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Five steps for dealing with difficult times in your life: set small, simple daily goals; be your best self despite the difficulties; keep gratitude alive.

How to Deal with Difficult Times?

1. Set Small, Simple Daily Goals. When times are difficult, it’s easy to feel we’ve lost all personal power. So, a simple way to insert agency and progress in our lives is to set three small goals every day and work to achieve them. These can be as simple as taking a shower, going for a walk, or calling a friend. It’s not about taking over the world, it’s about directing just a tiny bit of our day until we can find our footing again.

2. Keep Perspective. Draw some strength from the truth that there have been positive, good, happy times in life and that those moments and memories can return and are with you. And remember that part of keeping perspective is realizing you are not on an island alone – there are people out there who can help you through this. Finally, remember, you are the miracle – the fact that you can choose your attention and breath and choices each day is a profound blessing. Not all is lost or negative – there is always hope and you can make new choices.

3. Ask, “What should I be learning here?” When dealing with difficult times, we often feel that we can’t understand or handle things, that we lack competence or capability. So, to shore up those feelings, be strategic and ask, “What could I learn now to better handle this stage of my life?” Develop a learning curriculum for yourself and start studying things that can help or advance your life.

4. Be Your Best Self Despite the Difficulties. When I had a brain injury, I couldn’t control my emotions and actions for a while. I felt out of control. All I could do is set the intention to be my best. I forced myself to ask, “How would my best self interact with this situation? How would I view this, go through this, support others, and grow despite it all?” Sometimes, a simple and positive intention can expand our consciousness and connection with life (and ourselves).

5. Keep Gratitude Alive. This is the time to get grateful for the choices and blessings you do have, for the people you have supporting you, for who you are and who you can become. The surest route from suffering and dealing with difficult times begin at the path of gratitude.

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