Five Steps for Dealing with Difficult Life Events

Two teenage girls consoling each other during a difficult time.

It has been said that life is a journey. The only way to progress through this journey is to take steps forward. Throughout our lives we will encounter a number of twists and turns, perhaps even a few pitfalls. Obstacles make life challenging. It is important to remember that it is important to continuing moving forward even when life is difficult. Depression and anxiety can make moving forward seem impossible. Sometimes, overcoming life’s challenges starts as simply as putting one foot in front of the other. Learning and practicing small daily strategies to deal with difficult times will help ease the overwhelming negative feelings. This is a difficult thing to do. Especially when we find ourselves in the midst of a difficult crossroads, or a path that seemingly leads to nowhere.

Five Tips for Dealing with Difficult Times

Below are a few ideas on how to take the next necessary steps forward even when life gives you lemons.

1. Don’t Give Up

 First and perhaps most importantly – don’t give up! Just because an obstacle emerges, no matter what size, does not mean that the journey is over. Dr. Barton Goldsmith, a multi-award winning psychotherapist, explains that “once you quit, it is never quite the same. Whether it’s a relationship, a job, or your life, you are in charge of your choices. Giving up may enter your mind, but find some way to keep going, even if you have to do things a little differently.” So when the going gets tough, don’t be afraid to find another path, or, to find a way to overcome the obstacle obstructing your way. The journey continues from there.

2. Stay Positive

 In this day and age, it may seem a bit cliche to say that positivity is key, but the truth is often worth repeating. A positive mindset can make all the difference when it comes to progressing through life’s challenges. It is important to remember that the world is not our enemy. True, we will all face our own shares of ups and downs, but when we are confronted by the “downs”, we must remember that they don’t happen because the universe hates us or that we are the victims of some sort of terrible cosmic vendetta. Rather, by adopting the perception that the world around us exists to do us good, we can learn to see the opportunities that surround. In this way, we open ourselves up to the possibility to flourish, and learn not to assume failure.

3. Take Things One Day at a Time

 A simple yet effective piece of advice is also to take things one day – or one step – at a time. Trying to tackle problems head on all at once is the easiest way to get overwhelmed. Instead, it helps to learn to tackle things one at a time. For example, if we’re having problems within a relationship, attempting to fix all of them at once can seem not only difficult but outright impossible. By approaching our problems one step at a time, we can improve this relationship by strengthening the parts that comprise it. To begin with, we might start by improving communication. Then, maybe we schedule more dates or quality time. One-by-one, we take on the things that were causing us to feel upset and stressed. By doing so we not only improve the health of our relationship, but our own personal health as well. We don’t need to do everything at once in order to see progress.

4. Go at Your Own Pace

 Life is not a race. There is no need to rush progress. Dr. Goldsmith states that “you may have been beaten down, but you are not broken. Even if you have suffered and lived through a life-altering trauma, if you still have a beating heart and air in your lungs, you can get back on your feet.” The key is doing what we can, when we can, and taking breaks when we need to. These periods of rest can be what we need in order to get the energy to continue forward. However, we must remember that taking breaks should not be the same thing as stopping entirely. We must continue on the journey. There is nothing wrong with taking time every now and then to collect ourselves and refocus on what we really want in life.

5. Don’t Be Afraid of Disappointment

 Unfortunately, disappointment as natural to life as as breathing. People from all walks of life experience disappointment. Disappointment should never stop us from moving forward. There is nothing wrong with feeling disappointed from time-to-time. Disappointment is not an excuse to give up or stop trying to accomplish what we want. No matter what, we must keep going. After all, we have a lot to see and do before our journey end. So why stop here?

If you are feeling overwhelmed with life, speaking with a therapist can help. Call our office @ 800-378-9354 to check appointment availability.