Life does not always go our way. We all go through emotional struggles, failed relationships, work stress, loss of a loved one and so on. We may also experience physical struggles such as lack of sleep, injuries, illness or general ill-being. Going through a rough patch is tough as one might not feel good about one’s life and constantly wondering why things are happening the way they do. You feel helpless, hopeless and depressed about your state of being.
Over the last few years I have adopted methods to make transitioning through the storms easier. I learnt this approach at a resilience training workshop I attended two years ago. I have come across the same approach in many books and blogs. So how does one take the steps towards recovery from a rough patch?
Gratitude: Appreciate the goodness in your life
The answer to coming out of a rough patch in life is gratitude, being thankful about something or someone in your life right now. When we go through a rough patch we tend to spend most of our time focusing our minds on the problem. As a result we forget the positive aspects of our life and the world around us. My strategy is to change that focus and use gratitude to focus on things that I am thankful for. Take time to ponder, think about life and create a list of things you are thankful for. If I had to write down my gratitude list today it would include:
- I have a loving family and great parents who are supportive of my pursuits and dreams.
- I have a great core set of friends that I share experiences with and learn continuously from.
- I am healthy.
- I have a great job in a field I enjoy working in, at a company that does work that aligns well with my values.
- I can afford decent and safe accommodation as well as to eat healthy food everyday.
- I live in a beautiful city.
- I have the freedom to live the lifestyle I want to live.
- I can afford and have access to many learning resources (internet, kindle books, etc).
- I am inspired by other people everyday and I try do the same for others too.
- I am alive.
Going through this gratitude exercise allows me to focus on the positive aspects of my life. This lets me reduce the impact of my negative situation. Some recommend doing the gratitude exercise everyday. This will ensure you consistently keep perspective of the positive things in your life. You will start to appreciate people and things around you more. I have found the gratitude exercise most beneficial for me in difficult times. I am reminded that I am still ok, even when things seem horrible around me. Gratitude is the first step in bouncing back, to reclaiming one’s happiness. This is why I find that these days I hardly spend a long time facing a bad time in my life.
You will come across obstacles in life, fair and unfair. And you will discover, time and time again, that what matters most is not what these obstacles are but how we see them, how we react to them, and whether we keep our composure. You will learn that this reaction determines how successful we will be in overcoming, or possibly thriving because of them.
Next time you are going through a rough patch, give the gratitude exercise a try and see what happens.