Tips for Tough Times

You’ve probably heard it before: life is a series of peaks and valleys. Sometimes you’re up, and sometimes you’re down. It’s at the most difficult times where we all need a little more support and guidance. It’s how you respond in these moments that determine how happy you are.

When you improve your ability to navigate through difficult times, you not only live a happier life, but you reduce anxiety and can actually grow as person. Here’s a few ways to make getting through hard times less frustrating and a lot more productive.

Acknowledge your feelings.

Avoiding negative feelings and emotions may feel like a stopgap measure, but it simply postpones experiencing a flood of negative emotions until some time in the future.

Ignoring your emotions is like trying to run away from something that’s right in your face. The only way to be free of bad feelings is to stop and face them.  You might worry that your emotions will be too overwhelming. While this may happen, chances are you’ll not only be fine, but you’ll be able to let go of the negative emotions and move on.

Know when to talk about it – and when not to.

When people bottle up uncomfortable thoughts and feelings, the problems grow into bigger worry and anxiety. Talking about things that are bothering you, however, helps you better understand yourself and your fears. It also allows you to get valuable feedback from others who have experienced similar events. That being said, there’s also a time to not talk about problems because you need a break from them. This is where you intuition comes into play

Look past the hardship.

When you’re in a crisis, it’s often hard to see any upside. But, with some perspective, you may be able to see the situation from a different angle.

For example, if you just had a fight with your spouse, think about all the times you both recovered from the argument. If you just had a panic attack, think about how most of your life hasn’t included panic, so you can assume most of your future won’t either. Sometimes challenges in  relationships leads to better communication, and sometimes panic leads to finally getting the help you need to overcome it.

Concentrate on what you’re grateful for.

There’s probably nothing more powerful that writing a gratitude list. Gratitude means having appreciation for all the good things in your life, instead of focusing on the negative aspects. It helps to get clarity about what it is that you’re grateful for.

Gratitude lists are simple. Write out everything in your life that you’re grateful for either having or have experienced. Be sure to include the people you’re most grateful for. Consider writing a letter to the people you’re grateful for and giving them the letter.

The idea behind a gratitude list is that the difficult time you’re going through will seem less significant when it’s compared to everything that’s going good in your life.

Prioritize self-care.

Self-care is one of the most important aspects to surviving tough times. While it might seem that you don’t have time for your usual healthy habits, there may be a price to pay if you don’t. For instance, if you can’t prepare a nutritious meal, find healthy food to go. If you can’t go for a run for an hour, take a 15-minute walk around your neighborhood to relieve tension and clear your mind.

A 10-minute meditation session or a quick power nap can also help. Unfortunately, many stressful situations are ongoing in nature. To successfully get through it, you need to pace yourself and take time to nurture your mind, body and spirit.

Practice acceptance.

Some people believe that acceptance it the answer to all their problems. That means letting go of that which you can’t control. Make a list of everything you don’t have control over as well as what you can control. Both lists contain the things you can stop worrying about.

During a quiet moment, visualize handing those items over to the universe and just letting them go. Then bring your focus back to what you can control, such as your self-care and  your words and actions towards others.

Get creative.

Even though there are times when you can’t do much to change your situation, there are often things you can actively do to make the situation better.

Usually, the solution isn’t in plain sight but if you can take a step back and see the bigger picture, you may discover some things that can help.

For  example, if you’re stuck at home, think about  finishing projects that you’ve needed to get to. Maybe it’s a good opportunity to spend more time with your family or your pets. Consider taking up a hobby, such as creative writing or painting. Now may be a good time to start that blog you’ve been thinking about creating.

Ask for help.

You might think that you can handle this difficult time on your own. Many people do, but sometimes we need to ask others for help and be able to receive their care.

When asking for help, it helps to be clear and direct. Let others know exactly what you need, such as support and compassion, and what you don’t need, such as harsh criticism.

Seeking support from your loved ones also strengthens those relationships and gives them a chance to be of service to you. Families and friends who can be there for each other help each other heal.

Remember that there are many kinds of support. Support may come in the form of family, friends, co-workers, a doctor, therapist, support group or even your higher power.

Call Dr. Fredricks

408-264-3082 or

San Jose Counseling and Psychotherapy Appointment

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San Jose Psychotherapy in the Silicon Valley including San Jose, Santa Clara, Los Gatos, Saratoga, Campbell, Cupertino, Sunnyvale, Los Altos, and Mountain View.

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