How to Use Resilience to Fuel a Better World Vision

How to Use Resilience to Fuel a Better World Vision

Resilience is that enigmatic quality we all seek when life gets rocky; it is the quality that allows us to dig deep, find renewed courage and face our biggest fears so we can tame our dragons and emerge unscathed at the other end of turbulent times.

Radical resilience offers us that hidden ability during crisis to get back up, dust ourselves off and generate a new vision for our lives at every level.

Genuine resilience has nothing to do with claims of invincibility, superiority or willpower; rather, it depends on our willingness to be vulnerable and stand firm at the very times when we don´t know the next step.

In spiritual terms, resiliency involves the commitment to awaken further during times of setback instead of shutting down, and that awakening leads to growth in wisdom and faith.

Charles Dickens´ classic novel A Tale of Two Cities, opens with these lines:

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair … we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way …”

These words could well be used to describe current times instead of the French Revolution era almost 250 years ago that Dickens described! It tells about a time of chaos, conflict and despair; a time of controversies and contradictions, as well as happiness.

Still today, these challenges are inherent in life and thus continue. Life is filled with difficulties and triumphs, obstacles and opportunities.

Humanity is in the midst of a resurgent pandemic, suffering from a lack of leadership and facing the threat of economic collapse. We are caught up in civic uprisings and struggles against racial and social injustice worldwide. Beyond these immediate threats, we´re still facing a global climate crisis that makes the rest of our actions look like rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic.

Because all things are interconnected, the transformation we yearn for involves not a single change, but a cascade of complex changes. The way we approach these changes, could ultimately lead to global destruction or a genuine transformation of the world as we´ve known it.

The critical choices and responsibilities are ours.

We are being called to a greater sense of meaning and purpose in our lives. Effective choices and actions must come from a deeper level of understanding. We are called on to embark on a collective rite of passage to transform old beliefs and find new ways to orient our lives despite radical uncertainty and rapid change.

The pressure caused by continuing, rapid, major crises reveals hidden fault lines, great inequities and painful injustices in all areas of our lives. It is calling us to respond with more than simple survival: long-term resilience requires that we respond in the midst of crisis with genuine inner change on a personal level, so we can merge our purified vision with others` to transform society from the bottom up.

Resilience is a hard-earned quality. It is not developed by a life of comfort, ease and safety, despite what the ego would have us believe. Only when faced with obstacles, stress, and external threat does resilience develop. Psychological studies show that children who do not face adversity early in life tend to lack a capacity for resiliency. As the old proverb goes, “Smooth seas make bad sailors.”

Resiliency can be developed by facing difficult times with faith and courage. It does not matter how many setbacks we face, or how many failures we experience, what matters is how we respond to challenges.

The soul is the only aspect of a person that cannot be overwhelmed. It is the seat and living source of human resilience.

We deepen our resilience by responding from the soul, and not the ego. Whereas the ego screams for revenge, the soul takes inventory and accepts humble responsibility for its own part in the unfolding picture. Instead of stirring up more turmoil, it forgives the wrongs. In so doing, it neutralizes the escalation of hatred and anger by extending forgiveness and compassion.

No matter how dark the night, the soul can find salient aspects to help the human soul awaken further. There is much that we can do to support this process.

We are in a collective rite of passage, a rare state of transition that can transform the nature of societies worldwide. If we can hold a vision for the emergence of a more inclusive humanity, we can find ways to navigate the rough terrain from here to there. Meanwhile, we need to embrace the unifying moments of community that appear in the midst of conflict, participating in these moments as part of the collective healing process where we agree to protect and care for one another.

In these troubled times, we can also draw closer to like-minded souls who share this greater vision. Our soul tribe may span the globe and all timelines past, present and future. We can find comfort in nature and in our animal companions. And we can draw from the well of Spirit to renew our faith so we can hold that vision for the world we wish to create, standing strong, brave and unwavering in the face of the demolition of the old. We can tend the sacred spark of our inner lives to embody a more soulful presence in this world.

