When The Going Gets Tough
“When the going gets tough, the tough get going.” – Billy Ocean
We live in a world where people are faced with many different problems, circumstances, and challenges in life. Some people are lucky enough to see the resolution of their challenges but sadly, many do not. Some people find it hard to forgive themselves for past mistakes or the decisions that got them to their current situation. Carrying around these, sometimes hidden, burdens can make life feel overwhelming at times.
Life can feel hard for some people because they’re worried they’re not living up to their full potential, or because they’re working a career that makes them feel unfulfilled, or they feel like they’re missing out on the key to true happiness.
And sometimes life just sucks. The truth is, none of us can really say that life is easy, because pain and difficulties are a universal part of this life. Job changes, sickness, financial troubles, or any number of losses run rampant, and no one is exempt.
So, how can you respond when life gets tough? What can you do to navigate the difficult road you’ve been called to walk?
- Consider the root cause.
Understanding what’s going on and “why” can make it easier to go through challenging things and eliminate the potential for the situation to reoccur. Identify what happened, what the real problem is, and the things you do have control over. There are always insights to be gained and often lessons to be learned in the middle of hard things. And on the other side is new growth and perspective.
- Take action, any action.
Sometimes the solution is not always evident. Sometimes, there is no clear path forward. What can you do then? Do something. Start working on those things you do have control over; do something you love, something that comes easy or natural to you. This can boost your confidence and self-esteem. Serving others in need is another great way to feel a little more fulfillment when life is hard. When you’re going through a tough time, the satisfaction of knowing you’ve contributed in a positive way to someone else can improve your overall outlook on life.
- Practice gratitude daily.
It is neurologically impossible to feel gratitude and any negative emotion at the same time. It’s been my personal experience that no matter what I’m going through or what’s happened to me, there is always something to be grateful for. Your health, finances, family, or home; or maybe just the blue sky, sunshine, and a good meal. No matter what is going on in your life, I challenge you to come up with at least three things to be grateful for.
- Find a change of scenery.
Get out of the house. When you’re going through something, it’s tempting to hide out at home or cancel outings and plans with friends. While in certain circumstances this might be appropriate, it’s important not to isolate. Taking a walk in the park, getting dinner at a new restaurant, catching a movie, or even a long drive through the country can help clear your head and reconnect you to friends and family.
- Make time to talk to someone.
It doesn’t matter whether you talk to a licensed therapist or a trusted friend but finding a safe place to process what’s happening can be helpful to get clarity. Sometimes you just need to get everything off your chest. Talking to someone can provide a small shift in perspective, a little validation, maybe some encouragement or advice to keep going.
If you don’t have anyone to talk to, try journaling. Write your thoughts out in a notebook or document and don’t worry too much about spelling or grammar. Make sure wherever you write that it’s safe and secure so you can be free to write your true feelings without holding back.
Finally, it’s important to remember that the bad days are all part of the human experience. Mindless scrolling or substance abuse to numb the pain is never a real solution to any problem. When life gets tough, often the first thing to go is our daily habits and routines, but it’s the little things that keep us grounded. Nothing is more important than adequate sleep, a healthy diet and exercise when you’re under stress.
Listen to the Tougher Together, Breakthrough Podcast with host and emotional healing expert, Rebeccah Silence, for additional resources on how you can overcome even the toughest circumstances.