Deal Better with Hard Times

Coping is…

…managing stress and anxiety. At some point in our lives, most of us will face times that are almost unbearable. Knowing how to use some key coping strategies can make a huge difference.

There are some specific things you can do to get through tough times, in addition to the exercising, keeping up your spirit and making sure you are getting enough sleep—and all the other self-care strategies

Research says:

  • People who were able to write about difficult events had better health and less depression. Writers’ grades even improved, and they found jobs more quickly.
  • People who tried to work through problems by looking for solutions and taking control felt less depressed.
  • People who managed to stay positive, even when things were tough in their lives, were able to move on more easily and were less upset by difficult memories.

Wait It Out

We all feel angry or upset at times, and the first thing we want to do is lash out. But that rarely helps, right? Adults learn to control their impulse to react. Parents know that letting things calm down is important before trying to talk about a problem, like rules being broken. 

If you’re dealing with a stressful situation, try some strategies to allow things to calm down. Try to avoid self-pity or the blame-game. Take control of the situation by thinking it through and trying on different perspectives. And remember, your feelings are valid. Just because you didn’t react, doesn’t mean your letting somebody else get away with bad behavior. You are choosing not to engage and make a tense situation escalate into something completely out of control.

  • Write about it. Write a letter to the other person. You don’t have to send it, but it can help you express your feelings. 
  • Take a run or do some other exercise. It helps to work up a sweat and get your blood flowing to your brain. You’ll think better!
  • Give it time. If you don’t have a clear plan in a few hours, wait a day. Keep in mind, you don’t have to respond at all!
  • Sometimes, is doesn’t make sense to wait, especially for a disturbing event like rape or domestic violence, Make sure to get professional help in those cases.

Write It Out

Writing can give you an emotional release and help organize your thoughts so they feel less chaotic. You might get insight into your feelings that can help you work through the problem. If you want to plan a response, here’s how you might do that:

  • Write what happened.
  • List the offenses as you see them and the people involved.
  • Jot down some possible solutions and who can help.
  • Prioritize. What is most likely to help sort things out? You also can weigh pros and cons.
  • Choose a flexible plan and break it into reasonable chunks with a loose timeline.
  • Don’t get discouraged if the first solution you try doesn’t work as you’d hoped. There are as many solutions as there are minutes for you to consider them. Keep trying.

Try a Different View

How you think about a problem affects both how much it upsets you and how well you tackle it. If you can, shift your mind away from negative thoughts or excessive worries. Try these suggestions:

  • Rate the problem. It is one of the worst ones you’ve had to deal with, or maybe its not as bad as one you already solved.
  • Choose your time. If you find yourself getting pretty upset, decide to wait an hour or a day to deal with it. You might feel more able to handle it then.
  • Think about the good stuff. Focus on what’s going well, and the important parts of your life that feel good.
  • Learn from this challenge. Now you know. You have supportive your friends. How strong you can be in a tough time. What new skills and growth can prepare you for in life. Well done!

Somebody To Lean On

Ask a friend to lend a hand with something that’s got you stressed. The company and the help will lighten things up a bit.

Ask for advice. No one knows everything.

Look for the brightest light in the darkest night. Someone you know knows how to listen. Crying, talk, hug, and just rest in the company of someone safe, someone you trust. Consider getting professional help if you need it.