11 ways to help yourself through a difficult time

1. Look back on your survival instincts of the past. Remind yourself of times when you survived, got through challenges, and even surprised yourself. See strength in your own abilities and fighting power. Don’t underestimate your own resilience. You have roared before and will roar again.

2. Trust your inner pilot light — your core. Find power in your inner self and know that you were created with a spirit as your force field, even if it feels weakened. Your glow is not extinguishable, and it was created to rekindle itself.
3. Focus on the story of your entire life beyond the crisis.Practice seeing yourself rise above the pain, looking back and peering forward at the values, experiences and goals of your whole life. Remind yourself that you are bigger than this, and that you will get back to you again. You have a lot of living yet to do.

4. Lean on your “trusted few” — friends, family, or counselors who know you and who will root for you without judgment. Ask for understanding, encouragement and TLC. Ask them to remind you of your strengths and listen to them. That is why these blessed relationships are in your life, and one day, you might do the same for them.

5. Find motivation from your outer strength. The key to feeling strong is holistically creating a solid foundation. While your energy levels might be low, make sure that you are doing something — anything — to tend to your physical self. Lift weights (even if they are soup cans), walk in nature, feed your body healthy food and get your sleep.

6. Make real attempts to be surrounded by positive people and atmospheres that make you feel good, energized and motivated. Limit any time around negative people or energy. Exit if you are starting to feel bad about yourself. Stay longer if you are feeling inspired.

7. Keep a “feel-good folder” of emails, letters and compliments that remind you how fierce you are. Anytime you receive a compliment that makes you feel strong, save it in a real or electronic file. You will likely forget the praise when you are at your lowest, and this will give you evidence of the positive effects you have on people’s lives. Let these words validate your worth, breathing hope over you again.

8. Carve out time to do that thing that you are really good at. Part of pulling yourself out of a sad place is reminding your body how to release endorphins back into your system. A quick way to do this is to do what you have loved in the past — your system will reward you. Do you love playing piano? Painting? Writing? Singing? Crafting? Working on cars? Skiing? Whatever made you feel good about you in the past is what your body needs right now. Often.

9. Do something meaningful in the meantime, as time will keep passing anyway. These were some of the wisest words ever spoken to me and why I started volunteering and taking classes after the bottom dropped out of my world. They were actually the two things that ended up making me feel the strongest in the long run. Volunteer. Create something. Finish your degree. Paint that room. Be constructive and your heart will strengthen while you’re not looking.

10. If you believe, develop and nurture a spiritual connection to a higher power, a purpose greater than this. Ask for spiritual guidance, comfort and grounding in your journey. Stay open to receiving divine gifts in the most wonderful, surprising ways, and believe that you deserve them when they show up. Meditate. Pray. Be mindful. Trust that you are going to move past this thing and that the universe wants that for you as well.

11. When your’ feeling strong again and in a good place emotionally (not before) look to see if you can find any negative patterns that repeat in your life and that you would like to change. Pick one as your own case study to explore. Talk with those in your life you can trust not to judge you, maybe a close friend, family or counsellor. Do not swallow whole everything they tell you however, very often, what we find most difficult to hear and have the strongest reactions to, can often have the greatest value. Listen to your internal reactions to what is talked about, as often there is much knowledge to be found, when we can add a language to what we feel.

Reference: TA Today: Stuart and Joines 2012.

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