Life throws us many curve balls; whether it’s the death of a loved one, financial hardship, a scary diagnosis or relationships ending, we all have moments where we feel vulnerable.
Unfortunately, for many, these events can trigger further problems. With one in five Australians experiencing a mental illness every year we need to know how we can pick ourselves up and carry on.
If you’re struggling to stay standing, be strong! Building a stable mental foundation takes time, but when you need a pick-up, we hope you can find comfort in our toolkit.
Tool #1: Learning from your Mistakes
When you’re in a difficult situation, learning from your decisions (good and bad) might be the last thing on your mind. But as Vivian Greene once said, “Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass. It’s about learning to dance in the rain.”
Learning to forgive yourself (because you’re human) is a true skill. Everybody makes mistakes. Once you realise this, you can view these learning curves as tools for the future, rather than failures. Ask yourself: how can this outcome help me in the future? If this happens again, would I change anything?
If you do not embrace your mistakes, you’ll never truly move on; and being stuck in the past is a frustrating thing.
It can be hard to accept the fact that in order to grow and gain valuable insight, you have to experience hardship; because without the tough times, you would never truly be able to appreciate the good times.
Tool #2: Putting an End to Comparing Yourself with Others
With social media so prevalent in today’s society it is easy to feel insecure when compared to others.
If everyone around you is getting married and you’re single, it’s natural to feel lonely. If everyone you know is travelling the world and you’re broke it’s normal to feel jealous.
It’s undoubtedly hard to detach yourself from others, but it’s a skill worth mastering and a tool worth keeping. You need to remember: that one photo or one update is a minute snapshot of that person’s life. It’s not their whole story. It’s not their future. It might not even be reality. And you’re better off using your energy to improve your life and needs, rather than focusing on someone else’s business.
Don’t feel incompetent just because you’re not living in the nicest house, or getting the next promotion; you are you, and you will achieve your goals in your own time.
When you stop comparing your situation to others, you’ll learn a lot more about yourself and start to feel happier and more secure. You’ll probably (naturally) feel happier for others too—and while all this is happening, you might even start seeing your goals become reality, without even realising.
Tool #3: Practicing Simple Gratitude
When you are unfortunate enough to find yourself in a situation where you feel like your whole world is falling apart, stop catastrophising and remember what you have.
It can be as simple as being grateful for your morning coffee, or for not missing the train, or for sunny winter days. A pet, a loved one, a job. Whatever you want it to be. Even if that thing isn’t perfect or complete.
Showing gratitude means you’re appreciating the good parts of your life rather than focusing on the negative.
If you’re looking for a more engaging form of gratitude, challenge yourself. Write a letter to someone whom you are grateful to have in your life and when you are ready, pick up the phone and read them the letter.
Tool #4: Accepting Your Need to Rely on Others
It is okay to need help from others sometimes. Independence is important, but no one is superhuman, meaning we all experience ourselves in times of need.
Having the right people around you can make the world of difference to your mental strength. If you are surrounded by people that keep knocking you down constantly, it is not going to motivate you to keep going.
You want to build yourself a solid support system with genuine people who care for you; people who you can rely on. There’s no point maintaining relationships with people who are unavailable or worse: toxic.
Nobody wants fake friends, so if they can’t tell you the truth when you need to hear it most, they aren’t looking out for your best interests.
Your well-being should be important to them. They should show they care not only by making time in their day to be there for you, but by putting in that extra effort to be sure that you’re doing okay. And you should offer the same support in return.
This mutual understanding and unconditional support showcases a true friendship worth maintaining.
Tool #5: Changing Your Outlook
If you keep reminding yourself about all the bad things going on in your life, you are just digging yourself in deeper. Changing your outlook on small things can make the world of difference.
Take the beginning of the week: the dreaded Monday. According to most people, it is the worst day of the week.
With such a cynical outlook, many people waste the first few hours of their Monday because they want their weekend back. But think about it; if you were to start looking at Monday as a day like any other—a beautiful day to be alive—you’ll be hours ahead of everyone else.
To be positive, even when you don’t have the energy to be or simply don’t want to be, is the true challenge.
When you make an effort to stay positive, rather than succumb to a gloomier outlook, you’re putting yourself in the best position to beat your situation because you are reminding yourself that there is a light at the end of the tunnel; you’ll get there eventually.