How to break through adversity…3 ways to keep going and to nurture your soul
I have an admission to make, the past year in my life has been good overall, but not without managing various challenges…Challenges like stress…work has been a bit full on, I had a leg infection from a cat scratch, which left my lower right leg aching and a bit red and me a little tired, plus there are some other personal worries and concerns to contend with as well…
In talking to my friends, it seems I am not the only one going through some sort of challenge…
Whether you are a business owner, even though you are doing what you love, or semi-retired and not working as much and enjoying life more… you will face adversity, challenges and stress…it is called life, it is just what it is!
So in this article, I want to share how you can meet stress in the face and move through it gently. First it is important to know that you are in good company, if you are reading this, you are not alone in your stress, pain or challenge.
It seems the older we get, we may face some sort of health issue, financial crisis, job loss, job challenge, relationship issue or someone we love will face these…and that has us hurting for them as well.
So what can we do to move through these life challenges?
One thing is just that. Move through. Don’t avoid them, try not to numb the pain either with bad health habits like turning to alcohol, over-eating, drugs etc. You need your wits about you if you are going to face adversity and you have to feel the pain of the situations, it is in feeling the pain do you know you are truly human!
As a colleague of mine said this week, just know that whatever you are going through that “this too shall pass”
Go through the emotions, release them proactively, nurture yourself, be healthy, have a don’t give up attitude, get outside help and visualize each day that you will breakthrough, you will!
I find it is human nature to be hard on yourself when key parts of your life aren’t going well…but ask yourself this when you begin to have self-doubt or you aren’t happy with yourself for having to go through challenging times and issues…
In her book “Loving what is”- therapist, coach, speaker Byron Katie has us explore or beliefs when we face adversity and encourages us to explore these 4 questions…
Question 1: Is it true?
This question can change your life. Be still and ask yourself if the thought you wrote down is true.
Question 2: Can you absolutely know it’s true?
This is another opportunity to open your mind and to go deeper into the unknown, to find the answers that live beneath what we think we know.
Question 3: How do you react—what happens—when you believe that thought?
With this question, you begin to notice internal cause and effect. You can see that when you believe the thought, there is a disturbance that can range from mild discomfort to fear or panic. What do you feel? How do you treat the person (or the situation) you’ve written about, how do you treat yourself, when you believe that thought? Make a list, and be specific.
Question 4: Who would you be without the thought?
Imagine yourself in the presence of that person (or in that situation), without believing the thought. How would your life be different if you didn’t have the ability to even think the stressful thought? How would you feel? Which do you prefer—life with or without the thought? Which feels kinder, more peaceful?
Turn the thought around:
The “turnaround” gives you an opportunity to experience the opposite of what you believe. Once you have found one or more turnarounds to your original statement, you are invited to find at least three specific, genuine examples of how each turnaround is true in your life.
You see, according to Katie, she suggests “that all the suffering that goes on inside our minds is not reality”. She adds that “It’s just a story we torture ourselves with.” She has a simple, completely replicable system for freeing ourselves of the thoughts that make us suffer. “All war begins on paper,” she explains. You write down your stressful thoughts, and then ask yourself the four questions above:
What I am really trying to get across is when you do face a life challenge, stress, or issue that throws you off course, don’t make it worse by being hard on yourself. we all go through things, each one of us…if it is a financial issue, well, even the rich go through tough times, if it is a health issue, at some point we all go through something…if it is a relationship issue, we all go through times where those we love challenge us and yes, we may not like who they are being in the moment.
When you face adversity, be good to yourself first. In fact this is the time to really practice self love and nurture yourself so you remain strong during the stressful times in your life.
Eat well, rest, get your exercise, talk it out, manage your anger or frustration in a positive way, personally I scream in the car alone or take my boxing gloves and hit the bag at the gym, getting any frustration and emotion out. Oh and I write!
I will write a letter and let out all my frustrations, hurts and anger and then I print it and then I burn it, letting it all go!
Here is this week’s “Weekly 3”, to help you overcome adversity, know I wish you an adversity free life…may we all have that!
1) Practice Self Care:
Do things to soothe the soul…for example…a simple walk in the park or in nature does wonders!
A walk in the park may soothe the mind and, in the process, change the workings of our brains in ways that improve our mental health, according to an interesting new study of the physical effects on the brain of visiting nature.
