Crises are inevitable in life, so it is important to understand how to stay strong.
Covid-19 is an example of this and how it has disrupted all of our lives. Some sectors were hit hard, such as the hospitality industry, and a disproportionate number of people were left unemployed.
A crisis could be anything; it can be the end of a marriage, a terminal condition, the death of a loved one, job loss, or a financial issue. The list is endless. Whereas crises are inevitable, how you respond to them is up to you.
You’ve probably heard this before, but it’s best to stay strong when you’re experiencing tough or difficult times.
Let’s look at strategies that will help you stay strong when everything around you seems to be falling apart and the tough times come.
How Do You Stay Emotionally Strong?
1. Accept Reality & Embrace The Fact That Some Things Are Beyond Your Control
There’s a famous prayer that goes like this, “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things that I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”
You must acknowledge reality of bad news and that life throws curve balls sometimes. This is the first step towards managing the stress and finding strength when faced with difficult situations.
It’s a waste of time thinking, ‘this shouldn’t happen to me’, or ‘why is this happening to me’. Such thinking will only drain your energy and make it harder for you to deal with the situation at hand.
2. Take Control Of Your Most Upsetting Thoughts
Nothing makes a crisis worse than negative thoughts.
If you let your mind entertain the negative self-talk, you’ll end up crumbling when the challenges come along. It’s up to you to take control of your most upsetting thoughts by choosing to focus on the positive.
Of course, this is hard, but life has a way of showing you the good that still exists in it. This could be a beautiful sunrise, birds singing outside your window, loving family members, supportive friends, and so much more.
Self-limiting beliefs impede your ability to overcome the tough situation and realize your potential. When you begin thinking, “I can’t handle this, it will never work,” you will struggle with reaching your goals.
It’s essential to identify how your inner monologue affects your emotions. Remember, just because you think something, doesn’t make it accurate or true.
You can control your mental framework by having a positive mindset and creating a mantra that you repeat during those tough times. Talk to yourself with realistic, helpful statements that confirm your ability to handle the challenges head on when they come.
3. Don’t Worry About Building Strength Right Now
Trying to build up your strength immediately after a crisis is like trying to complete a marathon when you’ve never trained for one. In most instances, this approach leads to a catastrophe, as you’ll end up crumbling. Emotional wounds take time to heal and each of have our own timelines. It’s not a race.
A crisis is not the time to worry about building strength. Instead, it’s time to focus on just doing what you can do.
4. Find Time To Express Your Emotions
Most people think that the best way to stay strong during a crisis is to mask their emotions and avoid them completely. But that’s not what psychologists recommend.
Instead, you should release your emotions. Allow yourself to get mad, scream into a pillow, or lock yourself in your room and cry.
It’s okay to regulate your emotions, so that you can be productive, but it’s also okay to take some time to experience your feelings. This approach will help you stay strong because you’ve allowed yourself to deal with the crisis.
5. Prioritize What Needs To Get Done
When you’re experiencing a crisis, you’re going to likely need to make time, so that you can focus on the task at hand.
Strong people create a to-do list that helps them prioritize what needs to get done. Coming up with a list helps, as you’re likely to forget things when you’re stressed.
6. Take Small Steps
A crisis can make you feel overwhelmed by all the things you need to handle. Yet, the best strategy to stay tough is by breaking down big tasks into small steps.
After you’ve created a to-do list, as indicated in step 5, figure out what you can begin working on today and take it a day at a time.
7. Ask Yourself What Advice You’d Give To A Friend
It’s easy to give a friend advice, but it can be much more difficult to take our own advice. However, when faced with a crisis, it’s a good idea to ask yourself what advice you’d give to a trusted friend.
This approach helps get rid of the emotional turmoil you’re experiencing in your tough times. Also, it enables you to make wise decisions in a tough time.
