Adversity: a simple word with a difficult and complex manifestation in the real world. Adversity exists on a spectrum and can range from everyday problems to catastrophic issues. Either way, it is rare to go a day without facing some level of it. Think back to your last memorable instance of adversity. How did you feel? Did you become nervous and panicked? Stressed and overwhelmed? Yeah, me too. Which is why it’s important to find ways to cope with the challenges we are so frequently presented with. That is why, right here, right now, I’d like to slow down for a moment and just fast facts: life is tough and full of challenges.
First off, it is imperative that you understand deep in the marrow of your bones that there is no template to this; the way you deal with adversity will be different from how everyone else deals with this erstwhile companion. Finding your own unique methods to solving problems is one of the greatest strengths you can develop in this life. As long as you are facing your challenges and not running from them, you are on the right path. The following methods for dealing with adversity are ones that have worked for me, and ones that you can hopefully incorporate into your life.
- Face the Problem. As stated above, it never helps to brush problems under the rug. Unfortunately, no one has ever fixed their problems by avoiding them (unless that problem is a stalker or a wild ravenous animal, I suppose). Of course, this is easier said than done, but it is doable. No problem is totally insurmountable. You always have the right to be upset when unfortunate events take place in your life, but how you let them effect you is ultimately up to you. The next time the shit hits the fan, just try taking a step back and putting it in perspective. Ask yourself, is this problem worth a meltdown? What are some ways of making it better? Will this really affect me in the long run? So why not use your energy to start fixing the problem instead of endlessly lamenting it?
- Find Someone Who Inspires You. We’ve all heard of “rags-to-riches” fables and have probably been impressed by at least a few them. People who beat what seem to be inevitable odds are often lauded in our culture and vicariously leaned on as pillars of strength by much of our society. Try to think of someone who you feel you have a personal connection to and who inspires you to be a better person. It can your parents, your spouse, your kids, your friends, or even someone famous. As long as their story of overcoming their struggles gives you strength in weak times, there is nothing wrong with indulging in a little admiration.
- Build an External Support System. Again, when the shit hits the fan, not only does it help to face facts, it helps to have a team of loving people around you who can catch you if you start to fall. Whether this comes in the form of family or friends, it deeply important to have people to talk to and relate to when you are faced with a challenge. If you are finding it difficult to find people who are willing to be there for you, ask yourself a couple questions. First, are you making an effort to be there for others? And, are you surrounding yourself with compassionate people? If the answer to both questions are no, it should be fairly unsurprising that you have not found the support in life that you deserve. You and I both know that you are entitled to a great support system. As with all of these tips, it isn’t necessarily easy to build one. But with a little hard work and compassion for others, strong, supportive relationships that last for life can be cultivated.
- Build an Internal Support System. Just as important as the outside is the inside. Inner strength is perhaps what it all comes down to. You can have thousands of people who love you unconditionally, but if you don’t love yourself, it won’t necessarily amount to much (think celebrities, for example). Without a strong sense of self, certain issues in life can be downright impossible to bear. Also, what happens if your external support system flakes out on you, as it sometimes can? That’s when you have to be able to rely on yourself to get up and try again. By continually doing activities that raise your self-esteem and consolidate your sense of identity, you can build an inner wall that is stronger than any problem capable of occurring in the external world. Your internal support system can also be greatly benefited by accruing a set of successful coping mechanisms. Whether it’s running, writing, singing, reading, etc. any way of coping you can find that is healthy and lowers your stress levels is never a bad thing.
- Accept that Some Adversity Is Inevitable. This one is important, and goes hand in hand with facing your problems. If you cannot accept that life will get rocky at times, you are setting yourself up for several rude awakenings. There will be many problems throughout your life, and there will be times that will be downright shitty. As long as you are expecting this, however, without letting yourself ruminate about all the things that can go wrong in a day, you will be capable of achieving a perfect balance of consciousness. If I may I’d like to make a slight modification to a trite but true cliche; instead of “hoping for the best and expecting the worst,” instead try to hope for the best and keep in mind that there is a worst, and that it will probably never happen. Again it’s all about perspective: knowing you can deal with whatever happens, and knowing that, in some way, it will turn out all right no matter what.
Here at 1000 Folded Cranes Acupuncture Clinic we enjoy trying to find ways to make your life happier and healthier. Dr. Fred has spent many years treating patients with emotional imbalances. Because, truly, that is all it is—an emotional imbalance. And the key is finding a spot, any spot will do, in which to place your fulcrum. You do that; you stick a post in the ground and say, “Right here. Here is where I stand!”—and the fulcrum is set and the balance will follow.