Article in brief: coping with challenges is difficult, the author here suggests few of their personal steps to help through a tough time.
“Bad times have a scientific value. These are occasions a good learner would not miss.”
― Ralph Waldo Emerson
Many people we know might develop psychological problems like depression as a result of going through a tough time. It was hard for her to admit at first but overreacting gave my friend a sense of relief when she was coping with a difficult dilemma. A relative of mine developed a skin disease due to several stressful situations. Some people tend to develop illnesses as a side effect of challenging or stressful situations while others linger on bad habits like smoking or overeating. The question is: can we stop ourselves from becoming victims of stress?
Every aspect of our lives changes constantly, and because of that, we go through a continuous cycle of challenges and obstacles. We all struggle, but we struggle differently. So following some sort of personal guideline has always been helpful to me when overcoming these challenges. This is something I’ve learned over time and have trained myself to do subconsciously. I’m not saying that my way is the best or only way, but these are things I would like to share, that life has taught me to do in my humble 24 years of living.
1 – Choose the correct coping mechanism
Identifying the source of your stress is the most important step, after which you would need to choose the right coping mechanism. Coping is an activity we choose to do to help us find solutions to stressful situations. Psychologists have done extensive research on this matter creating hundreds of different coping mechanisms. Personally, I either focus on changing my attitude and mentality, or changing a certain behavior, or focusing on something to shift my mood. Choosing the right coping mechanism would depend on the situation I’m going through.
2 – Take action
I’ve always been afraid of taking action, even if it feels right. In some situations I gather the strength to take action after a talk with a friend or a colleague. Otherwise, I rarely find the courage to push myself. So don’t be like that, try to embrace that fear and conquer it; it will give you a sense of peace and achievement. Sometimes you think you need someone to push you, but most of the time you need the courage to push yourself.
3 – Find your balance
You always need to create a balance in your life. Live harmoniously by giving different aspects of your life the time they deserves. Different aspects typically include: work, spouse, children, friends, and your mind and body.
4 – Make time for yourself
You need to pamper yourself once in a while by feeding your mind and soul. Something as simple as jogging or as complicated as learning a new language could help alleviate stress. You could also take the time to practice a hobby that you’ve long forgotten or make the effort to discover a new one. Make time to focus on yourself, rather than on what others want you to do. That’s something that helped me so much in finding inner peace and harmony in my life. Having that sense of inner peace gave me clarity and strength to make accurate judgments and decisions. I started to focus on the things that made me happy and lifted my spirit, and only then I was able to give back my full potential to the other aspects of my life.
5 – Stay true but be flexible
Last but not least, stay true to who you are with all your emotions, both the happy and the painful.
Always remember that a challenge is a lesson; set goals but be flexible. If you couldn’t achieve what you wanted right now, keep trying and either it will happen or something better will.
Shamma holds a Masters Degree in Human Rights and a BA in International Affairs. She currently works as an instructor at Zayed University. Having volunteered with people with disability for more than 10 years, she devotes her career and free time to work closely with vulnerable groups to create a visible impact in society. Having interests in philosophy, human psyche, sociology, and literature her column “12 Lessons” will focus on issues that we face as a part of the trial and error process that is life.
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