We’ve all been through phases in life where no matter how much we tried, everything just seemed hard. During such times, it can be easy to get discouraged and stop pursuing the things we want in life.
Those difficult periods in life test our resiliency and our commitment to what is truly important to us. It is during such times that we need a lot more encouragement to help us stay motivated so that we do not quit on our goals.
A few years ago, during the Global Financial Crises, I had to put so much attention and focus on my work in order to sustain a living, that I started to neglect my health. Days of no exercise turning into weeks, and sometimes I deluded myself by thinking a 20-minute stroll two or three times a week was good enough to stay healthy.
It was no surprise that my health started to suffer which included back aches, headaches and reduced strength and flexibility. The end result was I started to gain weight. While it was not out of control, I could certainly feel and see the difference of being in an unhealthy frame of mind.
This continued for about three years as I gave more focus to my work. I got a wake-up call one evening when I experienced a spasm in my left thigh, which was so painful that I was unable to be still even for a minute. That spasm continued all night which meant I was not able to get any sleep. To this day, I still don’t know how I was able to get through that night.
After I got some medical advice, I knew the problem was in my mind and the amount of stress I was generating. Something had to change as I was almost 20 kilograms (44 pounds) heavier than what I wanted to be. After some changes to diet and by adopting a new exercise routine, I was able to release almost all the additional weight over a 14-month period and got back to feeling like myself again. It took a lot of hard work but the reward was well worth the effort.
No matter how difficult things get in life, there are always things we can refer back that can help turn things around and keep us focused and motivated to do what is required to get the outcomes we want.
- Do not resist or suppress the emotions you are experiencing. As the saying goes, “What you resist, persists.” It can be easy to try and avoid fully feeling the emotions we have when going through a tough time, especially if we deem them to be very negative. The more we resist any emotions we don’t want to feel, the longer it will linger. It is best to fully experience the emotions then allow it to pass through us by adopting some releasing techniques.
- This is just a phase which will pass. Nothing lasts forever because that is the rhythm of life. Good times always follows bad times however, we must be willing to do our part to change our reality. That means we will have to do work to get over what we are going through. Some things may be easier than others but if we stay true to ourselves, we will turn things around.
- You are exactly where you need to be at this point in your life. Hindsight is a wonderful thing. When we’re going through tough times, we don’t tend to think about how we will view our current reality in the future. If we adopt the mindset that what we’re going through is exactly what we need to become the person we need to be in order to achieve our goals, then we can start looking at challenges from a new perspective.
- Rewards are much sweeter after any struggle. I find that I don’t tend to place a high value on successes I’ve achieved easily compared to successes I’ve achieved that has tested my resolve, commitment and courage. This is because during times of struggle, we are required to develop new awareness, skills and abilities and draw into resources within ourselves that we had not used before. This is all part of our personal development and growth.
- Gratitude changes what we are focusing on. We often get too caught up in our problems and give so much attention to it that we miss all the good things that are happening in our lives. No matter how difficult things get, there are always things we can be appreciative of that are going well for us. Having an attitude of gratitude is extremely important during tough times.
- Practice putting your situation into perspective. Only in extreme cases are our challenges life or death situations. For most of us, our challenges are just dealing with our everyday experiences. They are often not as bad as we make them out to be in our minds. One technique to apply during difficult times is to practice relating our situation to those who are going through a much more difficult period and our situation will always not seem as bad.
- Any progress or wins are worth celebrating. We tend to fall into the trap of believing that we are not making progress when life seems hard therefore, any wins and progress we make is worth celebrating. No matter how small it is, any progress is still progress so it will give us a much needed boost to acknowledge it.
- Not everything is within our control. There are things in life which we have no control over so it is not worth worrying about. Most of the stresses we face are often self created and if we examine the source of those stresses, we will often find that we have been giving attention to things that we cannot influence anyway. So let’s not worry about things we cannot control.
- Being kind to yourself will always help. Would you be friends with someone who treated you the same way you treat yourself? Being hard and criticising ourselves does not serve us and can cause us to feel even worse. Being kind to ourselves is a habit which we can all develop because it will only have a positive effect on our outlook on life.
- Clarifying our priorities will always help. When we are confused, our decision-making ability is affected and often slows down our progress. That feeling of not making progress is a major reason why we feel life is hard at times. The clearer we are, the less likely we are to be confused.
Life is what we make it out to be but one thing is certain — we will experience our fair share of challenges and difficult times. If we choose to remember that difficult times will not always last, then we will be in a better frame of mind to do what’s necessary right now. If we get caught up in our challenges and give it more attention than they deserve, that’s when life will continue to seem hard.
Question: What is another thing to remember whenever we go through difficult times?
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