Stay Hopeful During Tough Times

No one escapes difficult times in their lives. Whether we like it or not, our life challenges teach us the most. The ability to stay hopeful during those tough times is a skill that is well worth developing. Here’s how to go about honing it in your life.
1. Accept the challenge for what it is
If you’ve been hit broadside with a difficulty that’s left you negative, the worst thing you can do is try to ignore that it’s there. You can deal with the problem head-on and find a solution by acknowledging it. Start by asking yourself if the issue is something you can change. If so, then it’s time to make a game plan. If not? Then learn how to live with the new status quo rather than wasting time and energy fighting it.
2. Ask yourself what you can learn from this experience
You can calmly face the problem by seeking out the lessons to be learned. Discover what you can about the situation, learn and then move on.
3. Revisit the past
You’ve been through tough times before. Think back to them to remind yourself that challenges don’t last forever. Hope springs up from the knowledge that you’ve gotten through problems before. Dr. Robert Schuller said it best, “Tough Times Never Last, But Tough People Do.”
4. Record the experience
Blogging, journaling, or recording what’s going on helps you to process the experience and find creative solutions. When we get things out of our heads, we can deal with problems logically rather than emotionally. Looking back at this record becomes a powerful experience of your progress, which offers hope.
5. Laugh
Psalm 126:2 “Then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with shouts of joy; then it was said among the nations, ‘The Lord has done great things for them.”
Even if you don’t feel like it initially, the act of laughing changes moods. Hopelessness doesn’t stand a chance against a good belly laugh. The fun thing about laughter is that it’s hard to stop once you start. You can even fake it till you make it with laughter. It will lighten your mood and help you see solutions that weren’t there before.
Norman Cousins was first diagnosed with Ankylosing Spondylitis, a rare disease of the connective tissues. His doctor advised him to get his affairs in order as only 1 in 500 get this disease.
As a newspaperman, he was used to doing research. Cousins fired his doctor and left the hospital. He got a motel room and secured the use of a movie projector and a pile of Marx Brothers, Candid Camera, and other funny films.
He had discovered his need for mega doses of Vitamin C, and laughter. Say what you will, but with this combination, Cousins literally laughed himself back to health. A good “belly-roll” can help lift us out of despair.
6. Choose Happiness
Proverbs 16:20 “Those who are attentive to a matter will prosper, and happy are those who trust in the Lord.”
If we let it, much of our life can be performing ‘shoulds’. In this case, ask yourself if doing the ‘right thing’ means doing the thing that’s best for you? If it doesn’t hurt others, make the choice that will create happiness in your life.
7. Build a support group.
Trying to manage tough times alone is a sure recipe for fostering hopelessness. Gather people around you who make you feel hopeful just by being with them. By spending time with positive people, their hopefulness will quickly become your own. Surround yourself with people who are positive in attitude. Negativity will keeo a person down.
Dr. Michael Layne

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