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How to Change Your Outlook and Overcome Adversity

How to Change Your Outlook and Overcome Adversity

“It is your reaction to adversity, not the adversity itself that determines how your life’s story will develop.” — Dieter F. Uchtdorf

Adversity is a common theme in life. As much as we all would love to sail through life unblemished by strife, it isn’t realistic. Jobs change, relationships end, illness strikes and we are left having to pick up the pieces and adapt.

You cannot control adversity, but what you can control is your reaction to it. This was a difficult concept for me to understand, and it isn’t a quick fix – it’s a lesson I learn again and again each time life throws me another test.

It’s so easy to be a victim when we’re faced with a troubling situation, but being a victim won’t help you. It’s natural to feel sorry for yourself in the moment, and then it’s time to let that go for a different perspective.

Say you lose your job, for example. The situation was out of your control: you were laid off. Maybe your first instinct is to feel victimized and start thinking things like, “I’m not good enough,” or “I’ll never find another job.” If you stick with that thought process then you likely won’t find another job, because you’re letting defeat take over and those negative thoughts will soon become your identity.

Now, imagine the same scenario, but this time your thoughts follow a different pattern. You’re upset, but then the positive thoughts start pouring in: “It was out of my control,” “I can apply this experience to a new job,” “This is a chance to find an even better place of work.” An optimistic attitude will open up so many more opportunities than negativity ever could.

I know that might seem like common sense to you, and that’s wonderful if you’re naturally a person who is optimistic while facing hard times. It wasn’t that easy for me. My immediate response to adversity was to take it personally, to let negativity permeate my mind with lies. Lies that I wasn’t strong or capable enough to fix the situation, lies that things would never get better, that I would always be unhappy.

Eventually I came to fear adversity even when none was to be found. Small stressors in my life piled onto me like heavy winter coats until I felt smothered. Clearly something needed to change – that’s when I saw the quote by Uchtdorf. I realized if I didn’t change my attitude soon, then my life’s story would be full of bitterness and negativity.

Here are 5 ways to change your attitude and overcome adversity:

Reflect on the experience

Take some time to process your feelings. I like to free-write in a notebook and then weed out any illogical thoughts or negativity I’m telling myself and replace them with realistic solutions. You can learn a lot from yourself by spending 10 minutes writing down your thoughts.

Surround yourself with positive people

Support is crucial, especially when you’re going through a rough patch. The last thing you need is to be around anyone negative.  Spend time with friends who listen to you, who are compassionate and optimistic, and then make sure you offer them the same support in return.

Ask for help

There are some hurdles in life that we need help getting over. I’m a firm believer in seeking professional therapy for those hardships. A good therapist will be able to act as a guide in navigating your specific circumstances and set you back on track.

View difficulties as challenges, not setbacks

When something goes wrong, don’t automatically label it as a failure; it’s a chance to reevaluate, to become stronger. Something incredible could be getting ready to blossom from a seed of rejection.

Accept that adversity is a part of life

You won’t ever be able to completely escape adversity in your life, and those who are willing to accept that fact are better equipped to overcome. If you resist or try to ignore difficulties, it will only continue or get worse.

Only you can control how you will deal with struggles. Adversity is inevitable, but conquering and overcoming is a choice. What will you choose to do?

flickr photo shared by Chiara Cremaschi under a Creative Commons ( BY-ND ) license

How to Change Your Outlook and Overcome Adversity
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About Bethany Miller

Bethany Miller is a freelance writer in Cincinnati, Ohio. She is passionate about living an authentic, positive life and hopes to share that with the world. You can follow Bethany on Instagram @bwriting or check out her blog: www.bethanyalicemiller.com

16 comments

  1. Great blog and content. Love the feel and viewing it on mobile is great UX.

    I’ve been doing more work lately on my site. Check out my new post on Medium too https://medium.com/p/ee8555ef28a6

    I’d love to do a guest post? Give me a topic and I’ll draft something for you to approve.

    • Thank you! You can choose any topic in the broad area of self-improvement and personal growth, but the article must contain a central quote it works around. Good article on Medium.

  2. This is a great article! I know that there are many times when I wonder if I’ll ever get through my anxiety. Thank you for your great advice!

  3. Great tips! I always find if I have a positive attitude, it makes a big difference in a difficult situation. But easier said than done sometimes!

  4. Very good post. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Very good post.Thanks for sharing.

  6. Good article, these tips are definitely positive outlooks everyone should have. Thanks for sharing!

  7. Lovely thoughts! Loved it

  8. Thanks for reading, everyone!

  9. gettingthroughanxiety — I often wonder the same thing and some days are certainly easier than others. I’m glad you enjoyed the article!

  10. jennymarie4 — I completely agree! A positive attitude can make all the difference in the world yet isn’t always easy.

  11. This is the step that is good to be reminded about “When something goes wrong, don’t automatically label it as a failure; it’s a chance to reevaluate, to become stronger. Something incredible could be getting ready to blossom from a seed of rejection.” My boyfriend broke up with me right after my mastectomy for breast cancer. Today, 4 months later, I can see it as a way to reevaluate and become stronger – but it took me 4 months and lots of work to get here!!

  12. Thank you for sharing this post. I cannot agree more that it is so important that you surround yourself with positive people. As a child / young adult I was surrounded by negative people and, in adversity, this just makes situations worse. I am sure that some people just feed off other people’s negativity. But over the last 10 years or so I have been actively working on having a less negative mindset. This has been helped by having an unbelievably positive husband in my life who has allowed me to witness first-hand why positive people succeed in life. Yes, bad things happen to him, he momentarily feels sad / angry / hurt, processes it. But then he carries on, stronger than before. He is my inspiration. And now I refuse to let myself be surrounded by negative energy suckers. Changing a mindset is hard, but if you stick with it, you can see and feel miraculous results.

  13. A really helpful post for me. Thank you. May check me on https://shareofheartblog.wordpress.com/

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