9 Ways To Get Through Hardship

This has been a challenging year. One that will never be forgotten throughout history. It all began with the bushfires in Australia continuing into 2020, and then Covid19 spreading around the globe. It soon came to our shores and what followed was lockdown. On top of that, economic uncertainty, and many people losing their jobs and businesses. As for lockdown currently, it all depends on where you live in the world. But here in Australia the state of Victoria is at stage 4 lockdown. It has been confirmed that mental health support groups, have been swamped with about a 20 percent jump in pleas for help in Victoria since Melbourne’s stage three and stage four lockdown restrictions began.

What’s even worse, are people who have had to die alone, watch loved ones die through a glass, and many who could not attend funerals of family members.

The big blows for me personally, was the suicide of my friend in January, and only recently watching my friends and family suffer from the explosion in Beirut. Hundreds of lives lost, thousands of people injured and displaced. Something that will take a long time to recover from.

But now I want to talk about resilience. Because without it, we won’t be able to survive any of this, not only as an individual, but as a community, country and globe. During my hardest times, it’s resilience that carried me through. Unfortunately, resilience is not taught enough in schools, or in the workplace. However, it’s our resilience during our tragedies that will determine our future. Resilience is about our ability to pick ourselves up time and time again after hardship and tragedy. It’s about persevering no matter how much pain, loss and misfortune we may face.

Setbacks, chaos and tragedy are all a part of life. Loss and pain are in the life cycle. It is normal and healthy to feel hurt, anger, sadness, pain and loneliness. Yet there are those who after the grieving period make a decision not to be a victim, appreciate the lessons they learned in their pain, realise their blessings and try to make their life better.

Here is a list that I’ve made based on my own personal experiences, as well as coaching clients and workshops I’ve run, that will help you move towards resilience. But more so, these are some of the practices that I’ve applied to get myself out of my darkest days.

1. Breathe and Move — During this time you are probably not moving enough. Uncertainty also causes us to hold our breath for a long time throughout the day. It is known that deep breathing releases pleasure inducing neurochemicals. Also, 70% of our body’s toxins are released through deep breathing. Physiology is another aspect that plays a big part in how we feel. Try doing this; hunch over, frown and hold your breath. I don’t need to ask how you feel. Your sad physical state automatically sends messages to your brain that you’re not feeling so good. Now try doing this; stand up tall, pull your shoulders back, put a big smile on your face, and walk around the room like you’re a superhero. Even add a little dance while you’re at it. If you want to take the breathing and moving further, turn on YouTube, and do a yoga session.

2. Find a Purpose — Perhaps you or your spouse may have lost your job. Or maybe you’re living in isolation and fear because of this virus. When we are feeling down, it’s hard to focus on anything but anxiety. However, many people who went through hardship reported back that it was through that time that they found their purpose. So, through this experience try to find your passion in life and have something to work towards and look forward to. Maybe a mental or physical challenge. I highly recommend checking out the 75 hard by Andy Frisella challenge. Or perhaps create a 30 and 90-day plan of what you will achieve on a mental, physical, personal, and spiritual level. It’s all about where you put your focus. Some people even get excited about mastering a new hobby or skill such as learning a new language or gardening.

3. Build Self-Belief — At the moment with so much loss and chaos, it’s hard to have belief in anything, let alone self-belief. But to be honest, it’s one of the very few things that we can have control over. But, building self-belief is a discipline. It doesn’t happen in one day at some personal development workshop, but through months of practice, repetition, and conditioning. Anytime we have a thought that tells us that we’re not good enough, or that we will fail, we have to consciously change those thoughts to something more empowering. I suggest starting off the day with writing down self-belief statements. But most important, be aware of your toxic thoughts and always counter those thoughts.

4. Focus on the Circle of Control — We cannot control what is happening around us, and we definitely cannot control the pandemic. Neither can we control politics, politicians, or the economy. And we most certainly can’t control the people around us, or their attitudes, beliefs and even their opinions. The world is very divided at the moment, and everyone believes that they are right. As soon as we get too attached to our own beliefs and start dictating how people should think is when we will begin to lose control and suffer. But, the one thing we can control at the moment is ourselves, attitude, how we react, who we befriend, and the information we consume.

