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The song “I made it through the Rain” by Barry Manilow discusses the importance of resilience when struggling with life.
It is a message that we can transcend any obstacles, put ourselves in a better place, and connect with others who have grown because of their challenges.
The song begins by discussing getting through the rain.
The rain is symbolic of the pain and suffering that we all experience from time to time.
We may feel like we are drowning in our sorrows or dying from our pain. But if we can just make it through, it will get better.
We can be stronger because of our struggles and appreciate the good times more after having experienced some dark days under the sun.
The song continues by saying that you are not alone.
There are many people in this world who have been through circumstances similar to yours and come out stronger on the other side. They can offer advice, support, and love during your dark days.
Keep putting one foot in front of the other, even when you feel you cannot go on anymore. Your reward will be greater than any suffering you have endured to get there.
But where do you find the strength to survive a stormy period of life?
This is my mission here — to offer strategies and tips to get you past struggling with life.
Table of Contents
- 1 Accept Problems as Part of the Human Experience
- 2 Problems are Temporary and the Winds of Change are on the Way
- 3 Rely on Building or Growing a Support System
- 4 Volunteer Your Time
- 5 Rely on More Logic, Less Emotion
- 6 Deep Breathe as an Antidote to Life Struggles
- 7 Visualize a Better Tomorrow
- 8 Boost Mental Health with Exercise
- 9 Use Food as Medicine
- 10 Use Positive Affirmations
- 11 Sleep Your Way Through Life's Struggles
- 12 Set Aside Quiet Time (and Include Meditation and Mindfulness)
- 13 See the Humorous Side of Life
- 14 Find Balance in Nature
- 15 Embrace any Healthy Distraction for the Short Term
- 16 Let it Out Treatment
- 17 Embrace the Following Serenity Prayer:
- 18 Set Goals and Make a Plan
- 19 Think and Manifest Positivity and an "I Can Beat This" Attitude
- 20 Show Grit
- 21 Find the Resiliency and Power Within
- 22 Show Gratitude
- 23 Final Words About Struggling with Life
Accept Problems as Part of the Human Experience
"What would it be like if I could accept life – accept this moment – exactly as it is? " - Tara Brach
Accept that problems are a part of life, and know that it is normal to fear worry, anxiety, depression, and even hopelessness from time to time.
Some people think they can insulate themselves away from challenges if they take care of themselves, help others, work hard, or engage in any activity that’s looked upon favorably by the Higher Power.
But problems may be related to physical health, social life, mental condition, financial matters, or family affairs.
They are an inseparable part of our lives, and no one can avoid them. However, the way to deal with them is what defines us as human beings.
Some people take problems lightly and never let them affect their daily lives.
Some people consider problems to be insurmountable mountains and give up easily when confronted with difficult situations.
Acceptance of problems can foment better, less emotional decision-making.
Problems are Temporary and the Winds of Change are on the Way
"You can’t calm the storm, so stop trying. What you can do is calm yourself. The storm will pass."
Sometimes it’s tough to be happy. Life has a way of throwing us curve balls that leave us feeling anxiety-ridden, sad, depressed, and alone.
And the more we dwell on these feelings, the more they seem to take over our lives and make everything seem dark and gloomy.
Remind yourself that problems are temporary and don’t last forever. As the old saying goes, “This too shall pass.”
Remind yourself that every day brings new opportunities for change. You can do a lot to change your outlook by altering your attitude and changing your behavior.
You can also find ways to make changes in your life that will help you feel better about yourself and give you a sense of control over your life.
For example, ask yourself if there is something you can change about your situation. Consider all options and take action, if applicable.
But if an upsetting event can’t be changed, at least you can alter your reaction.
Rely on Building or Growing a Support System
Life is hard, period. Life can be even harder when you're struggling with mental health issues such as depression and anxiety.
And when you suffer from these issues, there are times you'll feel like you're all alone in your struggles. But there are resources at your disposal.
a) Get counseling treatment - If you're struggling with mental health problems, professional counseling is a great way to get the help and support you need to make positive changes in your life.
A counselor can help you find ways to build resilience to stress.
They can also help you understand how your thoughts influence your feelings and behavior, so that you can learn how to think about circumstances differently and cope with problems better.
b) Connect with others - It's important to have a solid network of people who care about and support you. Other people can share a different perspective, offer words of encouragement and support, or just offer a shoulder to lean on.