Ultimately, it is the awakened soul that rises above isolation and despair. By nurturing this awakened state in ourselves and others, we will find the strength to hold onto that higher collective vision and to do our part toward its fulfillment. In fact, it is our sacred duty to support and serve the sparks of holiness we find others and in the world.

The light that burns in us is also the light that dwells in others; it is the hidden light at the center of all things. When the inner light of soul awakens from within, it enlivens things in the world around us as well. That is how things change, from the inside out; from the soul to the world. The radical resilience of the awakened heart can hold a vision of greater inclusiveness to spur us on toward acts of courage and forgiveness, leading us toward the creation of a better world.

How to Overcome Difficult Emotions With Self-Compassion

How to Overcome Difficult Emotions With Self-Compassion

Self-compassion is a powerful antidote to difficult emotions such as anxiety and shame. It is a portable form of therapy that can be applied anywhere.

Many people think of self-compassion as a weak trait and shun it in their effort to act tough. And yet, self-compassion is hugely important to help us learn and grow.

It allows us to become more resilient because we accept the inherent possibility of both failure and success in all areas of life, instead of resisting it. Through the lens of self-compassion, we recognize that both failure and success are part of the process of life. Instead of hardening our stance in the face of setbacks, this recognition helps us to accept ourselves and our best effort as good enough in each moment. Even when we fail, self-compassion gives us the courage to try again.

The aspect of ourselves that judges, blames or shames ourselves or others, will be the slowest in evolving. Our least evolved parts are usually stuck in basic survival instincts, including excessive self-criticism, fear, hatred and shame.

By healing this within us, we are able to fully evolve.

Whenever we feel threatened by something outside ourselves, we automatically revert back to the primal fight/freeze/flight response for protection and safety. We lash out, self-isolate or avoid confrontation instead of learning how to effectively deal with challenges.

When danger is experienced on the inside, we go a step further: we internalize the fight/freeze/flight response and instead judge, blame or abandon ourselves. We devolve toward self-criticism, isolation and stuckness – the unholy trinity of woundedness.

A good case in point is the anxiety that many people experience around public speaking. According to psychologist and mindfulness practitioner Dr. Chris Germer, a public speaking anxiety is not an anxiety disorder; it is a shame disorder. At the root of the anxiety that causes us to fear failure or to choke up, lies deep shame.

When we internalize our shame, we create anxiety.

Self-compassion dissolves this excessive shame and self-criticism to bring balance thru self-love. In essence, the practice of self-compassion allows us to hold ourselves in the midst of shame, acknowledging that we are all imperfect beings and embracing ourselves nonetheless.

Many of us extend compassion toward others, yet have difficulty in holding compassion toward ourselves. We can be compassionate to others because we don’t feel immediately threatened by their challenges.

And yet, healthy self-compassion is a necessary prerequisite to master before we can offer true compassion to others.

Why is it so difficult for us to develop self-compassion?

Self-compassion is not our first response at the instinctual level of survival; it is a skill we need to develop from a spiritual perspective if we wish to break free from living at basic levels of survival and evolve into our fullest potential. Old conditioning of self-judgment, unworthiness and shame also make it difficult for us to practice self-compassion and block our growth. To continue evolving, it becomes essential for us to address these emotions.

Self-compassion can be seen as a melting of the heart in the face of difficulty – stepping out of judgment and into compassion devoid of judgment for ourselves or others. It allows the lower, denser emotions to dissolve in the higher frequencies of compassion and love.

When the heart starts to soften around an issue, we will re-experience some of the same emotions previously triggered by conditions: shame, guilt, pain, grief, disappointment and more. And yet, as we learn how to hold that space of compassion for ourselves, we become strong enough to hold our pain as well. By becoming present and acknowledging these buried emotions, they can finally dissolve so we can let go of woundedness in our lives.

Self-compassion gives us the capacity to hold ourselves in love while we process old pain differently and resolve it, instead of staying stuck in a dysfunctional coping mechanism. This practice allows us to become stronger and more resilient, and we grow in grace.

Even as life continues to offer us emotional triggers, our growing ability for self-compassion and understanding empowers us to hold that safe space of compassion for ourselves. It allows us to see ourselves as a work in process, holding our struggles and the messiness of our lives in compassion. I believe this is what pioneering psychologist Carl Rogers meant when he said: “When I accept myself just as I am, I can begin to change.”

