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5 Powerful Tips for Overcoming Adversity

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5 Powerful Tips for Overcoming Adversity

When something bad happens in your life, how do you react? Do you approach the process of overcoming adversity as a learning opportunity, or do you let it throw you off your game?

Whether it’s an accident, the loss of a loved one, or mental illness, adversity strikes all of us. However, the response to it differs from person to person. Some people are able to thrive when times get tough, while others struggle to keep it all together.

Let’s face it…there is nothing enjoyable about adversity. It creeps up on you at the worst time and tries to mess up your day. For some, it negatively affects every area of their lives.

Adversity can feel like an uphill battle, especially when you’re not getting a break from it. However, successful people have found a way to navigate their way around roadblocks that would stop others in their tracks.[1]

As a result, successful people are able to bounce back faster when adversity strikes. There is a purpose behind every adverse event that you experience in life. However, it’s up to you to look for the silver lining.

Often, if you choose to fight against adversity, it only hits you harder. This is why you need to surrender to what is and learn how to embrace the mess of life.

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Challenges can be used to your advantage. Let’s talk about 5 powerful tips for overcoming adversity.

1. Practice Self-Compassion

We all experience difficult times at some point in our lives. That’s a normal part of living. What we all don’t do is have empathy for ourselves when we are in distress.

Do you ever feel like it’s so easy to practice compassion for others but difficult to do so for yourself? This is fairly naturally as we tend to be hard on ourselves.

If you want to overcome adversity faster, the best place to start is by being more self-compassionate. By doing so, you will improve your emotional wellbeing and give yourself the confidence to rise up and keep moving forward.

Try creating a daily mindfulness practice, like deep breathing, meditation, or yoga. This will help you navigate stressful times with a clearer mind. Also, don’t be afraid to ask for help, and if you need to take a break, do it.

Honor yourself, knowing that you have everything that you need inside of you to weather any storm.

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2. Become the Master of Your Emotions

The way that you respond to a challenge determines your ability to overcome that challenge. Where people get into trouble is that they allow external circumstances to dictate their moods.

They react to things, instead of taking a proactive approach. If you don’t master your emotions, your emotions will master you.

The best way to become the master of your emotions is to start to experience your emotions on a physical level.

Notice what happens when you get triggered by something or someone and mentally note what emotions are coming up. Then, get curious about the message that the emotions are offering you.[2]

Lastly, do the work to reframe negative emotions and situations. Just because you experience negative emotions doesn’t mean that you have to react in ways that are harmful to you or others. Mindfulness and naming your emotions is a good way to give your feelings less power.

3. Make Humor Your Ally

Finding humor in the face of adversity can be extremely healing for the mind, body, and soul. It’s not about discrediting your pain. Rather, it’s about pulling upon positive emotions when you need them most.

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Studies show that in the face of adversity, going through life with a positive attitude helps you become more flexible in your thinking and resolution of problems.[3]

I know that humor and laughter have been a key aspect of my healing process. It doesn’t take the pain away completely, but it’s a great coping mechanism. Anything that lightens your mood and inspires hope during the midst of chaos is ideal.

4. Stay Optimistic

When bad things happen, it’s easy to be negative and play the ‘why me’ game. However, this mindset often gets us nowhere.

Conversely, people who remain optimistic, even in the toughest of times, naturally bounce back faster. Optimism is a powerful tool in overcoming adversity.

Research shows that optimists develop more positive ways of explaining disappointing events, and they are often able to reframe them.[4]

You may be surprised by how much calmer you feel in the face of adversity when you choose to find strength and joy during the darkest of times.

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5. Believe in Yourself

None of the previous pieces of advice on this list will matter if you don’t have an unwavering belief in yourself and the process. Self-confidence in your ability to overcome adversity is the key to bouncing back from anything.

The key is to learn how to recognize when your self-talk is working against you and quickly reframe it. Instead of saying to yourself “I can’t”, replace it with “I will.” Trust yourself and know that there is nothing that you can’t handle.