This is why support groups (almost all are free) are so invaluable.
Support groups can become a life saver when you need help coping with just about anything. By being around those who are experiencing similar struggles, you can discover that you’re not alone with your feelings.
You may also find that other people have some great advice to give. We all need support sometimes, so don’t be afraid of reaching out for help when you need it.
Getting support from family and friends is another way to cope. But if they’re part of the problem, or you feel uncomfortable talking to them, there are other ways to get support.
You just need to find someone to trust.
And if you have no one in your inner circle, seriously consider the next "how to ease life struggles" tip.
Volunteer Your Time
When you are struggling to get past your own problems, volunteering provides a wonderful treatment outlet.
You can get involved with someone else’s concerns and see beyond your own issues.
Many people volunteer in order to give back to their community, but this is not the only reason.
Volunteering makes us feel better about ourselves; it helps us take our minds off our own lives and gives us a sense of purpose.
Because volunteers have so much to offer, there are numerous opportunities for volunteering that don’t require any special skills or knowledge
For example, if you love animals, consider volunteering at your local animal shelter. If you enjoy working with children, offer to help out at your neighborhood school or rec center.
If you like being outdoors, get involved with a conservation organization or consider helping clean up your local park or beach. The possibilities are endless!
Perhaps you can make the proverbial difference in the lives of those less fortunate than you as you sort out life’s struggles.
You may even forge lifelong connections during the process.
Rely on More Logic, Less Emotion
Feelings can be uncomfortable. Emotions are a natural part of who we are, but they can be difficult to deal with. We may have feelings that are difficult to understand or name, and we might feel overwhelmed by what we’re feeling.
We all experience unpleasant emotions, like anger, frustration, sadness, or grief. But when you’re hit with a strong, uncomfortable emotion, it can make you feel helpless and out of control.
You don’t have to give in to your feelings. You can manage them, so that you can think clearly and act effectively. Here, it’s important to give yourself time to identify your feelings before you respond.
To avoid being impulsive or acting out of anger, take a deep breath and ask yourself: “What am I feeling right now?” This will help you identify the emotion and get a handle on it.
Thinking more rationally and logically may help to ease the burdens of any challenge. While emotional reactions are normal and healthy, they aren’t always productive and useful.
Deep Breathe as an Antidote to Life Struggles
When we experience life struggles, we may find ourselves short of breath. It’s a physiological response that can make us feel more anxious and out of control, which can lead to counter-productive decision-making.
Taking a deep breath is one of the most effective tools for managing stress.
Deep breathing enhances coping abilities, promotes relaxation, reduces anxiety, and lowers blood pressure.
Deep breathing helps to promote feelings of calm and relaxation by stimulating the parasympathetic nervous system.
The parasympathetic nervous system helps to reduce heart rate and lower blood pressure while increasing digestion and elimination.
A simple breathing exercise you can do anywhere includes:
Sit comfortably with head up and shoulders back.
Place one hand on your chest and the other on your belly.
Breathe in through your nose for four seconds and then exhale for six seconds through pursed lips.
Do this for two minutes or longer whenever you need to relax or center yourself.
Visualize a Better Tomorrow
We are often told to live in the moment, and many people extol the virtues of a life spent “in the now.” To be fair, this is excellent advice, for we cannot live other than in the present.
But I would like to suggest that if you're besieged with worries now, there's nothing wrong envisioning a better tomorrow.
Visualization is a technique that you can use to help deal with the worries of today. It’s an easy practice that helps you focus on the positive changes you want to make in your life.
Visualization is a mental practice where you imagine what you want to achieve or change, and then create a mental image of it.
If you can see it in your mind, there’s a higher chance that you can achieve it in real life.
Visualizing your goals can help boost your motivation, mood, confidence, and focus.
Boost Mental Health with Exercise
Exercise is a powerful anxiety and depression fighter for several reasons.
Most importantly, it promotes all kinds of changes in the brain, including neural growth, reduced inflammation, and new activity patterns that promote feelings of calm and well-being.
It also releases endorphins, powerful chemicals in your brain that energize your spirits and make you feel good.
Finally, exercise can also serve as a distraction, allowing you to find some time to break out of the cycle of negative thoughts that feed depression.
To get the most out of exercise, try to fit in at least three sessions a week, 30 minutes each. Start slowly — you don't have to run a marathon to see benefits.