Self-compassion becomes easier with practice. It develops our ability to extend compassion and forgiveness to all forms of life, and to offer more life-expanding love to others. Ultimately, it connects us intimately to the abundantly rich wellspring life.

Self-compassion is not self-indulgence; it means treating ourselves with the same care, love and support we would give another.

This inner stance allows us to ask ourselves what we need and then giving that to ourselves. It allows us to recognize that all people are imperfect – including us – and to admit that in ourselves at the very moment we feel we’re failing. It gives us the grace to accept what is instead of getting stuck in resistance and denial.

At the core of self-compassion lies mindfulness – observing things as they happen and being willing to stay present with difficult emotions. Mindfulness is a wonderful practice because it teaches us how to step out of the drama and practice compassion toward ourselves and all sentient beings.

Lasting transformation comes not from just understanding the process of self-compassion, but putting it into practice as a personal way of living.

Here are a few guidelines to help you live from a place of self-compassion:

  • When you find yourself failing or suffering, bring mindfulness to it – acknowledge that you are struggling to validate yourself.
  • Remind yourself of the common humanity of the situation – this is not just you; it is part of all of life. Struggle is a part of life.
  • Speak some words of kindness to yourself; comfort yourself and give yourself the encouragement that you would give your best friend.
  • Cultivate the habit of practicing lovingkindness to yourself and all sentient beings in all circumstances – especially the challenging ones! An excellent place to start is with the Buddhist Lovingkindness prayer, one version of which you can find at Buddhagroove.
  • Commit to a daily practice of self-compassion. In the flow of life, a self-compassionate response means honoring the pain of seeing what we’ve done; recognize difficult situations as areas in need of healing, acknowledging the experience and its related shame in love, and then opening our hearts with forgiveness and compassion in the midst of shame.

When more and more people commit to practicing self-compassion, we create a culture of kindness in which everyone can heal and grow. Together, we can become a force for healing in a broken world.

About the Author

©Copyright Ada Porat. For more information, visit https://adaporat.com. This article may be freely distributed in whole or in part, provided there is no charge for it and this notice is attached.

Your Life Is Your Message

Your Life Is Your Message

Gandhi, that great peacemaker and inspirational leader, applied a simple motto to his life. It read, “My life is my message.”

Gandhi understood that we communicate with everyone we encounter each day; our lives are the books read by others, and our message is shared through our attitudes, values, beliefs, thoughts, words and actions – everything that drives us daily.

The message of your life consists of three very important components. Through it:

  • You guide yourself to what is possible;
  • You guide others about what is most important to you and what they can expect of you; and
  • You affect and influence the larger environment around you.

What does your life message say? Your message will always communicate what is most important to you. For your life to have positive impact, it is essential to cultivate awareness of the issues that occupy your time and attention.

You shape your life through the power of your attention before you even make a choice. Whatever you pay attention to, think about, dwell on, talk, worry or obsess about, will increase and multiply until it affects who you become.

  • If you constantly think about what frightens you, you will become more fearful.
  • If you constantly think about how unfair life is, you will see more reasons to support this view.
  • If you believe you are worthless, your choices and behaviors will reflect that belief.
  • If you feel entitled to be angry, you will find more and more to be angry about.

Likewise, when you pay close attention to what is positive, hopeful, supportive, uplifting and encouraging, your life and sense of self will inevitably reflect that.

You have the power to choose what you cultivate in the inner garden of your mind!

Whatever your circumstances, you can direct your attention to what will most positively affect your attitudes and actions. Your personal attitudes and values can lift your spirits or dash them far more effectively than anything outside yourself can!

The power of consciously focusing your attention also sets the stage for personal empowerment in your life. To the same extent that you harness your focus to practice self-awareness and self-knowledge, personal happiness and inner harmony become available within. Self-knowledge helps guide optimal choices, so the more self-knowledge you develop, the more self-empowered you ultimately become.

