Self Improvement Skills

How To Get Through The Hard Times

At some time or other in our lifetime, everyone among us have gone through hard, testing times - difficult times that have tested our belief in ourselves and in the fairness of this world.

We have failed at careers/relationships.

We have lost in love/have been rejected.

We have lost our most loved ones.

We have lost use of our body and/or mind.

We have lost all we had in a natural disaster.

We are left alone in our old age.

We have lost our homes.

We have consumed our body and mind with excessive drug use, addictions and like.

We have lost our jobs/our small business.

We have been bullied and harassed.

We have faced jail time and fines.

We have lost our dignity and our self-esteem at times


But we have come out of it somehow.

Caught between two darknesses, we try to bring light through our actions.


Tough times don't last, tough people do, remember?

- Gregory Peck


A stumble may prevent a fall.

- Thomas Fuller


It is not so much what happens to you as how you think about what happens.

- Epictetus


No guts, no story.

- Chris Brady


0. TEARS method: Talking - Exercising - Artistic expression- Recording or writing experiences - and Sobbing.


1. Don't avoiding your negative emotions during the tough times.

You may try to suppress the negative emotions, thinking you don't need that right now as try to find solutions. But you are only postponing the outbursts, and someday all that repressed feeling comes out more strong than before.


Acknowledging loss etc. can be very cathartic.


Some of the best literature have been produced about loss than other emotions.


2. Talk about troubles with people who would understand (people who have seen similar times, therapists etc)


The feedback and the act of 'getting it all out' has a balming effect.


3. See the upside/silver lining.


See past this moment of hardship. Every event comes with opportunities. In other words, see this as a 'glass half full' situation.


This will help put you in 'action' mode instead of that 'overthinking' mode.


Reframe your troubles. 'I didn't like Excel anyway'.


4. Look after yourself.


Don't give up on the good habits - healthy eating, exercise, relaxation/meditation etc.


Take a break. Go someplace else. At least take a nap right now, if the mind is shouting too much.


5. Classify your problems correctly.


In other words, don't 'catastrophize' everything. Some problems may just be inconvenience.


Increased commute time is an inconvenience. Losing a physical body function is a catastrophe. Different kinds of problems need different kinds of thinking and actions.


6. Let go of that which you cannot control.


Resilient people know there will be things they can't control, and focus on getting things they control right - healthy habits (healthy eating, exercise etc), positive thinking, confidence, planning, re-skilling, seeking alternatives etc.


7. Spend more time with positive people.

And less time with 'negative-speaking' toxic people. Avoid people whose job seems to be criticizing everything and demanding things from you even when you are down. These people don't own you and can't validate you either.


8. Live in the present.


That is the essence of mindful living - not getting lost in past or worked up about the future, but 'in the now'. Observe your brain's thinking patterns, your responses, the environment around you. Just observe. Try the 4-4-4 breathing.


9. If something bad is going on for a while now, stop it now. And start doing things.


The bad stuff won't go away, but you will be ready to solve the problem now that you have decided 'you have had enough'.


For example, being without a job for long? Just get out in the world, and get a job, any job. It won't solve your problems, but you have made a start.


'If you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem'.


10. Get some perspective


Look at your bad situation as a neutral onlooker would look. Many times, we are so worked up and wound up in our problematic world, we fail to get the big picture. For example, we don't realize that this persistent unemployment problem may be because,

- The industry is in a decline or

- Our skills are not up to mark.


11. You are not your problem/hard time


Your true self is much different than your current problem/hard time. You don't have to connect the two and say negative type of things such as 'Why do these things keep happening to me?', or, 'What's wrong with me?'.


Nothing is wrong with you. This is the nature of life. Things are never 100% predictable.


As for yourself, you have control over your skills, actions, thoughts, beliefs/values...these are the things that make you,, not the circumstances.


12. 'Fix the roof when the sun is shining'.


Prepare yourself for the hard times and hope for the best. That is all we can do when things are still good. We all may deal with hard times differently (and different things will work for each of us), but how we have prepared for the eventuality will help us bear through when the going is tough.


We started this with a saying, and let's end with another saying, 'when things get tough, the tough get going.'


13. Let others know what you need.


Even if you don't have a support network to help you, you can ask people closed to you for their emotional support at least. This will also help strengthen your relationships.


Ask people with resources and knowledge to help you. And specify what you need - moral support? physical help? recommendations?


You are not alone.


14. Be grateful for the good things in your life.


'Life is better when you’re smiling.'


15. Be patient and keep working at solutions.

Patience and grit. That's all you need to take you through the hard times. You won't get positive results immediately. Rome wasn't built in a day, they said.


Often, people get carried away with positive results at start and stop working hard at digging deeper.


Keep working till you have fully resolved your problem.


Enjoy the process.


'The journey is the destination'.


Thank you for reading.
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