Even walking 15 or 20 minutes a day can help by boosting your mood and improving sleep patterns and self-esteem.
It's important to stick with the exercise program for at least 3 weeks before expecting any benefits from it.
Once you start seeing results, keep going! You'll reap even greater benefits as time goes on.
Use Food as Medicine
Most of us are aware that we need to eat well and exercise properly in order to take care of our bodies.
But many of us don't realize that food also affects our minds and emotions. There is a close relationship between what we eat and how we feel.
The right foods can help us keep a positive attitude, become more energetic, improve memory, and experience life in a more fulfilling way.
In contrast, the wrong foods can lead to depression, low energy levels, reduced brain function, and an inability to cope with life's challenges.
The good news is that by making some simple changes in your diet, you can increase your chances of living a happy and healthy life!
For example, eat nutrient-dense foods. This should include lots of colorful fruits and vegetables, whole grains and lean protein sources like nuts, seeds, beans and fish.
Healthy fats are also necessary for healthy brain function, so make sure you’re getting enough monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs) and omega-3 fatty acids in your diet as well.
Limit added sugars, excessive salt, trans fat, and other nutritional taboos.
What you put on your plate may greatly impact your mental (and, of course, physical state).
Use Positive Affirmations
Affirmations are short, powerful statements that we can say to ourselves in order to re-program our thinking. They are a great tool that anyone can use and benefit from.
When you repeat them often, your negative thoughts will go away, and your positive thoughts will become stronger.
Studies show that the more positive thoughts you have throughout the day, the happier you feel.
And the more negative thoughts you have, the sadder and more anxious you feel.
Affirmations are an easy way to make sure that your thoughts are positive and happy!
Affirmations work because of something called “neuroplasticity”. This is the brain’s ability to change and adapt as we learn new things, as we experience new things, and as we have new thoughts.
When we think a thought over and over again, a neural pathway is created in our brain, which makes it easier for us to think that thought in the future.
For an affirmation to be effective it needs to be present tense, positive, personal and specific (e.g., "I am happy, at peace, and completely safe").
In her best-selling book Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway, Susan Jeffers says that the key to success is finding the power within ourselves to "handle anything."
Susan's favorite affirmation, which she once taped to her computer, is "I'll handle it."
So, if you find an obstacle standing between you and your goal, repeat this phrase: "I'll handle it." Then set about taking action.
Committing yourself to an effort, rather than wasting time with worry and fear, will bring you closer to success.
Sleep Your Way Through Life's Struggles
In addition to enhancing your mood, sleep helps you cope with challenges that are beyond your control.
It’s part of a normal, healthy lifestyle and has the power to rejuvenate the mind and body.
For many people, sleep is not only an escape from life but also a way to gain perspective on it.
When you sleep, your brain is still at work, moving experiences and information from one part of the brain to another.
This allows you to make new connections in your mind.
These connections provide you with new insights and ideas.
If a lack of sleep interferes with these processes, you may overemphasize your difficulties or fail to find solutions.
Ample sleep can help you overcome obstacles in your path.
Set Aside Quiet Time (and Include Meditation and Mindfulness)
"Meditation practice isn’t about trying to throw ourselves away and become something better. It’s about befriending who we are already." - Pema Chödrön
The stresses and strains of daily life can make you feel like you are at the end of your rope. But there is a lot that you can do to regain your balance.
Set aside quiet time. Forget about your to do list. Just see if you can relax.
Without becoming too emotional, use this quiet time to think about challenges you need to meet head on. If you allow yourself to be distracted by the calls of daily life, it is hard to come up with creative solutions to problems.
Thinking time can be hard to justify, particularly in a busy world where people always seem in a rush, but it is worth making the effort.
Even if you only manage half an hour a day, it will help keep you on an even keel and could make all the difference when thinking about how to deal with a particular crisis.
Meditation and mindfulness are effective tools for helping you deal with stress. They're a way of directing your attention so that your mind becomes calm, clear and positive.
When you meditate and practice mindfulness, you are training your mind to become more aware of the present moment, and to experience reality as it is, rather than through the fog of your usual thought patterns.
This increased awareness gives you more control over your thoughts and emotions. Through meditation and mindfulness, you can learn how to respond to situations in a calmer, wiser way.
See the Humorous Side of Life
Laughter has a profound effect. It relaxes us and reduces or eliminates pain for hours at a time.
