Essential Characteristics for Bouncing Back after Major Life Changes

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When we experience major life changes, it often feels like we will never recover. However, there are ways to come back strong.

Either you are this person or you know this person: the one who can easily bounce back after a setback. She does not get bogged down in times of trials, instead, she powers through them, resilient and strong, even coming out of the crisis stronger than before. Luckily, the characteristics that make a person resilient can be developed. If you want to become a more resilient person, cultivate the following characteristics in order to bounce back after major life challenges.

  1. Self-awareness. People who seem to skate through challenges are usually highly self-aware. Not only do they understand the nature of their situation, they understand how they are going to react to it, and they know how to deal with those feelings effectively. Instead of simply wandering through the trial, they are aware of everything that is happening, both internally and externally, and they use that awareness to solve problems as they arise.
  1. Knowledge of the nature of life. Understanding that challenges and crises are inevitable and will come despite your best efforts is one of the cornerstones of resiliency. This may make some feel powerless, but in reality, it should help you understand that flexibility and adaptability are important traits to have.
  1. Knowledge that you have control of your own life. When something negative happens in a person’s life, they sometimes look for a person to blame outside of themselves. In many instances, however, there is no one to blame, and even if there is someone to blame, wasting time and energy assigning blame to that person solves nothing. However, understanding that you have the ability to change your own life, and that you have control over what you do and even what you feel can help you not only accept your own shortcomings, but also steer your life in a positive direction.
  1. Problem solving. This characteristic may be the most difficult to develop, because in times of trials, we often want to wallow in our sadness and feelings. However, once you develop an attitude of problem-solving, you will be much better equipped to handle crises. When your first instinct is to look for ways to fix even little things, you become empowered throughout your challenge and do not get bogged down in failures.
  1. A strong social group. Even if your social group is only one person, having a strong connection with other people can help buoy you in times of difficulty. They will want to provide help and support, or even just lend a listening ear. Having people outside of the situation that you trust can also lend you perspective about the situation.
  1. Asking for help. Many people are actually afraid to ask for help, even if they know that they need it. When you know that asking for help is a sign of strength and self-awareness, not weakness, trials will be much easier to overcome.

Please Share Your Thoughts 

In the comments below, share with us:

1. What life challenges are you dealing with right now?

2. Have you discovered ways to cope that may help others?

Six Ways to Deal with Daily Stressors that Exacerbate a Life Upheaval

stressoverwhelmDaily stressors often cause more problems than we realize, especially when added into a more serious stressor.

If you’re going through a divorce, for example, you might not notice how the little annoyances and stressful situations of everyday life add to your bigger problem, until you are just too tired and stressed out to deal with anything.

This isn’t the way to go through life! 

Finding ways to deal with daily stressors as they arrive is one of the very best ways to make sure that they do not exacerbate the other difficulties you might be having.

  1. Eat the right foods. While eating junk food might feel like a great way to soothe your nerves, pumping your system full of junk will only make your body and mind more stressed out than it already is. Eating the right kinds of foods, that really nourish your body, is the best and only way to keep your system running smoothly. Your body and mind are deeply connected—so take care of your body and it will help to calm your mind.
  1. Exercise regularly. This cannot be overemphasized—exercising regularly, especially during a high-stress life situation, makes your body far more efficient at managing stress. Getting out and doing something for your body, getting your heart rate up for even half an hour a day, will help you feel calmer and even promote a happy mood and more energy. You’ll have time to think, will sleep better, and feel better about yourself.
  1. Get your finances under control. Money is one of the most stressful aspects of any of our lives. If you do not have enough, it can be a serious problem. If you have too much, you can still obsess about it. Managing your money will help you feel in control, even if the real situation, the bigger stressor, is still occurring. Don’t let money become a burden or a drag on your time and energy. Balance your checkbook, come up with a plan for paying off any debts, and stay in control of your spending.
  1. Be the master of your own time. There’s a saying that goes, “We don’t have time—we make time.” We need to stop spending our time on things that are not important and make time for the things that are vitally important. Cutting out the negative pulls on our time and focusing more on the things that we actually need and want to do is a great way to stop feeling like you are constantly drowning in your own to-do list. Do you really need to paint the baseboards this weekend? Or is it more important to help your child with that school project they have been asking for your help on for weeks? You’ll find some time management tips here.
  1. Pick a hobby that’s just for you. If you’re giving all of your time away to other people, even the people that you love the most, you’ll start to feel drained. You need a hobby that gives you some time alone, or at the very least, some peace and quiet. Gardening is a great way to get out in nature, do something productive, and give yourself some time away from both the little stressors and the bigger issue that they compound. Gardening is a great option, but anything that you really love to do and that gives you a second to breathe is what you need to do.
  1. Try some alternative stress management treatments. If you already are doing all of the things on this list and still feel that your life is out of control (or even that some of the activities we listed contribute to your life being out of control), it’s time to consider some alternative stress management techniques. For example, aromatherapy is widely used to combat stress. Yoga, deep breathing, and other less mainstream techniques can be seriously helpful.

