When times are hard, you can be negative or positive. If you choose to be negative, you’ll make challenging periods even more difficult by increasing your own suffering. Stewing in negative thoughts and feelings is not good for anyone.

Using difficult experiences as an opportunity to learn and grow is a far better option. This will both help you in your current situation and prepare you for future challenges. Tough times give you an unrivalled opportunity to learn 5 vital things that will serve you throughout your life:

1. Learn Where Your Power Lies

Challenges can force us to look at what we do, and don’t, have control over. This is useful as many people spend an enormous amount of energy on things they have no power to influence. If you’ve ever so much as moaned about the weather, you’ve done this too.

What you’ll find is that the only thing you can guarantee that you have sway over is yourself. It may seem scary to be at the mercy of external circumstances much of the time. But not accepting the facts is worse because it means that you won’t act skilfully to meet the reality. It’s like standing in the rain and simply refusing to get wet; it doesn’t work.

Quit ‘carrying’ all the stuff you can’t control and notice how much lighter you feel. Focus on your personal power and see how much easier it is to achieve your goals. Realise that the benefit of starting, and ending, with you is that nothing and no-one can ever take your personal power away.

2. Learn to Respond, Not React

Responding, rather than reacting, means slowing down and actively choosing your thoughts and behaviours rather than engaging mindlessly with a situation.

If you’ve had an unhelpful thought, replace it with a more helpful and equally (or more) true thought. For example, if you’ve been telling yourself “I can’t cope with this!”, replace that with a more empowering mantra such as “I am dealing with this as well as I can.”

Instead of reaching for cake or alcohol when you feel low, try sitting with your feelings and learning to tolerate them. Or use a healthier tool to help you lighten your mood, such as music, meditation, or movement. Responding, rather than reacting, always gives better long-term results.

3. Learn What Matters

Hardship can sometimes mean we’re deprived of things we thought mattered to us. When your life is stripped to the bare bones of surviving a challenging time, it gives you the chance to see what is, and isn’t, important.

Notice all the things you are truly grateful for in troubling times. I bet it’s the basic things like food and shelter. Make a note of the things you miss like crazy. Again, it’s probably simple stuff like connections with other people or acts of self-care.

If you are forced to give up the trinkets and baubles of life, you’ll probably realise that you didn’t need them. In fact, many of these things may have been draining your energy and wasting your time. Remember this when things normalise and reallocate your energies to what really matters.

4. Learn About Yourself

Tough times highlight our strengths and weaknesses. When you’re put under pressure, make a note of all the things you do well and appreciate yourself for those skills. Take a good look at areas where you’d like to improve.

Investigate what makes you tick. What do you find beautiful? What motivates you? You may make some surprising discoveries about yourself. You might learn that your true values are different from what you assumed you cared about.

After thorough self-investigation, take up new practices that support the improvements you’d like to make. It’s OK to start small and build upon that foundation later. But you must begin with real, concrete goals, such as doing X for 20 minutes a day. Journal about your progress to stay on track and celebrate how far you’ve come.

5. Learn to Navigate Change

Challenges always bring about changes. Sometimes things are taken from us. Sometimes we choose to surrender things. Neither is easy. Human beings tend to dislike change, even if it’s for the better, because what is familiar feels safe. This is an illusion, even if it feels true.

Making changes can be achieved through everything we already talked about. Letting go gracefully is the other side of the coin. It’s OK to grieve losses, especially if they are things we didn’t choose. But, you must recognise the new reality and start living with it, not against it, or you’ll remain stuck. As you’ve already learned, fighting the facts doesn’t work.

If you’re struggling to deal with changes, draw a map of your new reality. Note all the ways in which you will make life as good as it can be in this new space. How will you make the most of things? How can you improve the lives of your loved ones, your community, the world? Look at your map daily and use it to navigate your life so you’ll always be on track to create a better now.

https://i2.wp.com/www.wiseism.com/wp-content/uploads/challenging-times.jpg?fit=350%2C263https://i2.wp.com/www.wiseism.com/wp-content/uploads/challenging-times.jpg?resize=150%2C150The WiseistWise Livingchallenging times,change your life,coping with challenges,learning,learning from challenges,learning from tough times,living wisely,personal development,personal growth,self improvement,wisdom,wise livingWhen times are hard, you can be negative or positive. If you choose to be negative, you’ll make challenging periods even more difficult by increasing your own suffering. Stewing in negative thoughts and feelings is not good for anyone. Using difficult experiences as an opportunity to learn and grow is...Using Wisdom To Improve Your Life