You lost your job. Your marriage isn’t going well. Someone close to you passed away. Your finances are a mess. Whatever problem you’re facing, there are ways to deal with it and come out feeling good about yourself.
1. Remind yourself of the good things
Grab a sheet of paper and a pen and write down ten things that are good about your life. Maybe you have a terrific network of friends, a supportive family, or a job you enjoy. Take the list and put it somewhere like the refrigerator or the bathroom mirror. Take some time each morning and evening to read over the list and be thankful for what you do have.
This exercise not only helps you remember that everything in your life isn’t bad, it also helps you to practice being thankful. It’s all too easy to fall into the trap of feeling sorry for ourselves when bad things happen. Taking time each day for gratitude will help keep things in perspective.
2. Can you fix it?
Sometimes, there are things you can do to fix, or at least start down the path to fixing, your problems. If your finances are horrible, then make an appointment with yourself to sit down and make a budget. If you’re having trouble with a friend or partner, sit down with the person and make a real effort to patch things up.
Even if what you try doesn’t pan out, the act of doing something will help to pull you out of your depression and start recovering. Also, you’ll know that you did everything you could to solve the problem.
3. Accept that it’s over
Depending on the situation, there may be nothing you can do to remedy it. If you lost your job, you’re not likely to get it back. If a loved one passed away, you may be left with regrets for things you did, or didn’t, say and do. Accept the situation for what it is, and know there’s nothing more you can do about it.
While regret is a common emotion, it’s also not very productive. Channel your energy instead into more positive pursuits, like remembering the good times you had or pursuing new goals.
4. Learn from your mistakes
If you approach a bad situation as a learning experience, then you can at least profit from it and turn it to your benefit. Did you lose a job? Think about what you might have done differently. Is your marriage struggling? Ask yourself how you might become a better spouse.
This is one of the most difficult tips to implement, because we have to consider that we might have been wrong. After the initial hurt wears off, it may be helpful to ask for a neutral party’s advice. Perhaps a coworker can give you some feedback on your performance or you can talk to a friend about your relationships. Use the advice you get to improve your situation or do better next time.
5. Stay positive and move on
One of the best things you can do is to stay positive about yourself and your life. It’s easy to fall into the trap of negativity when bad things happen, but try to keep your perspective. Losing your job doesn’t mean your career is ruined. Having a marriage fail doesn’t make you a bad person, or a bad spouse. Remember to focus on the positive and continue to set goals.
Having a goal to reach can be one of the best things you do for yourself. Working toward something positive will not only get your mind off the problems you have, you’ll build self-confidence as you strive for something better.
Everyone makes mistakes, and everyone faces adversity. It’s what you do about that adversity that defines who you are and where your life is going.