Everybody goes through hard times. Whether it’s relationships, finances, health or circumstances; at some time or another, everyone fights a hard battle. But, does it always have to be so hard? Is there a way to thrive instead of just survive?
The answer is, unequivocally, yes. Sometimes we make matters far worse simply by the way we perceive or handle them. So much is lost in the battlefield of our mind. Here’s the reality: The battle doesn’t have to win. Every challenge and situation we go through in life is meant to teach us. You can take it personally, or you can choose to let it build your strength.
If you’re facing a challenge and want to thrive instead of survive…try one (or all) of these:
1.Release control: Control manifests itself in a number of ways. For me, it most often shows up in the details. In a misunderstanding or confusing situation, I want to figure it out. In a problem or conflict, I want to fix it. But sometimes trying to control things only makes it worse. The truth is that control is driven by fear and the only way to be free is to let it go.
2. Be still: In a world of overstimulation and immediate gratification it’s an act of rebellion to choose quiet. To pursue stillness. Yet it’s where all the answers reside. Your body is trying to tell you everything you need to know — if you would only stop long enough to listen. Breathe. Feel your breath coming in and going out. Listen to your thoughts. Your heart. See the world around you. Reconnect with yourself: spirit, soul, mind and body, and remember what matters most.
3. Eat smart: Ever felt so ravenous that after eating a little bit of everything in the house, nothing satisfies? Ever go shopping when you’re hungry to find you filled your cart with nothing but high-calorie, low nutrient processed food? You’re not alone. And chances are, you ended up only feeling worse. People who wait until they’re hungry usually make poor choices. Use these simple ideas to plan your meals in advance, and prep ahead of time, so that you can properly fuel your body for life. When you make good food choices, you’re more likely to make other good choices.
4. Build strength: We all know that fitness is more than skin deep. How you feel about your body influences how you feel about your life. Deep down, more than reaching a number on the scale or a specific size in your jeans, every single one of us wants to be strong. I recently shared 10 powerful reasons to incorporate strength training into your life. More than anything, strength training teaches you how to move against resistance. How to push beyond your comfort zone. And how the strength you build today will help you tomorrow. While strength training isn’t the answer to every question or problem, it’s a good answer to a lot of them.
5. Practice gratitude: In difficult circumstances it’s often hard to see the positive. Believe it or not, this is a great time to be grateful. Not for what has you down and out or stuck — but for all the things that don’t. The thing is, people aren’t naturally wired to be grateful. Like any skill, gratitude requires practice, and practice is a choice. Start a gratitude journal; be present to the beauty around you; in a bad situation, ask yourself what you can be grateful for; stop complaining, criticism or gossip; get involved. Each one of these ideas takes you out of the role of a critical observer and transforms you into a participant, where you see how many thousands of tiny details must come together to make something good.
Plato said: Be kind, for everyone you meet is facing a hard battle. Though trial and hardship isn’t extraordinary; finding someone who can thrive in the midst of it, is.
But there isn’t a secret formula. People who thrive in the midst of hard circumstances don’t have some fascinating quality you don’t have. They simply choose it. They choose to release control of the outcome; to get still; to choose to fuel their body; build their strength; and practice gratitude. Whatever life throws their way.