5. Nurture Yourself — Imagine you had a friend who was feeling depressed and neglected themselves all week. What would you try and do to help them feel better? Get them out of bed? Convince them to take a shower, eat some healthy food and maybe go for a nice walk on the beach? Perhaps watch a comedy that will make them laugh? You are your own friend. This is the time to focus on you. Make a list of all the simple pleasures that make you feel good and do them. Create a ‘The Perfect Day’ schedule. Then add all of the things that you will do that day in order to make it a perfect day.

6. Minimise Your News Time — Now this also applies to your social media newsfeed. Scrolling your newsfeed all day and absorbing the world’s tragedies is unhealthy for our psychology. It’s human nature to become absorbed by tragedy and chaos. Consuming content of murder, death, kill, economic collapse, and chaos will only leave you feeling more anxious. I’m not suggesting that you ignore suffering, but to simply understand if this is more of an addiction than actually caring about the world. And I will be honest, this one is hard for me because I love politics and can get highly opinioned and self-righteous about it all. But what I do when I get sucked in, is start and end my day with positive mind feeds that include motivational and educational audios, videos, books, or articles. I kind of immerse myself into them.

7. Surround Yourself With a Supportive Community — We are so lucky that during this pandemic we have the technology to keep us connected with friends, family, and communities across the world. Imagine what it would have been like 100 years ago during the Spanish flu? During this time, it’s critical to surround yourself with likeminded people. Whether it’s good friends who you jump on a phone or zoom call with, or through an online group. Talking through your feelings may help you release negative energy and come up with solutions to move forward.

8. Look at What You’re Grateful For — Despite everything, what is it that you’re grateful for? For myself personally, one of the things that I am grateful for is to be able to live in this great country called Australia. I often feel guilty to have family in Lebanon who don’t have things like jobseeker, jobkeeper or social security. Despite all this, many of them are resilient and are grateful people. A study by the University of Kentucky in 2012 demonstrated that grateful people are more likely to behave in a prosocial manner, even when others behave less kind. Participants who ranked higher on gratitude scales had more empathy and sensitivity towards others and were less reactive when given negative feedback. A daily gratitude list doesn’t have to be so complicated. Writing out just a few small good things that happened in your day that you’re grateful for is enough. Do this for 30 days and you may notice a shift.

9. Accept that Pain is a Necessity for Growth — Life is hard. There is no other way around it. But it’s also important to realise that it’s the hard bits in life that give us our strength to endure and grow. In fact, many people who were protected as children and had everything handed to them, may not be as resilient later in life when tragedy strikes. So once we understand that life was never meant to be easy and surrender to this fact, and accept it as a necessity for growth, is when we could ever truly be happy. Because someday you might be asking why me? And the difference between those who continue to live and grow stronger and others who collapse mentally and never recover is that they accept that life was never meant to be easy, recognise the beauty in it, take responsibility for their own feelings and continue to look ahead.

I am fully aware that when we are emotionally suffering, our body hurts, we lack energy, and our thoughts are invaded with self-doubt. Applying many of the things I have suggested can therefore be challenging. It is also crucial to feel the pain and accept it for the time being. Don’t try to ignore or block the feelings. Even worse, go out and drink your sorrows away. Because emotions will come back to manifest in even uglier ways later.

There are also certain types of mental illnesses, life experiences and circumstances that may make recovery time take longer. Some people may get stuck in the denial or anger stages of grief for longer than others. It is imperative not to judge ourselves and seek medical help if necessary.

I myself have been through several dark times. At one point I couldn’t get out of bed, function or go to work for months. I dealt with the pain, tried not to fight it, and accepted my situation. But it came to the point where I refused to stay in bed and changed my environment, developed new found hobbies and later on a new purpose. I can’t say that my pain went away automatically, but when I did finally come out of that time, I came out more grateful, resilient and found my purpose. I still do have bad days as everyone else, and suffer from anxiety, but throughout the years and personal development work, I’ve developed tools to deal with it in a non-self-destructive way.

Just remember that many times negative experiences, even one like a pandemic, are often lessons that are there to help build our patience and resilience. We can either use those lessons to break, crumble, and keep playing the same tragic film in our heads, or let go, look ahead and keep growing.

By Rana Kordahi

--

--

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Rana Kordahi

Sales Coach - Mindset Coach - TEDx Speaker - Keynote Speaker -Writer- Founder.