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Doesn’t it feel like everywhere you turn, there’s another major natural disaster being reported in the news?
From devastating hurricanes, to earthquakes, tornadoes, and floods, it can often feel like we’re living in the worst times.
Ask anyone who has been through a natural disaster and they’ll tell you that it’s one of the most difficult challenges a person can face.
While millions of people suffer from extreme natural disasters every year, millions more suffer from the inner storms of life.
Most of us can find information on how to survive the external storms, but directions on how to survive inner storms are harder to come by. And often the outer storms can trigger inner storms.
So, whether you’ve lost your house in a fire, or grieving the loss of a dear friend, here are 5 steps to helping you remain grounded so you can survive, even thrive during difficult periods of life.
1. Expect them
Most of us past a certain age know this to our core, but somehow we still manage to convince ourselves that if we do all the right things, know all the right people, or have enough money, we can safely avoid the storms that life sometimes throws us.
If you’ve been fortunate to have a long period of relative calm in your life, it can be especially tough when a crisis hits.
One powerful way to remind yourself that good times don’t last forever is to practice gratitude. An attitude of gratitude allows you to enjoy the good times without clinging to them.
So when the storms do come, the gratitude will come in the knowledge that bad times don’t last forever either.
2. Practice responsibility
When it comes to dealing with difficult emotions, it’s understandable to want to run and avoid them.
But the people who weather life’s difficulties best instead learn how to practice responsibility.
There’s a general aversion to the word “responsibility” because it’s often associated with self-blame.
However, whenever you see responsibility, think “response-ability,” which is simply the ability to respond to a given situation. This will shield you from the temptation to wallow in self-pity, victim mentality, or blaming self or others.
You’ll instead feel more empowered to seek effective and lasting solutions to help you navigate difficult periods emotionally.
3. Lean on friends
When things are going well, we freely tell our friends how great our lives are. Don’t believe me? Scroll through your Facebook feed.
It’s easy to share the highlights of our lives but difficult to turn to our friends and family during hard times. Don’t be afraid of how you might look to others. Reaching out is essential to helping you get back on your feet.
True, not everyone will accept the invitation to walk alongside you as you face a difficult period, but more likely than not, someone will answer the call.
4. Be compassionate with others
There’s nothing that can quite open our eyes to the suffering of others than going through a crisis of our own.
Think of celebrities who champion causes they previously knew nothing about because they or someone they loved were affected by it.
Allow your suffering to open your eyes to the suffering of others. It will be both a healing balm to them and to yourself.
5. Seek a higher power to help get you through the storms of life
When storms come, it’s easy to feel utterly helpless to the prevailing winds threatening to derail our lives. Turning your worries and concerns over to a higher power can release the burden and anxiety that comes with feeling helpless.
You don’t have to believe in a particular religious doctrine or theology to pray. You can just pray, even affirmations are a form of prayer.
Ride the storms to a better life
You may not be able to control the inner storms any more than you can control the weather.
But you don’t have to end up feeling angry, worthless, or bitter. Each difficulty you encounter has the potential to teach you new things about yourself and help you grow in ways that would not be possible if life was always smooth.
Resolve today to use every crisis to fuel your growth to a better, stronger you.