Laughter can also help us to gain perspective on our problems, which can make them seem less overwhelming and more solvable.
So, whenever possible, try to laugh at your problems, rather than take them too seriously.
This doesn’t mean that you should treat serious matters lightly—it means that you should look for the humor in life’s little annoyances (and sometimes big ones) when you can.
If you can’t see any humor, try to find other ways in which to cultivate laughter—watch a funny movie or TV show, hang out with people who make you laugh, or just give yourself permission to laugh about things that normally would not be so amusing.
Find Balance in Nature
If you’re going through a tough time, try to get outside and experience nature.
As you walk along, notice how the leaves move with the wind. Notice the birds flying above. Notice the surrounding sounds. Make contact with your environment.
No matter what your struggles are in life, take a moment to look around you and see the beauty in the world. It’s easy to get caught up in our own lives and miss just how amazing this planet is.
Immerse yourself in this nature walk or go for a swim at the lake or beach or hike up a mountain. Get in touch with your surroundings.
See that you are just a small part of the greater world. Notice the interconnectedness of it all. The more you do this, the more you will realize that your problems need not be all-consuming.
Embrace any Healthy Distraction for the Short Term
When you’re in the middle of a problem, you can’t see it clearly. You have too many jumbled thoughts and emotions in your head.
One way to counter your problems is to get away from them.
When I’m in the middle of a crisis, I try to force myself to take a break.
Sometimes I’ll listen to relaxing music, stare at the palm trees in my backyard, read an engrossing book, watch a TV program that stirs my interest…. involve myself in any desirable distraction to take my mind off problems.
I have a relative who goes on vacation when life becomes too hectic for her. When she is thousands of miles away from home, she can finally relax and not be consumed with life stressors.
That’s when things start falling into place for her.
It’s amazing how much clearer things become when you’re forced to look at them from afar.
Healthy distractions can clear your mind, too, and help you see problems from a fresh vantage point.
Let it Out Treatment
Most people bottle up their feelings and carry them around inside, letting the pain build up over time. This is not a healthy way to deal with your emotions. It's far healthier to let them out.
So, when you feel like screaming, scream. When you want to cry, cry. When you want to sit in a corner and be sad, be sad.
The key, however, is not to hurt yourself more, or anyone else in the process of self-expression.
Any emotional release can offer physical and mental health benefits, too.
For example, crying is a natural response to emotions that can help you better cope with stress.
Some research suggests that crying could help protect your health by decreasing harmful hormones that are released in response to emotional stress.
Embrace the Following Serenity Prayer:
"God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference."
When we face struggles in life, we need to know that it is a natural part of the process of living and growing.
And struggling is not something that just happens to us—it is something we choose.
We can choose to struggle against things we cannot change (which does not make sense) or we can choose to struggle toward something better (which makes sense) by taking constructive action.
Struggle is not always bad. It can be good, if it leads to positive results—to growth or an increased capacity to love.
In fact, if you are going through life without any struggles at all, you may be missing out on one of the best ways to learn and grow as a person.
To make good choices about how you will struggle in your life, you need to remember these important lessons:
1) There are some things in life that you have control over and there are some things that you do not have control over.
2) You have to recognize which problems you can exert influence over (and then take action) and which ones are beyond your power to control (and accept with serenity).
Recognize the wisdom that you can only do what you can do.
Set Goals and Make a Plan
While the future is unknown and unpredictable, you can always plan ahead by making a plan of action for dealing with whatever comes next.
Let’s say you lose your job, for example: instead of just sitting around waiting for something else to come along, make a plan for updating your resume and applying for jobs every day.
Planning ahead doesn’t have to be a huge production either. It can be something as simple as dividing your goals into short-term and long-term goals.
Short-term goals are those you can reasonably accomplish within the near future (several months), while long-term goals take longer to reach.
By setting goals, making a plan, and then implementing it, you can gain a stronger sense of control, and eliminate an overwhelmed feeling.
Think and Manifest Positivity and an "I Can Beat This" Attitude
There are times when we go through some difficult periods in life. It may be a relationship breakup, the death of a loved one, health issues or serious illness, financial stress, or work-related problems.
When we go through such struggles, it is not unusual to feel depressed and hopeless. We always feel as if there is no way out and that things will never change.
While sometimes we do not have control over our circumstances or the outcome of events, we can still take control of our thoughts on how to deal with life struggles.
