Everyone faces challenges in their life. Even people that seem like everything comes so easily to them. So how does everyone cope? How to you keep from just giving up and moving to Antigua? We'll help you change your outlook with a few coping skills and strategies and we'll walk you through the steps you need to take in order to tackle that challenge like a champ.
Tackling the Problem
- Accept that this challenge is happening. A lot of people will dismiss challenges that come before them. They’ll convince themselves that the problem is smaller than it really is or that it doesn’t exist in the first place. You need to recognize when you start thinking this way because it’s true what they say: the first step in overcoming a problem is admitting that you have one.
- This isn’t a fun part of the equation. Accepting that this challenge is real and that you’re going to have to deal with it can be really scary. If you’re scared of what this challenge can mean for you, just remember: so far in life, you’ve met every challenge that’s come before you and made it out okay. There’s no reason to think that this is any different.
- Take action. It’s important, with any challenge that you end up facing, to start doing something about the problem as soon as you possibly can. Each moment of inaction becomes an action in itself. By doing nothing, you’re still doing something. And that something probably isn’t helping the situation. Problems usually multiply when left to themselves, like rabbits. The sooner you start facing the challenge, the easier it will be to overcome.
- Evaluate the facts. So, you’re ready to start tackling this challenge? Great! The best place to start is by evaluating the facts. What do you really know about what’s going on? Are you sure you understand the situation? Don’t just deal with what you think the problem is; the real issue might be something you didn’t even realize was a problem. Take some time to make sure that you understand the situation as fully as possible.
- This usually means that you’re going to have to talk to people, although who will depend on your situation. Are you having problems with school? Talk to your teacher. Problems at work? Talk to your boss or a coworker. Problems in your relationship? Talk to your partner. Problems with your health? Talk to your doctor. You get the idea.
- It can help to make a list. A challenge is rarely one single task or problem, but is instead made up of lots of different parts. Make a list talking about what the smaller, sub-challenges are and what you’ll need to do in order to combat them.
- Take account of what you have. Now that you know what you’re dealing with, you’ll want to think about what tools and resources you have available to help you in facing this challenge. What resources are most important will depend on your problem, but there are lots of things you can consider. Think about your strengths, the people that can help you, and any physical resources you might have (like money). You should also think about areas in which you are weak. This will let you plan ahead so that you can compensate or at least be prepared in areas where something might go wrong. Be realistic about both the good and bad things that you have to offer this situation: fantastic optimism is not your friend here.
- For example, let’s say that you’re facing a challenge in your marriage. What do you have that can help you face this? Well, you’re good at communicating how you feel. That’s important for reaching understanding in interpersonal issues. You also have your parents available to you, as they’ve managed to stay together through some pretty serious fights. They might have some advice. You also know that you’re not good at changing your habits, so you’ll know that you’ll need to be prepared to pay extra attention to that.
- Find more information. Now that you know about what the facts of the situation and what you have available to you, you can start finding information that can help you. Find out more about the challenge you’re facing. Talk to people that have faced the same challenge. The more you know about the facts, similar situations, and the experiences of others, the easier time you’ll have making smart decisions about facing your own challenge. It’ll also help keep you from feeling alone.
- You can find a lot of information by going online and using Google to find websites that deal with your specific problem.
- For example, let’s say that you’re facing a challenge at work; you are up for review and you’re worried that your performance has been poor. Now, go to Google and search for performance reviews. You’ll learn about the process and hear how things have gone for other people. You can also learn about what you can do to improve your chances for keeping your job if your review goes badly.
- Look at all possibilities. When we’re worried, we tend to see only a few paths out of a challenge. You might see your situation as “either I do this or I do that”. However, this is rarely an accurate view of the situation and thinking of it in this way can often be harmful to your decision-making process. Challenge your ideas of what is really necessary to the situation or what your options really are. Find the paths between the ones that are so clearly marked in your mind. You may find that a middle road or a total detour is better for you in the long run, even if it doesn’t match what you thought the situation would be.
- If you’re having a hard time looking at a situation and finding an alternative route, one of the easiest ways to get ideas is to talk to someone you trust. Get advice. If you’re on your own though, look at you main goal point (the thing you’re trying to reach). It’s got a problem in the way, keeping you from getting there, right? Now, look at the actual function of the goal. Is there another way to get the same thing to happen? This can open another path for you to take.
- Communicate, communicate, communicate. If the challenge you’re facing in any way involves other people, then a large part of your challenge can be dealt with by talking to other people. Most of our problems come up in the first place because we fail to communicate in the way that we should.
- For example, let’s say that you’re having problems in your relationship. The best way to solve relationship problems is to talk to your significant other. Be honest about how you feel and what you want and encourage them to do the same. If they won’t talk with you, well that kind of answers the question, doesn’t it?
- Another example would be if you’re having problems at school. Talk to your teacher or the school’s counselor. No matter what the problem is, one of them should have some ideas that can help you. You might think that they might be mad at you, judge you, or make things worse, but that is very likely not true. You’re very unlikely to tell them something that would surprise them and they’ll have a lot more experience in handling the problem and will probably have some good ideas for you.
- Look for a mentor. When you’re facing a challenge, one thing you can do to really transform your experience of the situation is to find a mentor. This can be a person, a website, a book: anything that can give you advice on your specific situation and inspire you to take it like a champ. Having a mentor can make your experience more positive and help you change how you experience what’s happening to you.
- For example, if you’re having problems with a friend, talk to your older sister. She’ll probably have had similar troubles at some point in her life, so she’ll be able to give you advice. She’ll also be able to support and comfort you.
