When adversity strikes, whether it be loss of your job, an illness, a natural disaster or when you take a big hit that really knocks you off your feet for a while, how fast you get up again depends on a number of things – and this is for communities as well as individuals – such as:
• How good your support network is,
• How solid your self-esteem is,
• The extent to which you believe that you can control your own destiny, and
• Your experiences of overcoming adversity in the past.
It’s not so much “mind over matter” but a purposeful mindset, or attitude, toward moving forward. You don’t ignore the past, but use it as a springboard for what you want in the future. If you want to shorten the time it takes to get back on your feet, try this:
• Ask yourself how it will look when you no longer have your current problems.
• Spend time visualizing yourself in that desired picture and imagining how you’ll feel.
• Repeat the picture and the positive emotions over and over, day after day, week after week.
• List your strengths and past accomplishments and add them to your “positive picture” list on a daily basis.
While you are creating this vision for your desired future, and supporting it by reinforcing your strengths – and reminding yourself that yes, you are strong – it is time to set and prioritize some immediate, short-term goals to improve your situation. Once you have a list, it’s time to write a detailed plan of action for the top three, including day and time. There is nothing more gratifying than being able to check something OFF a list!
Once you’ve accomplished a few short-term goals, you may feel ready to do some long-term visioning and goal-setting. Finally – and this is important – no matter how much you’ve lost, take time to help someone else who is struggling. You can always find someone worse off than you, and you usually don’t need to look very far. Even the worst adversity can be used to learn and grow, and contribute to a positive solution.