There is no escaping the adversity that touches all of us from time to time. But in the wake of incredible loss, there is a silver lining. In fact, it is during some of our greatest struggles that we discover a better lifestyle and become a more resourceful, adept person.
What is adversity?
Adversity can hit anyone, anywhere, and at any time. Being fired from a job, losing a loved one, or experiencing long-term illness are just a few examples of adversity. Facing difficult circumstances often stir up a plethora of negative and debilitating emotions that can weigh you down. While there are no easy solutions, there are ways to effectively confront adversity and even come out ahead. But the onus is on you to take the first steps and see the process through to the end.
How do you tackle adversity?
(1) Understand the reality. Bad things happen to good people. To begin facing adversity, allow yourself a day or two to absorb the situation and accept your new reality. Get in touch with what it means to you and its repercussions on your life.
(2) Feel the emotions. Give yourself time to feel whatever emotions surface from the adversity. Have a good cry, punch a pillow, vent with a trusted person, or throw a pity party. Do whatever it takes to embrace your emotions without inflicting any harm on yourself or others.
(3) Get unstuck. The initial shock of experiencing devastation can produce a sense of paralysis. The longer you remain paralyzed, the harder it will be to move forward. Set aside your immobility and focus on rallying to address what needs to be improved.
(4) Seek resolution. To restore balance to your life, approach adversity with a realistic perspective. Map out where you want to be in the aftermath and how you plan to get there. You may have to work your way through or around the problem, so be strategic.
(5) Respect your limitations. There may be no solution to an adverse circumstance. Instead of struggling to find what isn’t there, accept the truth as is and work on ways to redefine your life.
(6) Keep yourself in check. You may have little control over what is going on around you, but you can control your attitude and behavior. Keeping an open and productive mindset during a time of crisis can be your saving grace.
(7) Focus on you. Now more than ever, take care of your mental and physical wellbeing by eating the right foods, getting a good night’s sleep, and exercising to relieve stress. Anything less will derail your ability to stay on track and to ultimately accomplish your objectives.
(8) Be persistent. No matter how hard it gets, don’t give up. Believe in yourself and surround yourself with supportive people to help you along the way. Confidence, purpose, and determination are keys to your persevering through trying times.
(9) Evolve with change. With adversity comes a unique opportunity to learn and grow. This is your time to gain invaluable insights on what to do and not do in the future. Use the lessons learned to build character and fortify your resilience for the upcoming years.
Amid the darkness of adversity, a flame of hope still shines. Embrace it as your portal to greater success.
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Written by: Patricia K. Flanigan, Smart Strategies for Successful Living
Patricia K. Flanigan has worked in higher education for over 28 years. She holds a doctoral degree in Organizational Leadership from the University of La Verne as well as a M.A. in Latin American Studies and B.A. in Anthropology from the University of California, Los Angeles. Before retiring and moving to Idaho in 2015, she served as the dean of online education and learning resources at Saddleback College, a large community college in Southern California. She currently consults in higher education, volunteers for AARP, writes for a local magazine, and serves as an Affiliate Faculty member at Boise State University and on the Board for LEARN Idaho. Since February 2017, she has been the founding director for Smart Strategies for Successful Living, a community-based website designed to promote quality aging. As an educator, her focus is to inspire others to live and age well.