- Online communities can also fill this role, so don’t worry if you’re not that great at talking to people or asking for help face-to-face.
- Keep trying until you find a solution. The final key for dealing with challenges in your life is to just keep trying. You have to be persistent. Without being persistent, you’ll frequently find yourself unsuccessful in the things you try. We won’t recommend trying the same approach over and over again but you shouldn’t give up on finding a solution. Every challenge can be met and every situation made better, so long as you keep your mind open.
- Now sometimes the solution to a challenge is accepting the inevitable. Let’s say that your challenge is that you’ve been diagnosed with a chronic illness. Now, you shouldn’t keep fighting to get rid of the illness. The reality is probably that you’re stuck with it. However, the solution in this situation would be that you should find a sense of community and identity with others who share your situation and learn to better embrace and appreciate the good things that you do have in your life.
Changing Your Perceptions
- Recognize that this too shall pass. So you’ve got this incredible challenge before you: now you need to really face it. How do you deal, how do you cope, when this very upsetting thing is happening to you? It’s very important to remember that time passes and things change. Always. The only constant is that the sun will rise each morning. Whatever you’re dealing with, however terrible and permanent it feels, it’s important to remember that you will not always feel this way. Your challenge will not be there forever. A new reality will form and you will find a way to keep living. Just keep telling yourself: This too shall pass.
- For example, your boyfriend that you’ve been with since you were young might have just left you. It will feel horrible, like you’ll never be happy again and you’ll never find someone else that you love that much. It might feel like you’ll never find anyone. But time will pass, you’ll be out at a party, and then suddenly...your prince charming will walk into the room. He’ll be funny and charming and he’ll think you’re just the most incredible thing to grace this Earth. It’ll happen. You just need to be patient and give it time.
- Remind yourself of the good things in your life. When bad things happen to us or when we’re stressed, we tend to forget about all of the wonderful things that exist in our lives. No matter how bad things seem, the world really is a wonderful place. Take account of the good things in your life. Spend time enjoying them and tell the people that love you how much you love them in return. Not only will this keep you sane during this challenging time, it might also help you find a way to take on your challenge.
- People sometimes have a hard time seeing the good things in their life. Don’t let this happen to you. You don’t have a significant other? You do still have friends and family. Not much in the way of friends and family? You’re alive and you have the wonderful opportunity to go out into the world and make friends and have experiences. There’s always some incredible experience that’s just waiting for you to get up and take it.
- Be flexible, always. No matter what challenge you’re facing, being flexible will make a huge difference in helping you face it. See yourself as a tree that’s fallen in a river. You can try to go against the flow, but you’ll end up struggling and you’ll bang against every rock on the way. If instead you go with the flow, change with each direction that the river wants to take you, you’ll glide smoothly until it carries you to a resting place.
- Find meaning in your life. When you have a goal or find some kind of greater meaning in your life, you’ll find that facing any challenge is easier. This is because it gives you something to work towards, hope for, or will simply inspire you and make you happy. There are lots of ways to go about this. You can set a goal, like that you want to buy a house in five years. Some people become more religious and find comfort in their religious community. Some people volunteer and find strength in helping others. Find something that works for you.
- Finding meaning if you don’t have meaning can be tricky. The best way to go about it, as with most things in life, is to give it a try. When you find the right thing for you, you’ll know it. Just keep yourself open to as many possibilities as possible and don’t keep yourself from getting out there and trying things.
- Let yourself be challenged. Handling stress takes practice. You’ll find that you have an easier time facing challenges if you face more of them. When you keep yourself sheltered and always take the easy route in life to avoid the challenges, you’ll never show yourself that you can in fact face a challenge. Let challenges happen. Take risks that have promising rewards. You’ll find that you can do more than you give yourself credit for.
- It’s a bit like learning to ride a bike: you have to get up on the bike and you might get a few scrapes and bruises while you learn to keep your balance, but each wobble will teach you something about staying upright. If every time you wobble you get off the bike and stay off for a few years, you’re never going to learn.
- Be grateful for the challenges you have. When you do face challenges in your life, be grateful for them. Each challenge you face will teach you more about yourself. It will become a part of who you are...and that person is an incredible person. You are unique and wonderful and it is your challenges that have made you that way. You might be struggling right now but remember, even while you’re worrying and upset, that this challenge is going to make you a better person.
- Believe in yourself. The most important thing you can do for facing any challenge is to believe in yourself. When you doubt yourself, you’ll falter. You’ll make poor decisions. You want to make good decisions! Not believing in yourself can also powerfully transform what you take away from this experience. Either you believe in yourself and what you take away is ultimately good and you learn from it...or you don’t believe in yourself and this experience is negative because you see it as a failure on your part. Which experience would you rather have?
- Sometimes, life has been so unkind that we really don’t want to believe in ourselves. Please, don’t let your experiences diminish your wonderful spirit. You are so strong. Look at all the stuff that you’ve made it through so far! We know that you can face this challenge and do so with grace. We believe in you and we are so proud of the person that you are. Just keep trying and don’t forget to be awesome.
- Realize that you are most likely not the cause of a certain situation. (such as a death or job loss)
- Realize that not all negative situations are directed at you! (or only you!) Some happen for many reasons, and they are just there to bug you at the least. Do not over think why or how the situations occurred.
- If you need guidance on the above steps, contact a counselor, or trusted level-headed/ grounded friend/colleague. Make sure you are improving and going down the right path.