We all know that change is the only constant in our lives. Many of us even welcome change in our lives. Still when unexpected change happens to us, it becomes personal and depending on the magnitude of the change, it can even be difficult and traumatic. Unexpected layoffs, loss of a loved one, financial setbacks, health issues, and other such events can derail our best laid plans and cause a great deal of anxiety and stress. At times such as this, it becomes important to practice the timeless principles of hope, faith, courage, and resilience. In addition, there are four strategies that have proven to help people get over the difficult times in their lives.
- The Power of Optimism: Research shows that an optimistic outlook, even in the face of insurmountable challenges, helps people overcome the setbacks in their lives. Optimism generates positive energy, reduces anxiety, and as a bonus has great health benefits. While some may consider optimism as “soft, touchy-feely stuff,” there is both anecdotal and evidence-based research that shows the extraordinary benefits of optimism. It is the greatest gift that one can give to oneself. Be optimistic that you will get through your difficulties. Remind yourself that life is full of ups and downs. As Wayne Dwyer said, “Even God cannot make a storm last forever!”
- Be action-oriented: It is easy and tempting to engage in self-pity and cuddle up in a dark corner when we find ourselves in a tough spot. We feel the weight of the world on our shoulders and sometimes there seems to be no way out. It is temporarily comforting to withdraw from the world. However, this approaches long-term damage. Stand up. Act. Move. Connect. Engage. Do your part. Reach out. Believe in yourself. Accomplish small things. Be biased toward action, rather than inaction. Action generates energy. Inaction destroys even existing energy.
- Focus on your Strengths: In times of difficulty, people tend to focus on their weaknesses, rather than their strengths. The strengths that took you to the top of the mountain are still yours and yours alone. Traumatic experiences may sometimes make these strengths dormant, but you still have them. Tap into your strengths. Work on your weaknesses, but do not make them the focal point of your day.
- Revisit your concept of happiness: We live in a society which continues to perpetuate the notion that happiness is tied to materialism, corporate titles, and fancy houses and cars. Revisit your concept of happiness. Stay true to yourself. Research shows that happiness is rarely tied to external things, but often is a state of mind, a firm determination to capture and live in the present moment.
Dr. Uma G. Gupta is the President and CEO of Global Cube Consulting, a consulting firm that focuses on leadership development, communications, and project management. She blogs at www.umagupta.com and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org