Gregory Bratman, a graduate student at the Emmett Interdisciplinary Program in Environment and Resources at Stanford University, who has been studying the psychological effects of urban living. He and his colleagues found that volunteers who walked briefly through a lush, green portion of the Stanford campus were more attentive and happier afterward than volunteers who strolled for the same amount of time near heavy traffic.
Eat your greens! We all know what our moms said as we grew up…but here are a few reasons to eat well, when you are stressed!
It lowers risks, of type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, Alzheimer’s and heart disease…the adversity you face is already beating up on your cortisol and adrenal system, eating your greens will help you fend off health risks associated with times of stress…
Eating your greens also helps prevent cancer, digestive problems, it helps you cognitively as well as it it lowers biomarkers for oxidative stress…
See your mom was bang on about eating your greens!
Get your rest…make sure you listen to your body and allow time to rest and rejuvenate yourself so you can face life’s challenges with the needed energy and vitality. I find when I am tired, I make poorer decisions and I tend to grab foods that aren’t as healthy!
Publishing magnate (I think I can call her that) Arianna Huffington from the Huffington Post…writes about sleep in her book, the Sleep Revolution…in it she challenges are views on sleep and the importance of it…
In The Sleep Revolution, Arianna Huffington, shows how our cultural dismissal of sleep as time wasted compromises our health and our decision-making and undermines our work lives, our personal lives – and even our sex lives. She explores all the latest science on what exactly is going on while we sleep and dream. She takes on the dangerous sleeping pill industry, and all the ways our addiction to technology disrupts our sleep. She also offers a range of recommendations and tips from leading scientists on how we can get better and more restorative sleep, and harness its incredible power.
2) Talk it out
Get thee to the therapist! Talk about your issues, challenges and find peace in them. I think the first thing is knowing you aren’t alone, but then you need to begin to get perspective, talk to others, get input as to how you can overcome them and deal with them better…When you can talk it out and express yourself, you free yourself up from the burdens you may be facing and when you are free you think better and can handle the adversity a little better…
For men reading this, it is okay to be real with our feelings and not bottle them up inside…the more you keep it locked in the more you may face a health issue, like heart, digestive and depression…
We don’t want our stress to manifest into any other aspect of our lives, so talk it out, have a buddy, a therapist, a mastermind team…but get help! Please!!!
3) Practice these 3 things every day-Visualization, gratitude and meditation
Studies after studies show the power of gratitude, meditation and visualization. Even pro basketball players who visualize themselves throwing free throws see an improvement in sinking those throws…
Heart doctor, author and health expert Dr. Dean Ornish, is a big proponent of meditation to help calm the central nervous system…
When you experience a life change or demand, the sympathetic nervous system sends messages to muscles, organs and glands, which help the body react. Powerful chemicals like adrenaline, cortisol and aldosterone, and other neurotransmitters released by the adrenal glands and other organs, have multiple effects on the body:
• increased heart rate (causing increased need for blood flow to the heart)
• increased blood pressure (increased tension in blood vessel walls)
• blood vessel spasming
• heart rhythm disturbances
• increased stomach acid which can lead to stomach pain, indigestion and heartburn
• decreased blood flow to the stomach and intestines with decreased ability to digest foods
• increased muscle tension which can lead to headache, neck and backaches
• increased blood clotting and thickness
• increased cholesterol
• increased blood sugar
• short, shallow breathing
• abnormalities in immune functioning
• fluid retention
Practicing yoga, breath work and meditation can have profound impacts on stress, heart disease, inflammation and much more…
According to Dr. Ornish, “research suggests, practices to reduce stress and calm the mind — in conjunction with intimacy, community and social support — may be as important as diet and exercising when it comes to maintaining good health”, Ornish explains.
Lastly, as bad as the adverse situation you are facing is, always find gratitude for the many things that happen each day. A sunrise, the leaves growing back on the tree’s right now, a child’s smile, your buddy buying you a coffee, a caring co-worker, that your family is well, that you have a friend to call on, or that the Blue Jays won last night…or maybe the Leaf’s…it is hockey season after all !!!
There is so much to celebrate!
May you have an easy, less-stress, happy healthy holiday season and new year ahead!