Getting Through The Tough Times in Life

Perhaps you’re not having the best week… or month… or year. I get it. Many feel the same. Covid-19 has not helped!

Over the course of a lifetime, we will each go through many difficult times. We naturally have to transition between different chapters of our lives and none of escape trying moments. It is during these times when it is important to be able to tap into our toolbox of coping skills to make it through.

There are four key ingredients to developing coping skills for resilience: connection, wellness, healthy thinking, and finding meaning.

CHALLENGING THE NON-CHANGE BIAS

Life is full of ups and downs but many of us fall into what we might call the non-change bias. While in the midst of being ‘up’ we think we’ll be up forever and while in the midst of being ‘down’ we think we’ll be down forever. What I gently remind my clients is life is in constant flux. One of my favorite coping mantras is, “this too shall pass.”

So really getting through the rocky periods of life starts with consciously distancing ourselves from the bias of non-change. We can remind ourselves that ‘this too shall pass’. Just like we wanted the good times to stay around forever and they didn’t the bad times will likely once again make way for the good. Both things good and bad, come and go. Something that holds true for us all.

Sometimes the necessary changes to get things back on track are within our locus of control but sometimes they aren’t but either way we put ourselves in a better position to weather the storm when we remember that non-change is an illusion, permanence is an illusion.  As a Greek philosopher famously said, “Change is the only constant.”

IMPERMANENCE IS THE RULE OF LIFE 

Change and impermanence are the rules of existence and the rules of human life. These insights can help us from sinking into hopelessness when things aren’t going our way. The vicious cycle that occurs to many of us when we’re going through a rocky period of life is that we unknowingly contribute to its intensity and duration due to our own cynical attitudes and behaviors. We’re not in a state of readiness where we can notice and embrace various opportunities around us but in a state of passivity or even worse negativity where we’re destructive towards ourselves, others, and the world.

CULTIVATING A STATE OF GOING WITH THE FLOW

So again cultivating a state of going with the flow is beneficial to all aspects of mental health. Life throws curveballs! It is important to see where we can embrace the plethora of opportunities that will get us out of the funk we are in starts with ditching the non-change bias. Even if there’s not a thing we can do to influence the situation external conditions will eventually change on their own anyway, and remembering that will help us better bear up under unwanted conditions.

Take responsibility for how you deal with change. As human beings to be able to adapt is key to survival. Change is something that will test a person’s inner resources and requires adaption if they are to successfully overcome stress and other negative emotions that accompany transition. Very few life transitions, positive or negative, go smoothly or effortlessly. Consequently, any change can take a toll.

If change has caught you off-guard you can get discombobulated. The trick is to remember it is one of many changes that will come your way as you progress through life. Take comfort in knowing we all will have to navigate change in our lives. It is a universal human experience. Counseling can help you dig into your toolbox to see what resources you have to cope.

If you find changes in your life overwhelming, you do not have to deal with them all by yourself. If you hate change, counseling can help you at least tolerate it. There is no law saying you have to like change, but change is going to happen, like it or not.

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