True self-knowledge allows for an honest assessment of strengths and weaknesses – not to judge or avoid the weaker aspects, but to allow for their healing and integration. This process is at the core of all personal growth. It ultimately empowers you to call on inner strengths and capabilities to meet life’s challenges, instead of making excuses for your woundedness or fear. Each time you strengthen or heal an area of woundedness, you become more integrated and more resilient to make empowering choices.

Over time, self-knowledge fosters trust in yourself and in the choices you make. There is no short-cut to true self-knowledge; it is developed in the thick of living where it grows from keen awareness and attention to the unfolding process of your life.

Your life is your most powerful message to others, and self-knowledge allows you to fine-tune that message. By observing your life and actions, you can cultivate the attitude and skills necessary to fulfill your life purpose in the most optimal way.

Here are a few pointers to get you started on honing your unique message:

Observe your impact on other people. Put yourself in their shoes. See yourself from their perspective. Listen to yourself. Get to know your emotional terrain and how it affects everyone around you. When you don’t like what you see, change it!

Listen carefully to your own stories. Your stories shape your character, temperament and sense of what is possible, so know what your stories are. How do you habitually describe the impact of life events on you? What themes do you emphasize? Which stories do you keep harking back to? When you see the impact of the stories you tell, you can change your habitual stories for more optimal outcomes.

Know your strengths and weaknesses. Perhaps even more important than your strengths, is the awareness of what challenges you. Both strengths and obstacles have lots to teach you. True authenticity is found by being aware of your weaknesses and working to improve them, yet choosing to reach for your highest potential.

Find out what matters to you. What do you talk about most persistently? Where are you focusing your time, money and attention? If it does not bring you the outcomes you desire, perhaps it is time to shift your focus.

Notice what makes you happy. What makes you feel genuinely excited and alive? What inspires and moves you? What fascinates you? Focus on these things, and they will surely expand to enrich your life.

Notice what dampens your enthusiasm. What are the thoughts that drive your fearful thinking? When you become aware of the thoughts that trigger your emotions and spin you into fear, anxiety or depression, you can exchange them for positive ones. Emotions  are driven by thoughts, not the other way around.

Notice how much you learn from your mistakes. There is no failure in life; there is only learning. Cultivating this attitude will save you from repeating self-destructive behaviors. Adopting an open mind leads to learning and growth; it also allows you to let go of habitual defensiveness and fear because you increasingly act from self-awareness instead of ignorance.

Learn from other people. It has been said that smart people learn from their experiences; brilliant people learn from the experiences of others. When you appreciate the experiences of others, you do not need to repeat them for your own learning; instead, you can avoid pitfalls and focus on optimal actions.

Get to know your inner world. You are the only companion you have for life. By getting to understand your own dreams, hopes and wishes, you’re able to support yourself in the best possible way to reach those goals while maintaining a sense of inner harmony.

Stay curious. Children are wonderful teachers because their minds are not cluttered with value judgments of good and bad. The more curiosity you cultivate about life, the more you will move out of judgment and into the field of possibilities from where miracles happen.

Your life is indeed your unique message and contribution to the world. Self-knowledge is the key to unlock that message so you can communicate most effectively with yourself, others and the world around you.

About the author

©Copyright Ada Porat. For more information, visit http://adaporat.com. This article may be freely distributed in whole or in part, provided there is no charge for it and this notice is attached.

Ten Truths To Empower You Right Now

Ten Truths To Empower You Right Now

Living your best life is all about making the most with what you have right now. Clearing the cobwebs from old, limiting thinking can be a great way for you to shine. Here are ten truths to challenge limiting beliefs and empower you so you can make the most of your life now:

1.Nobody knows why anybody does anything – and it doesn’t matter.

You don’t have to figure out why your neighbor ignores you or what happened to someone as a child to make her so mean. We humans are products of both our nature and our nurture – most of the time, we do things simply because we can. Trying to figure out why keeps us stuck in the past, so stop the over-analysis. Let it go, be here now and don’t take things personally!

2. Nobody owes you a thing.

Life is a precious gift, not an entitlement. You could never repay the time, love and support it took to get where you are today: loved ones, teachers and peers believed in you, challenged you and pushed you to become who you are. So, the real question is not what you can get from life, but what you are giving back in return.

