Sometimes it can feel like the universe is conspiring against us. Everyday events, like sleeping through an alarm to losing the car keys can set a negative tone for the rest of the day. More catastrophic life events, like losing a loved one or going through a divorce, can send us into depression and make us feel like life is pointless. It usually seems like stressful events and chaos happens all at once.
The fact of the matter is that bad things will inevitably happen to us if we live long enough. How we respond when something stressful happens to us is largely dictated by our frame of mind. If we think that we are immune to difficulties or engage in negative thought patterns and self-talk, we are likely to experience more hardship and stress. But when we approach unpleasantness with a more optimistic frame of mind, we will find that we are better able to cope with the curve balls that life throws at us.
Four Tools For Handling The Bad Things In Life
Though is may seem like we are plagued by bad luck, we really aren’t. Life happens — and tough times are a natural part of life. By arming ourselves with these tools, we can better handle adversity when it strikes.
Get Out of the Negativity Cycle
It is fairly easy to cycle into negativity when it seems like the hits just keep on coming. Engaging in self-blame, slipping into depression, or reacting in anger are common reactions to stressful events. But reacting to the unpleasantness that happens to us with negativity will actually make it worse. Not better.
It may seem like an impossible task when coping with bad things happening, but we need to focus on what is going right in life. This will improve not only our frame of mind, but will trickle down and inevitably improve our circumstances. We tend to focus on the negative — which can make the situation seem much worse than it actually is. When we focus on more positive things, we will find more positive outcomes to difficult situations.
Bad Things Are Going to Happen; Be Prepared with Positivity
Coping with stressful events in a productive and meaningful way actually begins before the event occurs. By paying attention to our day-to-day thought patterns, we can start to coach our thoughts in a particular direction. A study published in the Journal of Behavior Research and Therapy found that when anxiety sufferers visualized positive outcomes to stressful events or worries, their overall anxiety levels decreased. If we tend to lean more negatively, we should try to practice positive self-talk and visualization.
Numerous scientific studies show that the power of positivity not only helps us cope when bad things happen to us, but can actually have benefits beyond getting us through tough times. These benefits include lower rates of depression and lower levels of distress. Additionally, they can lead to improved cardiovascular health and a longer life span. When our physical and mental health are in good shape, we are better able to cope with stressful events.
You Don’t Have to Go it Alone
Having a strong support network is important when we are going through a difficult time. We may not want to burden our friends or family with our struggles. Still, feeling like we are all alone can make even small difficulties feel insurmountable. Furthermore, using a trusted friend as a sounding board for our thoughts can help us find a way through stressful circumstances.
Accept the Situation to Stop Your Suffering
The only way out of a stressful situation is through it. When we resist the idea that bad things will happen, when we engage in constant negative thought patterns or remain in denial, we only prolong our suffering. We must accepting that some things are just not going well. This is not the same as inviting stress into our lives — on the contrary. Acceptance opens the door to begin constructively working through whatever is happening.
When we accept what is rather than resist it, we are better able to align our thoughts and actions to address the problem. Or we may realize there is nothing we can do to “fix” it (like when a loved one passes away). Acceptance hastens healing. Acceptance can allow us to learn from unpleasantness and to take advantage of the opportunities that disruption can provide.
Bad things are going to happen to us, but we can weather just about any storm if we approach stressful events with positivity. How we approach unpleasantness will largely determine how long we are impacted by it. By remaining in a positive frame of mind, we can minimize stress, improve our health, and invite more positivity into our lives.