Reacting to Challenges

Hardships, setbacks, and disappointments are inevitable in life. No matter how much we prepare or how hard we work, life is bound to throw us curveballs and challenges sometimes. Some challenges are minor (such as a flat tire during a morning commute) and others are major (such as a job loss or health concern).

As someone who used to struggle with anxiety, lack of control is a major trigger of mine. I used to let my feelings of powerlessness get to me, but now, I am learning to shift my focus away from “powerlessness” to “power” all by transforming my mindset.

Although we cannot change what happens to us, we can change how we react to it, which restores control and transforms a passive situation into an opportunity for active choice. This is a comforting thought to me.

Today’s quote is from Charles “Chuck” Swindoll, a pastor, educator, and author. This is one of my all-time favorite quotes because when I read it, I remember that I am in control of my responses. I am reminded that I don’t have to sit back and be beaten down by every situation that life throws at me. In times of hardship, I try to remember that some challenges can actually be exciting opportunities for growth. Instead of always being steered blindly by fate, I have the ability to choose how I will respond.

Approach a situation with logic. When I am facing a difficult situation, I first try to approach the problem logically, instead of emotionally. Emotions are very important, but I have found that they can (sometimes) cloud rational judgment with excessive noise. If I remove the emotional component from a challenge, I am often able to see a situation with greater clarity and calmness.

Remember that optimism always wins. Second, I remember to always be “militantly optimistic.” I first saw this phrase a few years ago on social media, and I love it. I believe that optimism and positivity must be aggressively practiced, because the brain has a natural tendency to point out the negative. A positive outlook is a habit, and the more it’s practiced the stronger it becomes.

Follow through to completion. Lastly, I put my chosen reaction into practice. However I choose to handle a challenge, I try to follow those principles through to the very end. I’ll admit, as an ENFP personality type with a high propensity to fail at follow-through, this last step is not easy for me. I try to make a conscious effort to stay focused and remain consistent throughout the process.

I am learning to overcome life’s challenges by becoming better at handling the problems that are dealt to me. Do you have any tips for staying positive when the going gets tough? Drop them in the comments!

Disclaimer: I am not a psychologist, and all of my mindfulness exercises are based off of personal experience. Please do not practice these techniques in place of visiting a licensed professional.

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