3. You’ll be balanced when you’re dead…

Not a moment sooner! We chase balance like the Holy Grail, but it is the very cyclical nature of change that adds momentum to life. If you’re passionate about something, you may well want more of it in your life, so go for it. Your kids won’t turn into losers if you miss a few softball practices, so ease up on yourself. Learn to surf the waves of change with inner equilibrium instead.

4. Multi-tasking is an oxymoron.

Don’t be intimidated by people who do five things at once. Studies show that we don’t actually do more than one thing at a time – we simply switch our attention rapidly between projects, and we compromise on the quality of our output. Would you feel comfortable with a surgeon who juggles performing your surgery while texting and making phone calls? Choose to be masterfully present with one thing at a time instead of trying to be a jack of all trades, and you will ultimately be more effective.

5. You don’t deserve anything you have.

If in doubt, go back to #2. Entitlement is really unattractive. No matter how hard you’ve worked or planned, it is delusional to think that you are in complete control of the outcomes. God, circumstance, the actions of others, and timing all play big parts in your success, so skip the entitlement and practice gratitude for what life brings.

6. You’re ordinary. 

Relax, it’s a compliment! Ordinary people are reliable, industrious and consistent. Superstars often lose their inner freedom to the demands of fame, especially when their egos take over. Who would you rather call at 2 AM when your car breaks down – Tony Robbins or your brother-in-law?

7. You’re not a victim; you’re a volunteer.

The old saying that nobody can take advantage of you without your permission is true. We teach people how to treat us. If you don’t want something to happen anymore, don’t set it up in the first place. You change your life by changing yourself first.

8. You’re right. Life isn’t fair.

Life is more random that we could have ever imagined! It is also interesting and instructive when you keep an open mind, for it is from the seemingly random dynamics of change, that miracles emerge and possibilities show up.

9. There is no perfect time.

There is no place where time stands still and standards are lowered to keep you in your comfort zone. At any point in time there are only three things present: you, and life, and this very moment. What you make of this present moment, is up to you. What are you doing with your life right now?

10. Gratitude is next to Godliness.

Cleanliness is way down the list!  I have yet to encounter someone at the end of life regretting the dust on their furniture or the stains on their windows… but many regret the opportunities for gratitude they passed up. Eckhart Tolle puts it this way: “Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance.” Look for things you can be grateful for and you will be amazed at how many more blessings show up.

About The Author:

©Copyright Ada Porat. For more information, visit http://adaporat.com. This article may be freely distributed in whole or in part, provided there is no charge for it and this notice is attached.

How to Stay Strong When Things Go Wrong

How to Stay Strong When Things Go Wrong

Do you wish you could stay strong when setbacks hit and things go wrong? If so, you’re not alone! Setbacks and disappointments are a part of life, but learning how to effectively deal with them, can help to strengthen us from within.

When faced with setbacks, disappointments and stagnation, the first thing to do is not to fight back harder, but to step back and regain perspective before proceeding. This may feel counterproductive at first, but it is vitally important.

When we get so focused that we see things as black and white, good or bad, we can get boxed into rigidity. Truth is, life consist of an entire spectrum of possibilities, rather than just two choices. Stepping back and refocusing opens our minds to more ways of seeing and acting in life.

It does not always require a major shift; even a small tweak can make a difference. Just step back and shift your perspective enough to include one more way of looking at that situation. Is it really true that you are the only actor responsible for creating a desired outcome? It may be more accurate to say you represent one of many conditions that need to come together for something to unfold.

Even when we put our best into something, the outcome might not be what we expected. There may be very strong messages from inside and around us telling us that the outcome is the most important thing, yet that is a limited perspective. The outcome is less important than cultivating our capacity to be with whatever is, even when it is not at all what we have wished for.

This means learning to be okay with not knowing, with not being able to control the outcome. We continue to practice and train our ability to at peace within, and we don’t take the outcome personally.

This is at the heart of authentic spiritual work: it includes both being and doing; awareness as well as the discipline of application. What keeps us pliable in this often challenging process, is the attitude of gratitude.

