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Last Updated on December 4, 2020

5 Powerful Tips for Overcoming Adversity

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.

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

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Ashley Elizabeth

Resilience Mastery Coach and Motivational Speaker

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Last Updated on January 21, 2021

8 Creative Ways To Motivate Yourself To Reach Goals

8 Creative Ways To Motivate Yourself To Reach Goals

“Self-pity is our worst enemy, and if we yield to it we can never do anything wise in this world” – Helen Keller

From the moment our kindergarten teachers asked us what we wanted to be when we grew up to the job interview question that asks us to envision where we see ourselves in five or ten years time, everyone seems to want to know what we’re doing (or hope to do) with our lives. Some of us have detailed road maps in our minds, with mile-markers for each goal: Obtain a college degree, land a dream career, start a family, visit Mars, achieve world domination—whatever. Others like the scenic route. We have a vague picture of someone in the distant future who looks like us and is doing amazing things, but they’re too far off in the distance for us to see just what those amazing things are. Whether you’ve had your entire life planned out since you were 5 yrs old or are just winging it, we all need a jump start from time to time to keep us moving in the right direction—or any direction. Here are eight creative ways to motivate yourself to reach your goals.

1. Sing to yourself

Seriously. Like laughter, sunshine, and fresh air; singing elevates our moods and increases our well being. It can even be a useful group exercise to enhance collaboration in the workplace. Read more about it here. Studies have shown that singing triggers a release of endorphins, which are the body’s natural way of chemically relieving pain and stress. When we’re happier, we get more done. This might be why Snow White likes to whistle while she works.

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2. Visualize your success

According to Dr. Frank Niles, visualization is a simple but useful motivational technique because when you form a picture of succeeding in your mind, you begin to see the possibility of reaching your goal. When I was working on my dissertation in graduate school, there were days when meeting the daily writing goal I’d set for myself seemed insurmountable, let alone finishing the entire book-length project that sat in my stomach like a baby with an unknown due date. When I began to feel overwhelmed, I’d often visualize the moment of achievement, walking across the stage, receiving my degree, finally earning those three letters at the end of my name that I’d poured so much blood, sweat, tears, and vodka into. Six years and quite a few drinks later, I managed it.

3. Speak about achieving your goals in definitive, positive terms

Instead of saying, “if I get married,” “if I get that raise,” “if I quit smoking,” say “when I get married,” “when I get that raise,” “when I quit smoking.” This shifts your focus from possibility to actuality. Spiritual teacher and best-selling author Dr. Wayne Dyer has written and spoken extensively about the “I Am” discourse, which is a form of positive thinking that takes its name from Judeo-Christian Scripture but is portable in any walk of life. Dyer tells us humorously that God didn’t introduce himself to Moses as “I will be,” or “My name is I hope things will work out.” No. He said simply “I am.” Using this affirmative vocabulary in our own lives, argues Dr. Dyer, can help us to visualize our goals and keep our eye on the prize.

4. Use sticker charts

We all remember the thrill of achievement when we rushed home from school to show our parents the shiny gold star we’d received on our homework assignments in school. Who’s to say this positive reinforcement can’t work for adults too? Draw up a chart of your goals, with various benchmarks. Each time you achieve a benchmark, give yourself a gold star, or a smiley face, or a googly-eyed cat. Whatever gives you a sense of accomplishment. This ties into the visualization technique as well, because charting the trajectory of completion gives you verifiable proof that you’re making progress.

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5. Keep a goal diary

Like creating a chart with eye-catching visuals, writing down your goals and reflecting regularly on their progress helps you to both focus on the desired outcome and holds you accountable. In 1979, a study conducted in the Harvard MBA program asked students if they had goals and if they’d written down those goals. 3% had written down their goals, 13% had goals but hadn’t written them down, and 84% had no clearly defined goals. Ten years later, the study revealed that the 3% who had written down their goals were the most financially successful. While financial stability is only one quantifiable way to measure success, the study still points to a link between clearly defining one’s goals and achieving them.

6. Find a “study buddy”

While this can be a useful way to motivate students to complete homework, it can also work well for anyone who has a hard time settling down to work. I used to notice that I graded papers much more efficiently when my boyfriend was sitting in the other room doing the same thing. While this might not work for everyone, I’ve always found that glancing up now and then to make a comment about something I’ve read does more than allow for a break in the action. The other person becomes a sounding board to bounce my ideas off of. Even Sherlock Holmes relied on Watson’s insights to solve his cases.

7. Keep a corkboard in your workspace or someplace visible, with empowering quotations

Personally, I find Yoda a great inspiration. It’s hard to quit anything when you’ve got “do or do not. There is no try” staring you in the face. Turn to your favorite books and movies, or your role-models. Pick your favorite inspirational quotes and keep them close to remind you that you can do whatever you set your mind to.

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8. Daydream

It might sound counter-intuitive, but I’m going somewhere with this. You probably remember being told off in Biology class for staring into the fathomless blue eyes of your lab partner instead of concentrating on the frog you were supposed to be dissecting. However, according to Margrit Tarpalaru, there’s a way to procrastinate “consciously, creatively, and, most importantly, guiltlessly.”

Tarpalaru, a teacher who uses this technique to plow through grading, refers to it as the “micro-break,”[1] which many of us probably think of as that reflexive urge to check Facebook for five minutes, only to look up twenty minutes later and wonder how we got sucked into the social media vortex. Instead, Tarpalaru suggests techniques like a quick daydream.

Glance up from the computer screen and spend a few minutes thinking about all of the glorious things that await you once you’ve gotten through the day, or the week: biking with your partner, having drinks with friends, the summer cruise you’re planning.

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Like the other visualization techniques we’ve talked about, this practice keeps your eye on the prize, and it’s a conscious form of procrastination because you can’t have that drink, or board that cruise ship unless you meet that deadline, which inevitably forces your mind back on work.

Featured photo credit: Becca Tapert via unsplash.com

Reference

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