you make it,” and we hate it because it feels so very, very wrong to smile when you’re sad. Yet, we know that it works to some degree. What’s even more effective than smiling is to actually ACT like someone who’s happy!

Be active. Go for a walk. If you don’t like exercise, find anything else that feels good and doesn’t involve sitting still and quietly in your sadness. Get up and clean or organize something. Don’t feel like doing something responsible, either? That’s understandable. Activities that change your environment are even better. Just go to a coffee shop and read an ebook. Whatever it takes!

2. Do something you love.

This is common advice, but shouldn’t always come first.

Why? Because, for some people, something they love to do is to drink alcohol, watch television, or eat. These things are not inherently bad, but when your self-control is emotionally compromised, you may take these forms of escapism too far.

If a hobby is something you enjoy, it’s more than likely you won’t feel like creating anything great or pouring yourself into a project until you already feel at least a little better.

When you feel uplifted enough to return to your usual environment with a healthier state of mind, take the time to do something that you love!

3. Do a social media detox.

While social media is great for reconnecting with friends and family, sometimes it can do more harm than good.

The last thing you need when you’re feeling down is to see Uncle Dan’s latest political rant or a dramatic catfight between your friend-of-a-friend and someone else.

What’s worse is when you find yourself opening up on social media, and it’s met with either chirping crickets, naive optimism, or a harsh critic.

While you’re recovering from tragedy and working to boost your mood, you should avoid the possibility of any negative influence. In most cases, a detox from social media is just what the doctor ordered!

Just be sure to let your close friends and family know that you’re taking time to yourself to reflect on the issue and change how you feel about it so that they don’t worry about you.

Better yet, stay connected with the people who matter to you most and always make you feel your best… in person!

4. Turn the problem around.

Finally, now that you feel better at this moment, it’s time to make it last. You need to reframe the way that you look at the problem.

“Everything happens for a reason” is a comforting thought for many people, but when dealing with sensitive issues like death or a robbery, it really doesn’t feel like there’s a good reason for it. And there isn’t.

See how you can use this experience to console others dealing with a similar tragedy, by telling them what you wish you could have been told. Help them in any way you possibly can by teaching them what you learned from it.

The best things that can come from any tragedy is personal growth or helping other people prevent tragedies of the same kind.

What you can do in these situations is to choose to look at what you still have. You don’t have to invalidate your feelings to look at death as an opportunity to love those still with you even more than ever.

In the face of tragedy, realize that you’re still here, and you are a stronger, wiser, and maybe even a better-prepared person because of it.

Tragedies like death can teach us what to do to prevent our own early demise if they’re health-related, and that, while small and difficult to embrace right away, is a gift.

Embrace the qualities you admired about someone you lost most, and apply it to your own life. Part of their legacy can be a better you!

Even if you’re at rock bottom right now, overcoming it will empower you with everything you need to lift other people up, too. Sometimes, people just need to know that it gets better when they stick around.

Everything does get better. Keep your head up and stay hopeful. Remember that how you react in the face of negativity will determine how you rise above it — or if you do at all.

Tell us in the comments how you have learned to cope with adversity.

Sharon Koenig is a Personal Success and Business Coach at Fearless Pursuits, LLC, a champion athlete, and a Mom of 3. Overcoming homelessness to become a successful entrepreneur, Sharon now empowers and coaches others to move beyond their fears and limitations to reach their fullest potential in their life and business. Visit her website here.

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