Gratitude is not dependent on external circumstances. We don’t feel gratitude just because everything is going great, although that’s important to acknowledge. We especially need to practice gratitude when things are not going the way we want them to. It’s when things go wrong, that we are faced with deeper attachments and desires that often masquerade as needs.

To stay flexible, we need to practice gratitude anyhow; similar to the concept of “hallelujah anyhow” that is often heard in black churches; giving thanks and finding gratitude not because of our circumstances, but despite them.

The challenge is to stay in a receptive, open place, not fighting against what’s happening, but digging deeper within to live from our core values, to be the difference we wish to see in the world, and to lead by example in making a difference despite the setbacks we may face. It requires us to dig deep and keep showing up, doing our best with the resources and gifts that we ourselves have been given to make this world a better place.

And when our best is not sufficient to change things around yet, we entrust the outcomes to a Higher hand and we stay the course with compassion for ourselves and others. Once conditions are appropriate, the outcomes will be sure. In the meantime, the work remains because living from our true core and purpose is the only meaningful way to live. Even when conditions are not yet appropriate for optimal outcomes to show up, we can say “hallelujah” anyhow, and stay the course.

Setbacks and delays are part of life’s reality, and they are fully workable. Our practice is to not pull away from the dissonance, not to withdraw from what we are faced with; and in that place where commitment and discipline meet the obstacles, our souls learn resilience and strength.

This is true especially when you feel outnumbered and alone. Don’t get locked into the duality of blame and shame! You cannot be successful by feeding what you are fighting, so when you reach this point, step back and regroup!

Do something good instead. Recognize that we need the shadow to show us the light, and navigate by forgiving the limitations of the shadow and finding a way to shine the light.

One of the biggest pitfalls in our society is the way in which personal preferences are mislabeled as needs. People often attempt to manipulate others by presenting their emotional preferences as needs, and then demanding these “needs” be met. Listen to individuals for a day and you’ll notice how often this is used to manipulate: “I need you to be quiet now,” “I need you to listen to me,” “I need you to do this right now,” and the list goes on.

In reality, these statements confuse emotional preferences with needs. They are indicative of misappropriate use of the limbic brain, where needs and preferences are often confused in early childhood. Adults who get stuck in this dysfunctional behavior, create a lot of chaos for themselves and others.

An emotional “need” is not the same as the biological need for oxygen, food and shelter; it is simply a preference. In fact, psychologist Steven Stosny identifies only one valid emotional need for adults, and that is to act consistently on deeper values.

When we consistently act from our deeper values, all the emotional preferences that parade as important needs, will either be satisfied as a byproduct of meaningful living, or they will drop away as unimportant in the bigger lens of living a purposeful life.

The best way to attain the life you want to have, is to approach it from the perspective of living it in alignment with your deeper values and meaning, not from emotional preferences masquerading as “needs.”

When you do that, you will find your roots digging deeper so you can stay strong when things go wrong.

About The Author:

©Copyright Ada Porat. For more information, visit http://adaporat.com. This article may be freely distributed in whole or in part, provided there is no charge for it and this notice is attached.

How To Recover From Setbacks In Ten Proven Steps

How To Recover From Setbacks In Ten Proven Steps

Disasters and upheaval happen in every life. Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to recover from setbacks faster?

You may have been spared the trauma of earthquakes, random violence or war… only to face work layoffs, escalating debt, or a devastating medical diagnosis. Perhaps you feel stuck working at a job you hate but can’t leave because of current market conditions, or you don’t know how to change a seriously dysfunctional relationship.

When setbacks hit, it is common to feel overwhelmed, helpless and scared. In fact, others may tell you that you are overreacting; things are not all that bad.

If that is true, why do you feel so bad? The current setback in your life may have triggered an avalanche of past trauma memories or flashbacks, evoking deep emotional trauma for you.

Your ability to bounce back from setbacks depends on many factors, including your natural resilience or ability to cope with stress, the severity of the trauma, and what types of support you have access to.

