The Ultimate Coping Skill for Difficult Times

Hundreds, if not thousands, of articles have been written about this subject – each suggesting various strategies that we are encouraged to use to help us get through difficult times.

Every day, more articles about this subject appear.

I wonder why is this happening. Do we not read these articles? Or do we read the articles but do not find the suggestions practical? Or are the suggestions practical but we, for some reason or another, do not put them into practice?

If I am adding another article today it is to share with you the one strategy that works for me and for many of my Esprit Meraki Retreats guests.

During the last two decades, I have had to cope with more challenging circumstances than I care to remember. What I do remember, is that my strategy worked, every time.

If you do nothing else, do this. Just this.

You will have heard of this strategy before and you may wonder how it can possibly be of use during challenging times.

Be grateful.

It can be difficult to find something to be grateful for during challenging times, but never impossible. Note also that it’s “be grateful,” not “feel grateful.” As dr Robert Emmons says, “being grateful is a choice, a prevailing attitude that endures and is relatively immune to the gains and losses that flow in and out of our lives. When disaster strikes, gratitude provides a perspective from which we can view life in its entirety and not be overwhelmed by temporary circumstances.”

How can you adopt this strategy?

There are a variety of exercises that you can use, but a 2005 study led by Martin Seligman, founder of the Positive Psychology Center at the University of Pennsylvania, found that completing one specific exercise every day for one week led to increases in happiness that persisted for six months.

Six months! After doing this exercise for one week!

All you have to do is spend 5 to 10 minutes at the end of each day writing in detail about three things that went well that day.

This simple strategy is effective because it not only helps you to appreciate the good things that happen to you daily, but it can also make you more aware of good things, as they happen. This is crucially important during difficult times when we tend only to be aware of the bad things that happen to us.

Even during the most difficult times, some things go right. Write about three of these each day.

5-10 minutes out of 24 hours.

Just do it.

Start today.

Reference: Positive Psychology Progress: Empirical Validation of Interventions. Article  in  American Psychologist · July 2005 Martin Seligman

As you may know, I am currently creating an online retreat, called License to STOP Worrying. Excessive worrying can do permanent damage to our physical and psychological health. Click here to find out more.