Adversity is inevitable in life. Sometimes it is welcome or expected, but other times it can make us want to run, scream, cry and even throw in the towel. So how can get better at managing adversity – and manage to stay positive in spite of it? Here are five tips to help.
1. Take a step back
When things don’t go the way you want them to, it is only natural to have an emotional reaction. Depending on the situation you could find yourself faced with a wave of emotion from anger, frustration and disappointment to anxiety, jealousy or embarrassment. Allow yourself time to react, but don’t let yourself stay in that state, take a step back. Don’t let it cloud your judgement.
Refocus and redirect your energy. Get some space away from the situation, take a walk, go to the gym, spend time in a hobby, meditate or go to a favourite place that brings you peace. This time out helps you clear your mind and gives you the space you need to come back and pragmatically tackle the matter.
2. Be mindful of your response
When something goes wrong, our words and actions will often be negative in response. But the way we talk about problems and challenges can have a significant impact on the way we view them. When we bring negativity to a situation, we get it back. Start to approach a negative situation with positivity and possibility and watch it – and you – transform.
3. Look for the good
Finding the good when you are in the middle of adversity can be challenging. But the truth is every situation in life – good or bad – has something to teach you. It can uncover strengths, reinforce relationships, provide perspective, cement your values, identify toxic people and give you clarity around what you will and won’t stand for. Ask yourself, “What is this here to teach me?”
4. Practice daily gratitude
If you want to have greater perspective when adversity strikes, practice daily gratitude. Keep your mind focused on everything you do have and how fortunate you are. It has been said that if you have food in your fridge, clothes on your back, a roof over your head and a place to sleep, you are richer than 75% of the world.
The Q Foundation, a non-profit I started with friends a few years ago to bring health, hope and happiness to children in Kaper, Thailand, certainly gives me this perspective. Many children have malnutrition, illness, flooded houses, broken roofs, no schooling, little food and no parents when they come into The Q Foundation. We really don’t know how blessed we are until we stop to take stock and appreciate what we have.
5. Realise your track record is 100%
Remind yourself that your track record of getting through adversity is 100% – you are still here. Each one of these challenges has shaped your character, made you stronger, built resilience and in some ways, helped you prepare to meet this one. Don’t doubt yourself, back yourself. You have the capability of getting through this too.
Over to you, how do you stay positive through adversity? Email your tips and stories to firstname.lastname@example.org; I’d love to hear them!