Of course, managing all of the small things does not make the bigger problem go away, but it can help you gain some control of your life when it might feel desperately out of control. Getting a handle on the things that you can get a handle on will make your life less stressful and you’ll find yourself better able to deal with that major life upheaval.

6 Simple Tips To Cope With Change & Maintain Your Sanity Intact

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Coping with change can be a challenge, but armed with the right strategies, you can find a way to accept change and thrive.

Change is inevitable. In fact, one of the few constants in life is that things will always change. Why then, do we often have such a challenge in coping with change?

You may have an easier time dealing with change than others. On the other hand, you may tend to have trouble handling change because you become almost addicted to holding onto things as they are. Either way, the effects of change in your life come down to healthy and positive attitude.

When things are bad, it’s nice to know that they’ll eventually change for the better. However, when things are good, you need to have the wisdom to know that things won’t last forever. You can take heart, though, in the fact that everything will come around full circle back to good again.

How Do You Cope With Change?

How you cope with change can make a big difference in your life. You can take change by the horns and wring every last benefit out of it, or you can moan and groan and have a hard time going nowhere. The choice is up to you.

Here are some simple tips to help you handle change in a positive manner:

1.    Focus on flexibility. Instead of focusing on change as a whole, it might help to focus on smaller things. One thing you can do is work on being more flexible. If you find that you expect everything to go a certain way, you’re likely crushed when things don’t go according to plan.

Focus on dealing with several possible outcomes, even if they’re not your preferred results. Leave yourself time to come up with alternatives when things change.

2.    Have a positive attitude. When you have a positive attitude, you’ll see change as necessary and good. Things need to change in order for you to evolve as a person. Focus on the things that are going well and remain optimistic that the change will bring even greater opportunities into your life!

3.    Be forward thinking. Live in the present moment, but plan for the future. You’ll most often run into trouble with change when you spend much of your time worrying about the past.

Things may never be like they were; they’re only like they are right now. You can do something positive in this moment by forgetting about the past and focusing on doing something spectacular for your present.

4.    Ask for help. Remember that you’re not alone in life. It might feel like that sometimes, but it’s not true. If you’re having an especially hard time dealing with a certain change, it’s completely understandable, and you should feel no shame in asking for help. Sometimes you’ll feel better if you can just lean on a friend or family member for some support.

5.    Look at the big picture. Sometimes, in order to find a positive mindset about change, it helps to step back and look at the bigger picture. You might be caught up in dealing with one aspect and it might be consuming all of your life in that moment.

Take a breath and realize that there’s much more to life. Think about what your ultimate goals are and remember how you’ve dealt with changes in the past. Maybe there’s a life lesson that you learned that will make you better able to cope now.

6.    Focus on things that stay the same. While nothing in life is permanent, there are certain things you can count on. If you think of these things when you’re in need, it just may provide you with comfort.

For instance, maybe you’re upset that you have to move away, but you can take comfort in the fact that you’re moving with your family or that you’ll meet some wonderful new people along the way!

Remember that everyone is different; you might find a certain strategy forcoping with change better suited for yourself than someone else. Your goal is to find something that works for you!

Please Share Your Thoughts 

In the comments below, share with us:

1. Have you found certain strategies that help you to cope with change?

2. What changes are you coping with right now?

The Four Top Stressful Life Changes, and How to Deal with Them

Shocked_WomanBeing a woman in inherently stressful. Because of how we are hardwired, we are more likely to put stress on ourselves and to take on activities and tasks that cause us stress.

No matter how well equipped you are to handle a hectic and stressful lifestyle, there are some life changes that will cause you stress and can even seriously damage your ability to continue living your life in a positive and constructive manner.

Some women ignore the stress caused by these life changes, believing that it will eventually dissipate on its own.

Others try to deal with it in unhealthy ways, like taking comfort in junk food or shutting down their lives and hiding until it “passes.”

Most of us know, however, that things do not go away just because we will them to. That’s not how life works.