8. Create A Helpful Mantra
Come up with an affirmation that you can continually repeat to yourself such as, ‘I’ve survived tough times before, I’ll get through this too,’ and repeat it every day as many times as you need to. It will help you overcome the negative thoughts that are likely to swirl around in your mind, and it can keep you on track as you move on with your life.
9. Do Something That Helps You Keep A Sense of Normalcy
Some crises can be so extreme that you feel like it’s the end of the world, for example, the death of a spouse. In such a time, it helps to do things that help you feel ‘normal’ to keep your mental health in check.
You can listen to your favorite music or watch your favorite show before you go to sleep. You can also go for morning walks if you used to do that before the crisis.
Whatever it is, look for one act or normalcy that you can continue even when life seems to be spinning out of control.
10. Never Be Afraid To Ask For Help
You can reach out to your friends or a therapist. Seek emotional support from people you can depend on and help you in healing emotional wounds.
Whatever you do, make sure that you tell people what you need and how you feel. Also, feel free to ask questions, especially if you are talking to a therapist. That way, you’ll get the support you need and find advice that will help you accept the situation.
There’s nothing wrong with asking for help, and you shouldn’t see it as a sign of weakness. As a matter of fact, it shows that you understand that there will be times that you can’t deal with everything on your own.
We all need emotional support at times, and there’s nothing wrong with that.
How Can I Stay Strong every day?
Let’s say, for example, that the crises you’re experiencing is a closure of your business. How do you manage to stay strong every day?
First of all, you need to realize that the old saying is true, ‘tough times don’t last, but tough people do.’ It’s important to incorporate some habits into your life that will keep you mentally strong, as you go through the tough times.
Below are tips on how to stay strong every single day.
1. Say Nice Things To Yourself Daily
Focus on building up your mental strength by paying attention to how you talk. You can do this by saying nice things to yourself. Such as, ‘you’re strong’, ‘you have it within you to overcome the situation’, ‘you are a great parent’, etc.
Positive words not only keep you mentally strong, but they help you keep your energy up each day. It may seem ridiculous at first that you are your own cheerleader but think of how great you’ll feel as you make things happen that bring about positive change in your life.
Be mindful of the negative thoughts that creep up in your mind during the crisis; catch them quickly and replace them with positive thoughts.
2. Write Down Something Great About Each Day
Another way that you can lower your stress levels is to find something great about each day. You can write it down and keep it in a jar, bedside drawer, shoebox, journal or wherever you want. This not only boosts your mental health but also helps you practice gratitude in your life.
At the end of the year, you’ll be able to sit down and look at any positive moments you experienced during the crisis and the things you accomplished.
3. Write Down The Positive Aspects of Each Challenge
Of all the strategies we’ve shared so far, this one is one of the toughest. How could there be anything positive in a bad situation? Yet, the reality is that life is all about perspective.
If you change your perspective, you will be surprised to discover that there’s something to be grateful about each day.
Instead of talking negatively and staying angry each day, you can build up your positive mental strength by writing down positive aspects and lessons learned from each situation. Try your best to find something to be grateful for every day.
4. Practice Self-Care
It’s difficult to eat or sleep when faced with a crisis. However, if you do not care for your body, the toll of the situation will harm your emotional health. You can set aside 20 minutes each day to really deeply care for yourself.
For instance, you can go for a few short walks when you can having some time alone to unwind. Whatever you decide to do, just make sure that it’s something that will leave you feeling happy and mentally relaxed.
5. Do A Hobby Or Activity Daily That Brings You Joy
Taking on a hobby or activity is another form of self-care.
Feel free to look for a hobby or activity that will make you feel better. As you become more confident and competent at it, you’ll discover how confidence and self-belief boosts your health and positively affects other areas of your life.
The happiness you experience when you are doing the hobby will help make you mentally strong, as you overcome the tough time.
6. Set A Goal To Practice More Gratitude And Complain Less
In an article on positive psychology, researchers observed that gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness. It helps you feel more positive feelings, deals with adversity, improves your health and mental strength.