Final Thoughts

The mindset that you adopt towards challenges will determine your level of resilience when overcoming adversity. People who are able to overcome challenges with grace possess a growth mindset. They choose the mindset of a champion.

They don’t believe that their intelligence is fixed. Instead, they embrace challenges, persist in the face of setbacks, see effort as the path to mastery, and learn from feedback.[5]

Adversity of any kind can be very difficult to overcome. Nobody wants to experience hardships in life. However, if you never experienced pain, you would never understand peace.

For this reason, overcoming adversity is critical to your personal growth and development. You always have a choice of how you will react to low points in life. You can either give up or view adversity as an opportunity for growth.

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The next time that you encounter adversity, remember that these are merely opportunities for you to grow and improve. Fostering a growth mindset will empower you to find hope in the direst of circumstances. It will give you the faith to know that there is nothing that you can’t handle.

More Tips on Overcoming Adversity

Featured photo credit: Lukas Rychvalsky via unsplash.com

Reference

More by this author

Ashley Elizabeth

Resilience Mastery Coach and Motivational Speaker

How to Find Yourself When You’re Feeling Lost in Life How Successful Women Shake Up and Redefine the Workplace 4 Signs You Have a Victim Mentality (And How to Break out of It) How to Overcome Fear and Find Success (The Ultimate Guide) What Motivates You to Succeed in Life and Keep Moving Forward?

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Last Updated on January 19, 2022

What Is Fear-Based Motivation And Does It Work?

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What Is Fear-Based Motivation And Does It Work?

If you’ve ever thought or said something like this, then you are using fear-based motivation:

  • “If I don’t get that promotion, I’m going to be seen as a failure so I better stay up all night to work on this proposal.”
  • “If I speak up for school reform, the internet trolls are going to get me, so I better be quiet even though I care a lot about this issue.”
  • “If I don’t exercise enough, I’m going to look like crap, so I better go to the gym six days a week, even if my body is killing me.”

Fear-based motivation is exactly what it sounds like—getting yourself and others to do things out of fear of what will happen if you don’t do it and do it well.

What you might not know is that while fear-based motivation might work in the short term, it can have long-term detrimental effects on your performance, relationships, and well-being.

Is Fear-Based Motivation Helpful?

If using fear as motivation comes naturally for you, you aren’t alone. Our brains use fear to keep us out of trouble. Normally, you want to move away from what feels harmful towards what feels safe.

This brain function is important when there is a genuine threat to your well-being, like if there is a rattlesnake on the hiking trail. Your brain will use fear to motivate you to move away from the snake as quickly as possible. But when you use fear-based motivation to accomplish your life and career goals, the constant state of fear puts unnecessary stress on your mind and body and can end up working against you.

The Darkside of Fear-Based Motivation

Take, for example, when your trainer at your gym motivates you during your workout by yelling things like, “Bikini season is coming! You don’t want your cellulite to be the star of the show!” or “Burn off that piece of birthday cake you ate last night!”

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Sure, you might be motivated to do ten more burpees, but what is going on in the back of your mind? You probably have an image of a group of people standing around you at the beach laughing at you in your bikini, or you feel guilty about eating that piece of cake and criticize yourself for not being able to control yourself.

Reliance on Negative Thinking

For most of us, this type of thinking causes stress and can bring down our energy levels and mood. The reliance on negative thinking is the problem with fear-based motivation. It forces us to put our attention on what is wrong or what could go wrong instead of anticipating and celebrating what is right. This, in turn, narrows our focus and prevents us from seeing the bigger picture.

When your brain senses a threat, whether it’s a rattlesnake hiding in the grass or the possibility of being laughed at in your bikini, your brain will move you into a protective stance. Your vision narrows and you prepare to fight, flee or freeze.

You can probably imagine what this looks like in the case of a rattlesnake, but how does this impact your bikini experience?