That doesn’t make it any more tempting to just try to hide from the really difficult things. There are healthy ways to deal with life’s more stressful changes.

Here are the four most disrupting life changes and how to handle them so that they do not take over your life:

  1. Death in the family or friend circle. No matter your personal beliefs about the afterlife, losing someone that you love can be extremely difficult. Even if you believe that you will get to see them again in another life, losing their presence here in this time is heartbreaking. You miss the spirit they brought into your life. Because of the finality of death and the huge change that it brings about, it can cause serious stress. Not only are you in mourning, you will also have to deal with the very real change that is happening.

The best way to deal with the stress of losing a loved one in death is to allow yourself to gradually progress through the  stages of grieving. Realizing, understanding, and accepting that death is a painful part of the cycle of life as we know it at the moment is the best way to gradually move forward.   Rely on family and friends to help you through this difficult time or find other outlets for stress management.

  1. A divorce. Even if you intellectually understand that divorce is the best option in your situation, a divorce can be extremely stressful, and not just because it signifies the breakup of what was once a fulfilling and valuable relationship. There will be meetings with lawyers and mediations and maybe even court appearances, depending on how heated the divorce becomes. The clerical parts of divorce, meshed with the very real emotions can make this an extremely stressful period of your life.

Give yourself some time and some space to understand the enormity of what is happening and to compartmentalize it. Try to let go of the things that are beyond your control and get in control of the things that you can control.

  1. Illness—yourself or family members. Discovering that you have a major illness can be extremely stressful, whether it is something that is easily treatable and manageable or something that cannot be cured. Some find themselves slipping into a depression, caused by this major change. Do not let illness be compounded by stress and depression.

The best way to deal with the stress of an illness is to build a treatment plan. Discussing with your doctor the best way to mitigate the effects of the disease will give you peace of mind. Knowing and having something to work on is always better than not knowing. Consider reading some self-help books that are rich with stress management techniques.

  1. Losing a job or changing careers. Not just because it can put a strain on your finances, losing a job or changing careers later in life can add undue stress to your life, whether that stress is about money, stability, or how to function in a new career. As women, we may even take the stress of a partner’s job loss or career change onto ourselves, trying to help them bear the burden but in reality just incapacitating ourselves.

The best way to deal with the stress of job loss or a career change is to set up a specific plan, whether it is to search for and find a new job or to improve and become competent in your new career, or find new ways to make money.  Making and sticking to a plan for personal growth will calm your mind about the fears of this major life change.

Do you have stress management tips for any of these four major life changes or other stressful situations? We would love to hear from you. Share them here for a chance to win prizes!

How to Turn Off Negative Thoughts and Turn on Your Own Positivity During a Life Crisis

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It is a very common misconception that you have no control over what thoughts come into your mind and how they affect you.

In reality, you can learn how to turn off negative thoughts, to shut them down as soon as they enter your mind and even to prevent them from showing up at all.

Becoming a more positive person can be a serious asset, especially during a life crisis.

Losing a loved one, a major life upheaval like a career change or job loss, illness, and divorce do not have to bring out the worst in you. When you learn how to harness positivity, you can use these situations for betterment—or at the very least, power through without getting bogged down in what is an inherently negative situation.

Inject Positivity into Your Life

Start by seeking out people who are naturally positive. When you surround yourself with negative people, they can feed on and encourage you to have a negative outlook. While it can be cathartic to sit around and discuss all of the things that are going wrong in your life, eventually, it stops being useful and becomes a boon. When you only have friends or family members that want to talk about the negatives, you will only ever be able to focus on the negatives.

That’s not to say that every situation has a silver lining. Some just don’t, but that doesn’t mean that they cannot be dealt with in a positive way. Talk about the negative things—yes—but do not make your life just about the negatives.

Surround yourself with positive thinkers, problem solvers, and listeners who will both commiserate with you about how bad the situation is, but also take you by the shoulders and help you lift yourself out of the bad and into the good. Again, that doesn’t mean pointing out that someone else’s life is worse, it means taking an honest look at your situation and helping you deal with it.

Other ways to bring more positivity into your life from exterior sources is to find a funny television show that you love watching. Listen to uplifting music. Take a yoga class. Find a hobby that you truly love and devote at least a little time each week to it. Read a positive book.

Learn to Identify Negative Thoughts

You likely already know what a negative thought looks and feels like. It can be about yourself, about someone in your life, or about the situation at hand. It may be the first thing that pops into your head.

