Life can be hard sometimes. Like when you feel you’re between a rock and a hard place. But with the right mindset, you can survive those challenging times just like the violet pictured above who has literally figured out a way to survive – and beautifully – between a stone wall and the sidewalk.
Change your wording
Say “for” instead of “to”. For example, do you sometimes think or say, “Why is this happening to me?” Of course, you do; we all do. Instead, try saying, “Why is this happening for me?” Life happens for us. This one word can help to change your perspective toward the challenges you’re facing. Because those moments of hardship can be great teachers. Check out this 10 Ways to Practice Positive Self Talk Post.
Keep a gratitude journal
Practicing gratitude can be an antidote to sadness and negativity. And it’s been proven that practicing gratitude can rewire your brain to improve your happiness levels in the long run! Your journal can be as simple as a legal pad, compact as a Moleskine, or a guided gratitude journal. Writing is always nicer with a good pen; here’s a link to Wirecutter’s six best. Or if you like to doodle when you write, a nice set of colored markers might be a good motivator for you.
Prioritizing self-care can be a great help during times of challenge. Speak kindly to yourself, read a self-help book, start a new hobby, get plenty of sleep and exercise, or make time for a bubble bath each week (or how about a goat milk bath? Read more about that here). My favorite treat is spending some quiet time in a beautiful place – a local park or (in the best-case scenario, a beach). But you do you! Do what you love.
Keep an open mind and perspective
Sometimes our rock-bottom moments can act as a springboard to launch us toward self-improvement. Whatever you are going through, think of what it has taught you. How can you transform this challenge into an opportunity? Sure, it may take a while, but with the right mindset, you’ll be amazed at the discoveries you make. And a change of perspective can be cathartic, and dare I say life-changing? Because looking at the world in a different way is just that. Realizing that people will not always react to situations like you do and not getting angry with them when they don’t was a game-changer for me. Read more about letting go of feelings that don’t serve you here.
Surround yourself with loved ones
Your family and friends can be the beacons of light you need in life, especially those times when you feel like you are stuck between a rock and a hard place. Reaching out to them for support or even just to laugh together can provide the endurance you need to help you keep going. Of course, friends and family can also be the source of a lot of drama and frustration. The ability to extricate yourself from situations with loved ones that make your blood boil can be a true challenge. Here’s an article on how to do just that from Inc.
Allow yourself to have bad days
Forcing yourself to be positive can build up negative emotions and backfire over time. Allow yourself to feel all your emotions and make space for them. Crying is actually a great emotional release, so grab the tissue box and let the tears flow if it’s helpful to you. I, for one, love a good cry and it doesn’t take much for me to well up. A sappy greeting card? Sniffles. An “I did it because I love you” TV commercial? Tears trickling. When Mufasa dies in The Lion King? Sobs. Watching the movie, The Notebook? Gimme the entire box of Kleenex. If you’re not a crier, but think it would be a good release for how you’re feeling, read this article from The Cut.
Make a list of the things you can manage
If you worry about all the things you can’t control, and that worry leaves you exhausted, stop, and take a breath. It’s hard but try to accept what you can’t control and make a list of what you can. Even if all you can control is your attitude and your effort, it’s important to acknowledge what you’re capable of doing. I know what you’re thinking, “Stop worrying? Are you kidding me right now? How can I possibly?” Check out this article from Banner Health for some great guidance.
Spend time in nature
Unplug from your video streaming, your smartphone, and reality TV, and take a walk outside. Here you can find many examples of life springing from between a rock and a hard place! Spending time in nature can have an incredibly positive impact on your mood and your mental health. Being in nature is a good opportunity to practice mindfulness—which can produce many positive effects on your life. New to mindfulness? Here are some ways to get started.
Exercise improves mental health by reducing anxiety, depression, and negative mood and by improving self-esteem and cognitive function. Exercise has also been found to alleviate symptoms such as low self-esteem and social withdrawal. From less stress to a boost in self-esteem, exercise is as great for your brain as it is for your body. Click here for tips on how to get moving and stay active.
Add positivity to someone else’s life
Every time the world is struck by disaster — and that seems to be almost a daily occurrence these days – millions of people rally around those affected to show their support. Service is a powerful and life-changing tool—especially amid our own challenges. Selflessness can give us purpose, hope, and strength to carry on.
We all play a part in one another’s day-to-day happiness. So, what would happen if all of us did everything we could to ensure each person we encountered had a good day? What would our world look like if we started spreading positivity wherever we go, however we can? Click here for suggestions on how to do just that.
Hopefully, this blog post will help you, if you find yourself between a rock and a hard place, to not only survive but also to thrive. Just like the violet.