When Life Throws You Lemons, Make Lemonade
by Angie Miller
Five Ways to Deal with Adversity
One thing we can always count on is that life is unpredictable. Our circumstances often change unexpectedly and our coping skills are put to the test. Resilience, the ability to recover from adversity, trauma, or hardship, is a trait that gives us the ability to “bounce back.” For many of us, being resilient doesn’t come naturally. We resist change, and dislike situations that have potential to disrupt our lives; but reality is that we all face adversity. Divorce, job loss, moving, illness, and other hardships require strong coping skills and effective strategies to move forward in a positive direction. Whether you’re naturally resilient or you strive for predictability, the following five strategies were designed to help you cope effectively with life’s challenges.
- Establish or maintain a healthy support system. Establishing a supportive community that includes family and friends is pivotal, especially when times are uncertain. Connecting with people you trust gives you a safe place to be heard and express your fears and concerns. Having them by your side will foster the sense of security you need to get through difficult times.
- Allow opportunity for growth. No matter how difficult or tragic a situation, time has the power to heal. With time we gain clarity and perspective and soon discover that even the most unfortunate situations lead to self-discovery. Hardships help us grow in unexpected ways and through them we’re able to appreciate what is good and true in our lives.
- Accept change as a natural part of life. Despite our best intentions and best-laid plans, life is unpredictable. The more we accept this, the healthier our attitude and ability to adjust. Ultimately the more flexible we become, and therefore more capable of growing and evolving to meet life’s demands.
- Respond with action. As tempting as it is to crawl under the covers when adversity strikes, taking action and being able to face the situation will empower you. After the first step, every step gets a little easier. Pretending that problems will go away or detaching yourself emotionally will only prolong the inevitable; at some point you will have to deal with the situation.
- Nurture your mind, body, and spirit through exercise. Exercise acts as a natural drug and increases serotonin levels in much the same way that Prozac does. Increased serotonin levels elevate your mood and give you a natural mental boost. Exercise reduces anxiety, stabilizes your emotions, and helps free you from disabling thoughts. When stress is at its peak and emotions are heightened, exercise is your best defense.
Best to you in good health, lots of laughter, and loving relationships
Angie Miller, M.S., is a fitness educator, university instructor, and Licensed Professional Counselor who blends her skills and expertise to empower individuals, mentally and physically, and provide them the tools they need to succeed. A veteran group exercise instructor and personal trainer, Angie is the star of acclaimed exercise DVD’s, including the Bedroom Body™ workout. Her passion for progressive education brought her to Northern Illinois University, where she teaches in the Dept. of Kinesiology & Physical Education. Outside of the university, she presents at fitness conventions worldwide and leads industry trainings as an AFAA Certification Specialist and Kettlebell Concepts Master Instructor. Angie writes for fitness journals and digital communities, and blogs for Collage Video. Connect with Angie at: http://www.angiemillerfitness.com