Resilience: How you can use your setbacks and pain to create a better life


Life can be extremely hard at times. But out of adversity will always come opportunity. You can convert your negative experiences into positive ones to help you through life. Here’s how

Find a sense of purpose

Finding a sense of purpose in your life might seem a bit of a luxury but it plays a more important role than we might first think.

Life is hard, and with it comes its own set of challenges, pain, and perspectives. Your story will be different to most other people’s but with that comes the unique opportunity to convert them into a sense of purpose.

You may find that you want to help those who are going through similar situations to the ones that you have overcome. You can show them how you did it, and offer guidance and support. How you transform your pain into purpose is entirely down to you but it might help if you get involved with community causes or groups that you feel drawn to.

Being connected to others helps you discover people that share similar values and interests, and working with them towards a common goal will reignite a reason for pushing forward.

Believe in yourself

Having confidence to back yourself when times are hard is crucial to surviving them.

The fact that you’ve come this far just goes to show that you already have great levels of resilience. But changing your perspective on how you deal with them will make things less stressful.

The way that you view yourself underpins the success in which you deal with life’s challenges. Reminding yourself that you can cope with anything on a daily basis will help you believe that you can. Give yourself positive affirmations daily.

Everyone is a critic so while people are entitled to air their opinions, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you have no worth.

Maintain friendships

Keeping your strains and stresses to yourself is always going to eat you up from the inside so it’s important to maintain and develop a good social network.

Being able to verbally express your problems can make you feel better but the beauty of talking to people is that they can think about your problems differently and possibly think of alternative solutions.

Friends will more often than not also provide you with positive feedback. They will remind you that you are doing a good job, despite what you think. They can see things from an outside perspective and they’ll be able to help talk you through the things that are weighing you down.

Welcome change

Change is an inevitable fact of life and the sooner we accept that fact, the easier life becomes as we move through it.

Being flexible to change stops us from wasting energy trying to push back against it. Better still, change can also provide us with new opportunities that perhaps weren’t there before. It could give you an opportunity to improve yourself or a situation. You can learn new things or develop new skills, even if it’s the art of being more flexible and optimistic. For every negative event that happens, it will always contain a seed of opportunity to make a positive outcome.

Remember that it is not life events that shape us. It’s how we react and deal with those life events. We have the power within ourselves to affect the outcome.

Think positively

Maintaining a positive outlook on life, especially when it seems that everything is crashing down around us, can be very difficult.

Thinking positively doesn’t mean ignoring the problems of life, or daydreaming at the expense of practical solutions. It’s about reminding yourself that whatever is going on is temporary, and that whatever the setback is, it can be fixed. Even in some of the most darkest days, there is always hope that there are better days ahead.

A good way to start thinking positively is to accept your past mistakes for what they were, and leaving them in the past. Mistakes happen and while we can learn from them, dwelling on them does no good to anyone.

Try and view obstacles and setbacks as opportunities to learn new things. Identify the situations that trigger you negatively, and try to look at them from a different angle. Instead of telling yourself that you ‘have to’, tell yourself that you ‘get to’. This will help bring a sense of gratitude to your life, and equip you for other challenges.

Look after yourself

Because your physical wellbeing is so closely linked to your mental wellbeing, taking care of yourself physically can help you get through life’s toughest challenges. And it’s not just exercise that helps – you may want to explore how your diet affects you. Improving your diet can give you more energy, lift your mood and help you think more clearly.

Keep hydrated by drinking plenty of water and keeping caffeine and alcohol to a minimum. Nourish your body with the vitamins and minerals it needs and it will reward you with more positive moods. Also get the sleep that you need. Both your body and mind need it.

Problem solve

Taking the time to solve a problem will give you the confidence to deal with the next problem that comes along.

When a problem does arise, count to ten to avoid going into panic mode. Then reassure yourself that you can deal with the problem, even if the solution doesn’t present itself straight away.

Look at the problem logically, without emotion. Then break it down and apply solutions for each piece in a timely manner.

Set and achieve goals

To begin with, it might be a good idea to set yourself a personal vision statement, in which you can identify core values and aims in life. Doing this will help you create a basic roadmap for the next few years, allowing you to visualise and aim for medium and long-term goals.

It will also help allay your stress since you know exactly where you’re headed, even if temporary setbacks creep up in the meantime.

You’ll also feel a great sense of achievement when you stop to look back at what you’ve accomplished.

Improve yourself

Life shouldn’t be about just getting through it. It should be about feeling fulfilled and making the most of your experiences.

Continuous self-improvement goes a long way towards that because it enlightens you to new possibilities and opportunities. Whether it’s trying out a new hobby, creating an inspirational room, or even starting that educational course you’ve always wanted to do, improving yourself will give you more confidence to overcome the challenges of everyday life.

One clever trick is to write a letter to your future self, outlining where you want to be and what kind of person you want to be. Date and seal the letter, and then set about aiming to achieve all those self-improvements that you’ve included in the letter.




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