You can get caught up in a cycle of complaining, which can ruin your relationships and make it hard for people to be around you. Instead, try and find something to be grateful for no matter what the situation looks like.
7. Set A Goal For At Least 8 Hours of Sleep A Night
Most adults seem to think that sleep is for children. Yet, the truth is that even adults need at least 8 hours of sleep to be mentally strong.
In an article by Roy Kohler, MD, who specializes in sleep medicine at SCL Health Montana, consistent sleep is recommended, as it helps you become less moody, more productive, and alert during the day.
You should make sleep a priority if you want to boost your mental strength.
8. Set A Goal To Eat Healthy Food Daily
Self care not only involves taking care of your emotional health but also looking after your physical health. New studies show a connection between your gut health and your mood, and one of the things that directly affect your gut health is what you eat.
By reducing your intake of inflammatory foods like food allergies, grains, dairy, and alcohol, you reduce stress on your digestive system. A healthier digestive system through healthy eating choices means more energy, more productivity, and fewer sick days.
9. Cut Your Social Media Time in Half
If you are a person who spends a lot of time on social media, then you are likely to be bombarded with destructive thoughts as you endlessly stare at the lives of others.
You can ask any therapist, and they’ll tell you that such a habit makes you prone to destructive thoughts and even depression.
It is important to reduce the time you spend on your phone in half. Instead, spend more time with loved ones and in doing the things you love.
10. Put Up At Least Three Inspirational Quotes Daily
When things get tough, and you feel stuck, inspirational quotes can help you find your strength.
Take the time to post a few uplifting words or pictures around your house (or perhaps create a vision board) and place them somewhere where you’ll see them every day.
11. Visualize Your Goals For 10 Minutes Daily
Take the time to visualize the result of your goals and the challenges that you’ll have to overcome to achieve them. In addition to visualizing your goals, work on planning how you’ll achieve them.
Practice visualizing how you’ll solve your problems. Picture yourself where you want to be and how great it feels to accomplish your goals.
12. Let Go Of People Pleasing Tendencies
To appear friendly, we often commit to doing things for others that we really don’t want to do.
But if you want to improve your mental wellbeing, you should embrace the fact that you can’t please everyone. Free yourself from the need to let other’s happiness and goals override what’s best for you.
13. Set A Monthly Budget Which Includes Something Fun
Anything fun will work wonders on your mental strength. It doesn’t have to be anything big and could be simple things like a new shirt or taking your favorite bubble bath. Whatever it is, set aside some cash each month to enjoy yourself.
14. Journal For Three Pages Or Five Minutes Morning And/Or Night
Journaling is one way that you can build up your mental strength. When you journal, you get to explore your feelings, identify your dreams and dump all your concerns on a page.
If you choose to journal in the morning, you can write down your goals and aspirations for the day and develop ideas of what you want to accomplish on that day.
If you journal at night, you can unwind in the evening by writing about all the things that stressed you out that day and celebrate what you did well.
15. Learn From The Past, Live In The Moment, Prepare For The Future
“Live in the moment” is another tip you’d get from a therapist. Abraham Maslow said,
“The ability to be in the present moment is a major component of mental wellness.”
In a world where people get anxious about the future and others get depressed over the past, it is important for you to purposely draw lessons from the past and hope for the future.
You will feel free when you live for the moment.
That doesn’t mean that you fail to plan for tomorrow, not at all. But, it means that you recognize that we are not assured of tomorrow; therefore, you choose to enjoy the present.
Unfortunately, life is not always a bed of roses. However, we can overcome its storms with the hope of blue skies ahead.
Whereas some tough situations can be traumatic, you should be patient with yourself and approach the problem with the belief that it will make you stronger. Don’t forget to practice self care and take time to heal your emotional wounds.
Things may not look good now, but you’re still alive, and that means that you can do something about it.