Five Questions to Ask Yourself in Tough Times

by | Mar 18, 2014

We all go through tough times, some more than others. But everybody handles hard times differently. It\’s not whether you get hurricanes and tornadoes in life, it\’s how you weather the storms that make a difference in your well-being.

1) Are you really worse off? A friend\’s mother recently died, and as she lay on her deathbed, someone stole generations of jewelry from her jewelry box. Devastating. The gold and diamonds were worth more than the dollar value, which was significant. They were memories of grandmothers and great grandmothers. But my friend did come to the realization that the rings and bracelets and necklaces were just things, and her life would be not be significantly worse after the theft than before.

2) Can you accept reality? According to Buddha, humans suffer, and the chief cause of our suffering is resistance to the reality of our lives. If we learn to let go of our desires and accept things as they are, we will suffer less. Of course this is easier said than done, but the old adage works here. If you don\’t like it and can change it, do it. If you can\’t change it, accept it and move on.

3) Do you learn from negative experiences? A friend was in a bad car accident, broke her jaw and sustained other injuries. But she had fabulous doctors who were able to patch her up almost as good as new. She was grateful for modern medicine. She learned to appreciate her body that worked pretty well, all things considered. And friends she didn\’t even know she had came out of the woodwork to wish her well. She was able to see the positive side of a negative event, and she mended faster than doctors thought possible.

4) Is your mindset getting in your way?  If you\’re disappointed that you can\’t afford to travel, think of all the people in the world who can\’t afford to eat. If you\’re unhappy that you\’re a victim of bad luck or bad circumstances, take responsibility for your situation and take steps to change it. If you are a person who looks for a problem in every aspect of life, you will surely find it. Take stock of how your mind affects your happiness. Maybe things aren\’t as bad as you think.

5) Is the bad thing that happened to you life threatening? The situation you\’re in can and probably will change. Only death is permanent, and if that isn\’t imminent, then you can survive and probably thrive in the future. But you need to adjust your thinking to accept and understand the axiom, “This too shall pass.”

Bad things happen to everyone. But some people handle them better than others. Take the time to grieve, but learn to move on. Time really does heal wounds.

Nancy Travers is an Orange County Counseling professional.  If you need safe, effective counseling services, please get in touch.  You can reach her here:



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