There have been times where I found life to be really difficult to cope with. During those times, I have succumbed to stress, had low self-esteem and felt that I just could not carry on. Fortunately, I have come through and this encouraged me to share with you 5 simple but effective ways to cope with life.
1Recognize your situation
Sometimes, one of the most difficult things to do is to recognize your own situation. When life is tough, it becomes difficult to see what is actually happening.
Negative thoughts can make it hard for you to think clearly. They can make you feel as if there is no way you can continue.
To break this kind of thinking, ask yourself: Have I changed?
Take note of the things you have been experiencing lately, like struggling with sleeping, not eating well, drinking excessive alcohol and no longer doing the things you enjoy. These are all signs that you are not effectively coping.
Recognizing these signs is the first and most important thing you should do. Once you are able to recognize your struggles, you can start finding ways to improve things and make your life better.
Try to identify what is triggering your anxiety. It can be the sad passing of a friend or family member, money problems or relationship difficulties. Or it could be a combination of things which are mounting up.
2Make time for yourself
You are important and you need to recognize this. Failure to see your importance can easily make you neglect yourself.
Ensuring that you are eating a healthy diet is one of the best things you can do. When your body is healthy, so is your mind.
Try to engage in some form of exercise. This doesn’t have to involve a trip to the gym. In fact, you can start with a gentle stroll around a local park.
Although exercise can’t instantly cure your stress, it can help reduce your anxiety as well as help divert your attention. In addition to healthy eating and exercise, you can also do meditation.
There are a number of resources online that can give you advice on how to meditate. If that isn’t up your alley, you can try breathing exercises. For this one, you need to:
- Find a quiet area where you will not be disturbed for five minutes. Get comfortable and switch off your phone.
- Close your eyes and slowly breathe out through your mouth over a count of ten.
- Hold your breath for a moment
- Breathe in through your nose slowly, over a count of ten
- Hold your breath again for a moment before repeating the process.
- Repeat the steps ten times
With each breath, concentrate only on your breathing. Feel how the air enters and leaves your lungs and pay attention to how your chest expands and tightens.
As you perform the breathing exercise, visualize the times you were happy and imagine that you are there, at that exact time and place. As you visualize your happy place, try and think of every detail- what you see, smell and feel. You need to involve all your senses and really immerse yourself in the image you are creating in your mind. Now, as you do this, touch your thumb and index finger together.
At first, this may seem unusual, but, in the long run, this technique can make you easily recall your happy moments easily.
3Plan a way to move forward
Once you know what is causing your stress, you can start looking for ways to solve it. If you know you won’t be able to solve it on your own, don’t hesitate to ask for help.
In case you are being stressed by money problems, for example, there are organizations that can help you with advice and support. For bereavement, there are counselors who can give you practical help to move on.
There are a lot of organizations online that can give you support. If you find this uncomfortable, you can go see your doctor.
4Keep a ‘Positive Diary’
A “positive diary” works similarly to a journal. However, instead of paying close attention to negative thoughts, you write down positive things about your day.
For each day, you need to record three positive things. They can be things you felt or thought of during your work at the office, while working out in the gym or during your walk home.
As much as possible, disregard the negative things that may have happened. Focus only on the positive things to attract more of the good energy into your life.
5Know that you can carry on
As I said above, there will be some days where you will encounter setbacks and there will be times when your best-intentioned plans will fail. You need to know that this is something that happens to everyone and is not a reason to give up.
Some time ago I went through some pretty tough times. At that time, I thought they were insurmountable. However, I kept going, looked for positives and got through it.
I was reminded by reading some of my Facebook memories which showed some pretty bleak posts from previous years that showed me how I found a way to get through. In time, things did get better.
Don’t give up
You may feel that there is no solution and that the only way forward is to leave this world. Although tempting, this isn’t one of the best ways to cope with life. If you ever feel this way, please get professional help.
I recently had to attend the funeral of a very good friend who took his own life. It was devastating to look around a room and see his work colleagues, friends and family all wondering if they could have done anything to help him. Actually, we could have done something- had he only asked.
Moving on and finding ways to cope with life can take some effort and time. This, however, doesn’t mean that they aren’t doable.