For example, if you are standing in line at the grocery store and the woman ahead of you is taking an age to write a check for the three things she purchased, the first thing that pops into your head may be, “Really? Did she have to pick the most time consuming method of payment?”

This is an inherently negative thought, and while it may not have anything to do with the life crisis that is really pulling you down, it is definitely a symptom of that bigger problem. When you are feeling negative, the negative thoughts are more likely to come and dominate your mind. So, how can you turn them off?

Make a Conscious Effort to Think Positively

Give that person the benefit of the doubt. Think about others as you would want them to think about you and your life. Especially at first, shutting down a negative thought and being more positive does take effort. As a thought pops up, you have to evaluate whether it is positive or negative, and if it is negative, correct yourself with a positive one.

Realizing that you do not know very much about another person’s life and why they do the things they do can help you think more positively about the people around you. Just as you would never consciously hurt someone else or try to inconvenience them, very few people are actively trying to slow you down or make your life harder.

When necessary, rely on those problem-solving friends and family members. They are the ones that listen to your problems and then say, “What can we do to make it better?” And most of all, keep in mind that no one is perfect and expecting them to be, especially expecting yourself to be, is unreasonable.

For more stress management techniques and to support your push for positivity, consider joining our stress management club. You’ll get tips, tricks, and vital information straight in your inbox.

How to Deal With Stress Triggered by a Major Life Upheaval: 8 Tips That Actually Work!

stressedwomanAny change can cause stress, but there is a category of life changes that are guaranteed to result in stress, no matter how stress-free you previously believed yourself to be.

These are the major life upheavals and they come in a variety of forms, starting with diagnosis of a disease, ranging to a devastating divorce and debt, and ending with a death in the family or a devastating disaster.  Learning how to deal with stress triggered by these major life changes is crucial.

Any of these events, no matter how truncated or protracted can and will cause stress, and chronic stress that can disrupt a normal person’s life.

When that happens, it’s time to take action. Here are eight stress reduction tips that actually work.

  1. Meditation – Mediation isn’t the hokum that some people once believed. When practiced thoughtfully and regularly, it can train your body and mind to handle stress effectively. You don’t have to chant the mantras and light the incense, but you should spend some time just quietly clearing your mind and breathing.
  1. Eat right – What you eat has a serious effect on how you feel. Some foods can wind you up and just leave you feeling more stressed, while others can calm you down and help ease the pain and frustration of stress. Find out what to eat to help reduce stress here.
  1. Slow down – You, like most people, are probably trying to do too much, in too little time. Running around all day, every day gives you no time to contemplate whether or not you actually want or need to be doing all of these things. Do you need to be running this hard? Would things really fall apart if you slowed down?
  1. Exercise – There’s a reason all of those women in Jane Austen novels look so relaxed—they get to spend their days walking around the countryside, taking in the sights. Walking or any kind of exercise that elevates your heart rate and gives you a moment away from the rest of your daily tasks, will lower your stress levels. Walking is especially great for stress relief, but if you’re a runner, weight lifter, or cyclist, just get out and do it.
  1. Deep breathe – Did you know that you can control your stress response by practicing deep breathing? Taking three deep breaths when you feel angry or stressed helps to calm your body down, to process the stress hormone it has just released, instead of allowing you to act impulsively—which usually just generates more stress.
  1. Develop a stressfree hobby – Hobbies can be a great way to cut down on stress in your everyday life—as long as they don’t actually just pile on more stress. Gardening is an especially great way to fight stress and actually get something in return for the hours you put into growing those fruits and vegetables. Being in nature naturally reduces stress and plants generate fresh oxygen, which can lift your mood and give you more energy. Plus, gardening is often a solitary purist, which gives you time to process thoughts, feelings, and actions without being bombarded by someone else’s needs and desires. Learn more about the benefits of gardening here.
  1. Listen to Your Body – Many women do not register their stress until they are too overwhelmed to handle it in a healthy way. Instead of letting this be the case, learn to listen to your body and deal with stress as it arrives. Don’t let yourself become overwhelmed. For more information about decreasing chronic stress, get a free report here.  Learn more about how to reduce divorce stress here.
  1. Aromatherapy – Aromatherapy is another one of the disciplines that many people thought was nonsense that turns out to be based in science. Not only are there smells that naturally decrease a person’s stress response, the soft light and atmosphere that accompany a lit candle can seriously fight stress. Scents can affect the emotions and even trigger the release of calming hormones like serotonin. But aromatherapy does not just have to be about scents that are proven to reduce stress, but also about lighting a candle that you love the scent of and taking a moment for yourself. Learn more about the healing power of aromatherapy here.

