POWER OVER ADVERSITY
There is a saying that suffering is all part of the human condition, but the truth is some people get dealt a worse hand than others. While some are easily overwhelmed by adverse experiences, others thrive when the going gets tough. The following strategies are by no means new but offer an alternative perspective on power over adversity.
1. Be kind to yourself
Part of being human means to be subject to human emotion. When you’re upset by an adverse experience, you firstly need to offer empathy to yourself just as you would a friend. Make time to look after your mind by exploring nature, socialising or practising yoga or mindfulness. When you can be compassionate towards yourself, your emotional wellbeing is improved, and you move forward with confidence.
2. Examine your feelings
Confront your feelings head-on, even though it may be painful. Emotions happen to us, but that does not mean we have to react to them. Be conscious of your feelings and how they are affecting you mentally and physically. Name those emotions, see them for what they are – feelings that will pass – and you can work to reframe them in a positive light.
3. Accept adversity
It’s vital to come to terms with adverse events. Once something has happened, you can’t change it – but once you accept it, you can focus on what you’ll do to make things easier in the future. Examining how you respond is a critical step in becoming more resilient so take the time to review the event and your reactions as objectively as you can. It might help to write it down if you feel overwhelmed.
4. Embrace the challenge
Your environment, and those you share it with, affects your mood and the energy you carry. If you find your circle filled with people who do not inspire or bring you joy – maybe it’s time to reassess. Make a list of your ‘crew’. What is it about them that brings you happiness? Do you feel appreciated/loved by them? How do they inspire you? You should not feel guilty for having a self-care plan, and anyone who says or acts otherwise is not looking out for you.
5. Find the opportunity
All the cliches involving silver linings, doors opening and closing, what doesn’t kill you etc., all ring true when coping with adversity. It can be hard to find the good in the awful, especially the really terrible things that life can throw at us, but there will be positives, so make sure to search for them. Transforming adverse events by reframing them with as much positivity as you can muster is a sure-fire way to overcome adversity, take control of it and make it work for you now and in the future.
Something to remember:
Research shows that experiencing low to moderate adversity helps us develop greater resilience in facing future challenges, large and small. While these events seem distressing at the time, they are actually working to improve our mental health and wellbeing. Believe it or not, they have the potential to be a blessing in disguise.
At ACAP, we know that to help others with their mental roadblocks, our students need to understand the role adversity plays in people’s lives and the strategies to overcome them.