The High Cost of Fear-Based Motivation

Imagine that you plan a beach vacation with your friends three months from now. The first thing you picture is sitting on the beach with your tummy rolls and cellulite. You immediately sign up for three months of boot camp classes at the gym and banish all sugar and booze from your diet. You are determined not to make a fool of yourself on the beach!

Will the fear of not looking like a supermodel under the beach umbrella motivate you to get in shape and eat better? Possibly. But at what cost?

For three months, every time you picture yourself looking “less than perfect” in your bikini, you feel fear of being ashamed. Shame makes you want to hide, and that makes it harder to find the motivation to go to the gym instead of sitting on the couch eating ice cream.

You become so focused on how you are going to look on the beach that you lose out on all the fun and joy of life. You pass up on going shopping with your friends for new outfits because you aren’t at your goal weight yet. You stop doing the things you love to do to spend more time at the gym. You avoid family gatherings where you will be confronted with tempting food. You over-train to the point of hurting yourself.

The Healthier Alternative to Fear-Based Motivation

Now, there is nothing wrong with wanting to feel good in your bikini! If that’s important to you, keep your goal in mind but change the way you motivate yourself. Instead of using the fear of feeling ashamed to motivate you, try using love-based motivation.

Love-based motivation uses love instead of fear to lead and inspire you. It comes from a different part of your brain than fear-based motivation. Love-based motivation comes from the part of your brain that is responsible for joy, creativity, and passion.

5 Questions of Love-Based Motivation

There are many ways to deploy love-based motivation. The trick is to use one or all of the following to motivate you towards your goal: empathy, curiosity, innovation, vision, and heart-centered action.

Here are five questions you can use to motivate yourself using love-based motivation.

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1. What Would You Say to a Friend?

Chances are that you talk to your friends in a much kinder way and with more empathy than you talk to yourself. You wouldn’t tell a friend, “you better starve yourself and hit the gym three times a day to look good in that bikini!” Instead, you would probably say something like, “I’m so excited to go on this vacation with you! I can’t wait to spend time catching up while sipping margaritas on the beach.”

Talk to yourself the way you would talk to your friend.

2. What Are You Curious About Learning That Might Help You Get to Your Goal?

More often than not, achieving our goals is more about the journey it took us to get there than the goal itself. Curiosity makes journeys more fun. Perhaps you are curious about doing a triathlon but you don’t know how to run. If you spend three months learning to run, you would get into better shape and learn something new.

3. How Can You Get to Your Goal in a Way That Feels Good?

Using the “Yes, And” game is a great way to come up with innovative ideas for working towards your goals. If your first instinct is to go to the gym six days a week but you aren’t jazzed about it, find something that you like about that idea and make it better.

For example, if what you like about going to the gym is that you work up a sweat, what if instead of the gym, you join a dance class where you can learn some new moves to show off on your vacation?

4. What Is Important to You About Your Goal?

When you dig into your goal, chances are that you’ll find a deeper meaning. If your goal is to “look good in a bikini,” ask yourself why that’s important to you.

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For example, “I want to look good in my bikini because I want to have fun on vacation.” Then, ask yourself how much having fun on your vacation depends on how you look in your swimsuit.

5. What Heart-Centered Action Can You Take That Will Help You Reach Your Goal?

Whether your goal remains bikini-focused or changes to ways of having a good time on your vacation, choose an action that you can take that feels like it is coming from a place of love instead of fear.

For example, suggest to your friends that you take scuba diving classes as a group before vacation. It will get you moving and bring your friends together.

Long-Term Happiness and Satisfaction

Fear-based motivation may help you achieve your goals in the short term, but it won’t lead to long-term happiness and satisfaction. Fear isn’t designed to be used for long periods, and you will eventually tire of the fear and give up on your goals. Love, however, is designed for longevity.

Finding your motivation in a place of love will fuel you to reach your goals, whether your goals are about feeling good in a bikini, getting a promotion at work, or speaking up for what you believe in.

More Tips on Boosting Motivation

Featured photo credit: Jeremy Perkins via unsplash.com

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