When the Going Gets Tough…

J. F. Kennedy once said: “When the going gets tough, the tough gets going”. Sometimes, we all go through tough times in our lives. It’s those times when everything we do just kind of flops, and it feels like our life is going downhill, which makes us feel sad. In these challenging situations, retaining a positive mindset is probably the most important thing we can do. It allows us to stay upbeat, avoid pointless sorrow, persist through the hardship, find smart solutions and eventually turn the situation around.

Most of us really forget how to react when we are having troubled times. Our thinking becomes overly pessimistic and gloomy. But if we get calm and start thinking positively, we can do wonders with our emotional state and our capacity to overcome the challenge you’re facing.

Here are 5 thoughts to keep in mind when the going gets tough:

1. Bad Times have an Expiry Date

In life, everything ends. What to say, even life itself ends at some point without any prior alert or notification. Whether it’s good or bad, it doesn’t last forever. When a situation is troubling us, it may seem as if it will never end. But that’s just a subjective and distorted perception. Our minds tend to expand negative events as they happen and so it appears like they’ve been going on for a lot more than they really did, and as if they will continue to go on for a long time.

Nevertheless, even the worst kind of situations end at some point. Sometimes we need to do something to make them end or hurry that moment. Other times, they will simply wither and die on their own, and all we can do is give ourselves an instant motivation boost, have patience and wait.

2. Recall the Past Instances

God Almighty has blessed most of us with a strong memory. Another way to address a difficult situation is to remind ourselves how did we react the last time? Did we manage to overcome bad situation intelligently and swiftly and we’ve successfully overcome? We can find a solution nearly every time if we think hard enough.

When we do this, it acts as a reminder of our ability to handle challenges and get passed through. It boosts our sense of self-confidence and it eliminates the sense of helplessness. This attitude shift is most likely to motivate us to take action and get us to successfully rise above the situation.

3. Remember, We are Strong

When the going gets tough, it’s common for us to stop seeing our strengths and only be aware of our flaws. Thus, we see ourselves as losers, incapable to rise above difficult situations. But this is never true. Just like anyone else, we are a combination of both strengths and weaknesses. The key is to remind ourselves that we possess lots of strengths. Perhaps start thinking about some of them in particular. By doing this, our perception will shift and become more balanced.

To play on our strengths even better, find out what our motivation style is. When we understand that, we know how to stay motivated with the ways that fit us best. We all are surrounded with friends and family. Some of us get de-stressed in their company, some find peace in prayers, some at gym. Find your best companion and work along in difficult times.

4. It is a Learning Experience

As Bram Stoker, an Irish author once said that: “We learn from failure, not from success”. We usually forget this when the going gets tough. We see failure as an indicator that we’re not on the right path, but not as a learning experience which can put us on the right one.

Most learning in life comes from trial and error. And especially, when things aren’t going the way we want them to go, the best thing we do is to try to understand why this is happening, and learn from the experience. It is by learning and applying that learning that we’ll eventually turn things around.

5. Gratitude is an Attitude

The Holy Quran says: “If you are grateful, I will certainly give you more”. (14:7). Certain things may not be going well in our lives. When going through tough times in life, think about this for a while and start noticing the things to be grateful for. It will completely change our perspective. We’ll realise things aren’t that bad after all, and that, troubles and all, life is worth appreciating.

William Arthur Ward once said: “Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.” Gratitude is the gift that keeps on giving. Giving thanks throughout our lives is not only noble, it is smart. The benefits of expressing gratitude are well-documented. A study found that making a regular and deliberate effort to record one’s blessings improves a range of outcomes related to mental health and overall well-being. Keeping a gratitude journal is an increasingly popular personal practice.

Recommended Reading: Gratitude is an attitude

The Bottom Line

Let’s write these 5 ideas on a small card on a piece of paper and carry it with us all the time, in a pocket or in our wallet. And whenever we’re confronted with a tough situation, take out the piece of paper and mindfully read to ourselves at least once all 5 reminders on it.

You’ll notice that your mindset will begin to shift, you’ll become more positive and you’ll feel better. And once you’re in the right mindset and the right emotional state, it won’t take long before you’ll figure a way to overcome the tough situation you’re in. It all starts with the mindset. Good luck!


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