Now it’s YOUR turn to share tips.  Tell us what triggers your stress and which strategies and techniques you use for stress management, what works, and what doesn’t.  We would love to hear from you.  Use the comment box below to share your tips.

10 Ways to Deal With Stress & Major Life Changes During the Holidays

holiday-bluesThe holidays are already a stressful time. Let’s face it, they are probably the most stressful time of the year. No matter how much you love your family, they can also be some of the most stress-inducing people in your life, especially when you are going through a major life challenge like a career change, a divorce, or coping with a disease.

But holiday stress doesn’t just come from your family, or your circumstances, you can levy it on yourself with unrealistic expectations or it can bubble up as a result of past bad experiences during what should be the most relaxing, happy, and stress-free time of year. Instead of letting stress rule your life during the holiday season, we have 10 ways to deal with stress and major life changes e effects of a major life challenge during the holidays.

  1. Join the Holiday S.O.S Club. You’ll get free encouragement, tips, and talks right to your inbox, including even more ways to fight stress and lessen the effect of life challenges during the holiday season. The holidays—regardless of which one(s) you celebrate–all come with the same basic needs and stress-inducing demands…on top of what you are already dealing with on a day to day basis facing your major life challenge! This holiday S.O.S. club can help.
  2. Change your outlook. While dealing with a life challenge, it may seem like the last thing you want to do is be merry and bright, especially when everyone around you is caught up in the hustle and bustle of the season. In reality, however, you can find something to be positive and happy about, despite the challenge you may be facing.  If you change your outlook and embrace the reality of what life has thrown at you, instead of simply dreading the worst that can happen, you’re far more likely to find joy and peace during the holiday season, despite the life challenge you are facing.
  3. Try something new. If you already know that your mother-in-law is going to complain (even on the sly), about your apple pie recipe, there’s a pretty easy way to ensure she has nothing to complain about—don’t make that apple pie. Instead, try something entirely new. Don’t do what you’ve always done. Your life is likely in flux right now, so don’t try to cram it into the same old box.
  4. Try a stress reduction course. Those life challenges, whether they be job loss, death of a loved one, divorce, or disease, can make what is already a stressful time of year, even MORE overwhelming, but —only if you let them. A stress reduction course shows you how to stay on top of the stress caused be these challenges, so you can still have fun this season.
  5. Learn that it is okay to cut back. Trying to do everything yourself can be a major strain on your already over-strained mental, physical and emotionally capacities, which will further exacerbate your stress response. You, like most women, probably spend a lot of time trying to make everything perfect for everyone else and forget that you matter, too. Know that it is okay to cut back or to delegate holiday tasks (like wrapping presents, decorating the house, making cookies) to others or to cut them out altogether.
  6. Stop obsessing about how it was. With life challenges come major life changes. That means a lot of people will be looking back and wishing that life was just the same. Don’t compare your current situation to your past situation and especially don’t compare your life to someone else’s, especially during the holidays when everyone seems happier.
  7. Follow these five tips for reduced holiday stress. Having a life challenge is enough stress without also piling on the stress of the holidays. These tips will help you let go of the stress that is specifically caused by the holidays.
  8. Don’t be afraid to keep your life to yourself. One of the major stresses of the holidays and having a life challenge is being constantly asked about it. Don’t be afraid to tell your family and friends that you don’t want to talk about it if you really don’t want to talk about it. Divert the conversation back to other topics that may be more pleasant for you.  At the same time, make sure to find someone that you can confide in,  someone with whom you share the burdens of the challenges that you are facing.  Talking about the major stressors you are facing is an important step in acknowledging and coping with whatever life throws at you!
  9. Don’t get involved in family squabbles. Just keep reminding yourself that (even if you don’t celebrate Christmas) this season is supposed to be about peace on earth. Your family is going to gossip and squabble—maybe about how to carve the roast beef, but also maybe about the divorce or your illness. You don’t have to get involved.
  10. Invest in a mini-coaching session. Having access to a life challenge coach or a stress management coach, even for a few hours, is a great way to help you gain some perspective and find a way to power through this stressful time of year, without missing out on all the good things that the holidays are supposed to be about. A coach can show you how to still be happy and at peace, even in the middle of your personal storm.

 If you, ( or someone you know),  are currently facing a life challenge, we would love to hear from you and learn about how you cope.  Iron sharpens iron, so feel free to share your thoughts with us by using the comment section below.