When setbacks leave you feeling disempowered and vulnerable, it may be tempting to self-medicate with alcohol or drugs. These substances may temporarily soothe you, but they make things worse in the long run. Substance abuse worsens many symptoms of trauma. It also leads to emotional numbing, social isolation, anger and depression. Ultimately, such forms of self-medication interfere with treatment and can add to problems at home and in relationships.

As news of disturbing events continue to unfold worldwide, it is more important than ever to sharpen your coping skills at physical, emotional and spiritual levels. It is up to you to put together your own disaster-preparation kit, so that you can be resilient in navigating the winds of change! Here are some positive coping strategies to help you get through times of stress and upheaval:

1. Recognize that you may be grieving. Grief is a natural part of the life cycle that follows loss. You may find yourself cycling back and forth through the five major stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Cycling through the stages of grief is normal – you are not losing your grip on reality. Allow yourself to grieve for the parts of life that you have lost, and take comfort in knowing that this process will come to completion in due time.

2. Honor your losses. Loss can show up in many ways. You may have lost your job, a relationship, a loved one, friends, pets, your home, possessions, your dreams, health, or your quality of life. Try writing about your loss or create a ritual to express your sense of loss. Rather than expecting to just “get over it” and move on with your life, take time to honor and affirm your losses – it is a valuable part of the healing process.

3. Talk to someone for support. During setbacks, it is important not to isolate yourself. Instead, make an effort to be with supportive people that you have carefully identified as safe. Face the challenges in your life and identify the most important problems. Then get help from safe friends, family members or professionals to help you address these so you can move past them.

4. Find your new normal. When life as you knew it ends, you may feel as if your entire infrastructure has collapsed, and previous guidelines lose meaning. You may find your emotions swinging from one extreme to another, temporarily losing your sense of what’s normal. When your personal world falls apart, it is important to remember that you are not alone, weak, or crazy. It helps to know your problems are shared by many others who have experienced – and survived – similar setbacks.

5. Break things into manageable chunks. When feeling too scattered to focus, recognize that your mind is trying to cope with your situation the best it can. Instead of berating yourself, take positive steps to regroup. Slow down. Give yourself time to focus on what you need to learn or do. Write things down and make “To Do” lists. Break tasks down into smaller, manageable chunks. Set just one realistic goal or task for each day. And get help if you need it.

6. Take time out when angry. The stress that accompanies major setbacks can create irritability and anger. This can affect your self-control, health and relationships. Anger can increase your heart rate so much that you cannot think clearly. Remember that staying angry doesn’t work. It actually increases stress and can cause health problems. Burn your anger off in the gym or get professional help to learn how to manage it more effectively.

7. Reconnect to positive emotions. After a major setback, many people have trouble feeling or expressing positive emotions. They may even feel guilty for surviving. This is a common reaction to trauma. It is not helpful to feel guilty for something you did not want to happen and cannot control. Instead, shift your focus to gratitude for surviving and resolve to make your life count!

8. Exercise positive thinking. Monitor your thoughts. If they cause you to feel stuck or helpless, switch to more helpful thoughts. For example, if you find yourself thinking, “I can’t do it,” challenge yourself with questions such as: “Is it really true that I can’t do it?” “Is it always true?” “Under what circumstances could I do it?” “What could help me do it?” Then select a more helpful train of thought that builds confidence. In this case, you might say to yourself, “With the right help, I can get through this.”

9. Take time to relax. Consciously choose to focus on something positive to help you relax. Some helpful activities include mental calming with progressive relaxation, mindfulness meditation, or conscious breathing; physical exercise such as swimming, walking or yoga; spiritual activities such as prayer, chanting or singing; and other healing activities such as listening to quiet music, spending time with pets or being in nature.

10. Reach out to help others. Helping others in need or volunteering in your community can be powerful ways for you to heal. It relieves stress by taking your mind off your own problems for awhile, and helps you see them in a different light. Providing support for others can also make you feel more connected and empowered.

Together, these guidelines can help you bounce back from life’s setbacks stronger and wiser!

©Copyright Ada Porat. For more information, visit adaporat.com. This article may be freely distributed in whole or in part, provided there is no charge for it and this notice is attached.