A positive attitude is an important tool for overcoming difficult times in life.
People who have a positive attitude about difficulties believe they can overcome them and find solutions to their problems.
They also believe that facing challenges is something good because it helps them grow and develop personally.
Instead of asking why this happened to them, they ask what they can learn from this experience and what things they can change in order to have a better life in the future.
This does not mean, however, that people with a positive attitude ignore their problems or pretend that everything is fine when it isn’t.
A positive attitude does not mean looking at the world through rose-colored glasses.
It means knowing when to accept things you cannot control and knowing when to strive toward change (remember embracing the Serenity Prayer, above?).
Times can be tough. You can lose a job, have a falling out with friends and family, or go through relationship troubles, health issues or financial woes.
Of course, it’s not always about you. Sometimes, the world around you is in turmoil — war breaks out, a pandemic occurs, or natural disasters hit.
Regardless of what life throws your way, you need to keep going. Here are some ways to handle life struggles:
a. Persevere. Decide to stick with it until you succeed. Work as hard as you can no matter what obstacles come your way.
b. Show determination. Determination is a stubborn drive that keeps you moving toward your goal even when things get difficult or don’t go as planned.
c. Don’t wave the white flag of surrender. If you quit early and give up, there will be no success story to tell, nor any lessons learned from the experience that could help others who are struggling.
d. Work harder and smarter. Tough times call for harder work and smarter decisions if you want to make it through to the other side.
e. Solutions may be forthcoming if you’re patient enough to find them and persistent enough to make them happen.
Find the Resiliency and Power Within
"The human capacity for burden is like bamboo- far more flexible than you’d ever believe at first glance.” ― Jodi Picoult
Have you ever noticed that some people seem to breeze through life with little trouble, while others are constantly struggling to get by?
It’s not that one person is more intelligent or skilled than the other. It’s because one person has developed a mindset of resilience, while the other has not.
Resilient people can handle challenges without allowing them to become overwhelming.
They have developed a way of thinking about their circumstances that enables them to cope with whatever happens.
But you, too, can develop a more resilient mindset -- one that just may be lying dormant within.
Remember, you have weathered other storms. You’ve been able to handle other difficulties. This should give you confidence to manage now.
And don’t place yourself in the victim's role. You may feel defeated, victimized by your circumstances, but this is not true!
You are in control over your thoughts and emotions.
You have overcome obstacles and will over obstacles through resiliency and self-empowerment.
"If you count all your assets, you always show a profit." Robert Quillen
The more you focus on your problems, the more they become overwhelming. It’s important to take a step back and realize that despite your struggles, there is still so much to be grateful for.
That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be realistic about the problems in your life. Instead, it means that you should be mindful of your blessings, too.
To keep a proper perspective, it’s especially important to write what you’re grateful for, preferably in a journal or diary. In fact, Harvard scientists have found that expressing gratitude can make you happier.
Even if everything seems to go wrong in your life, there is at least one thing going right.
Maybe it’s wonderfully supportive friends or a fulfilling job or being healthy or even just having food on the table.
No matter what the case is for you, take the time to journal the good things in your life so that when you feel overwhelmed by your problems, you have something else to focus on.
Final Words About Struggling with Life
When tragedy or disappointment strikes, we have three choices: Let it define you, let it destroy you or let it strengthen you.
The way you respond to the challenge in front of you means everything. You can choose to withdraw and give up, or you can choose to rise from the pain and overcome the challenge in front of you.
Letting it define you means allowing it to consume your thoughts, words, and actions. It means letting it determine how you feel about yourself and the world around you.
People who let things define them are often angry, bitter and closed off from others. They believe their life is determined by forces outside their control, and that they have no power over their happiness.
Letting things destroy you means allowing them to ruin your outlook on life, relationships, and your future.
These people have not moved on from a tragedy or disappointment; instead, they dwell on it constantly, replaying it in their minds over and over again until these thoughts destroy their sense of self-worth and outlook on life.
The strongest approach is to let adversity strengthen you.
These people know that challenges are temporary — they come into our lives just long enough to strengthen us so we can move on with purpose and resolve.
When adversity strikes, they don’t focus on what is wrong; they focus on what they can do about it and learn from the experience instead.
I’ve provided a host of strategies to effectively deal with the inevitable problems of life.
It’s my wish that these tips can ease your struggles with life and give you a whole new perspective where life is worth living.
You can make it through the rain!