10 suggestions for navigating life’s challenges

Navigating life's challenges

We are all aware that life can be difficult at times. A random examination of any given week would reveal the different annoyances we frequently experience, such as a flat tire, an unanticipated expense, the flu that interferes with your plans for the week, an unfinished to-do list, etc. In actuality, these difficulties tend to grow in number as we age. We think we have everything under control, but then one too many unforeseen difficulties, such as serious health issues, the suffering or death of loved ones and the anguish that follows, the need to break up with a friend, or relationship breakdowns, to name a few, trap us. I’m not new to the fact that despite my meticulous planning, life will always stay unpredictable and there will always be unforeseen circumstances. For instance, the COVID-19 epidemic completely altered how I view navigating life’s challenges when I believed I had my goals for 2020 planned out to the last detail.

Not only did I have to postpone my entire trip, but I also lost my grandfather, with whom I had a very close relationship and who was ill. To make matters worse, the pandemic made my gym, favorite hangout areas, friends, and any social activities we enjoyed inaccessible, leaving me feeling perplexed, restless, and helpless. Even though I still had a lot to be thankful for, my life had undergone a significant change, and I didn’t know how to deal with such unheard-of circumstances. But looking back, it appears that, like the vast majority of people on the planet, I went about navigating life and conquering obstacles with tenacity and resiliency. It can be difficult to be resilient and retain a positive attitude throughout a difficult ride. But when we view obstacles as chances to overcome our fears and fear of change, life becomes simpler to navigate.

1. Be true to yourself

In the digital age, it’s simple to fall victim to the comparison trap and occasionally lose sight of your uniqueness. In fact, being real in today’s technologically advanced world may seem like a risky decision, especially in light of the fact that social media and other life-shaping factors like our parents, school, and peers may have encouraged us to “fit in” and conform. Because of our fear of being rejected and judged by others, we frequently hide our genuine selves.

But according to research, being real is essential to happiness and can raise one’s self-esteem in addition to reducing stress. In actuality, when we are genuine to ourselves, meaningful, enduring friendships are created. It’s true that developing your authentic self can first appear difficult, but the benefits you’ll experience in the form of improved life happiness, solidified relationships with others, and a strengthened sense of purpose will make it all worthwhile.

2. Confront challenges

Injuries, illnesses, losses, sadness, and unclear futures are just a few of the problems that life has a way of continually delivering to us in order to test our emotional fortitude. By accepting this, we can live each day with fresh appreciation, delight, and enduring confidence in our own skills, allowing us to completely enjoy the gifts we have in our life right now.

The founding chair of the Harvard Advanced Leadership Program and author of Think Outside The Building, Rosabeth M. Kanter, says, “The happiest individuals I know are committed to dealing with the most challenging challenges.” In fact, Kanter advises classifying our difficulties into two groups: those that require immediate attention and those that offer us the “opportunity to make a difference.” The latter enables us to view challenges from a fresh perspective, better preparing us to move through life with direction.

3. Distinguish thoughts from fact

The majority of us are guilty of becoming preoccupied with our thoughts or spending too much time “in our minds.” The majority of us naturally experience negative results or emotions with a greater intensity than happy ones because, according to research, humans are predisposed for negativity. As a result, we tend to overthink everything, which can have a negative impact on our stress levels and mental health, according to study. The capacity to see a problem from a new perspective can help us learn a lot about ourselves. Overcoming challenges is a crucial aspect of navigating through life.

Even worse, we frequently confuse problem-solving with overthinking. Nevertheless, the reality is that ruminating affects our judgment, which hinders our capacity for problem-solving. You need to quit dwelling on the difficulties and accept them as opportunities for personal development rather than catastrophizing them. You may take charge of your ideas and stop the annoying internal chatter if you recognize that you are not your thoughts.

4. Change your perspective 

Stephen Joseph, a psychology professor and the author of Authentic: How to Be Yourself and Why It Matters, advises that we alter our viewpoint and see difficulties as “an vital element of growing and evolving as a person.” True, conquering obstacles is an essential element of getting through life, and being able to see things from a new perspective may teach us a lot about who we are.

We can progressively train our minds to view challenges as learning opportunities and meet them head-on when they arise, as opposed to living in denial in our comfort zones. You can develop fresher insights by taking a step back to get a wider perspective, pausing for a while to gather your thoughts, and addressing the subject slowly.

5. Maintain a sense of humour

Life can be challenging at times, and stress sometimes feels unavoidable given the daily annoyances we face, such as long waits, unpleasant workplace interactions, tight deadlines, and derailed plans. A little bit of humor and playfulness can help to improve relationships and raise happiness levels, so there’s no need to always be somber and pessimistic.
A excellent strategy to prepare your mind for optimism and approach life with a positive outlook is to incorporate humor into your regular activities.

6. Be kind to yourself

When things don’t go as we had hoped, we frequently have a tendency to berate ourselves. Unfortunately, we rarely feel any better as a result of this cycle of self-criticism and denying our suffering. Contrast this with how you would encourage, love, and respect a buddy who is experiencing failure. According to researcher Kristin Neff, cultivating self-compassion in difficult situations is essential for overcoming obstacles with a greater feeling of connectedness and emotional equilibrium. Actually, navigating through life can be made simpler and happier by being kind to yourself and treating yourself with love and care.

7. Persistence is key

It’s never too late to get back on track to accomplish your goals, despite the fact that everyone responds to a struggle or a difficult scenario differently. Stay away from the temptation to give up; research suggests that doing so can be emotionally painful and lead to grief-related unhappiness or even depression. Resist the temptation to abandon your purpose or avoid achieving your goals. As long as you set reasonable goals and keep making the necessary efforts, cultivating tenacity always pays off.

8.  Remember happiness is a journey, not a destination

You may have noticed that reaching milestones makes us joyful, but only for a short while before we move on to the pursuit of happiness represented by the following goal. This tendency, known by psychologists as the “happy trap,” occurs when someone maintains an inaccurate definition of happiness and constantly compares their own satisfaction levels to that of others. Making your way through life smoother and happier can be accomplished by being kind to yourself and treating yourself with love and care.

Researchers and philosophers emphasize the significance of viewing happiness as a journey rather than a goal that must be pursued assiduously. It is crucial to stop occasionally and enjoy the scenery along the journey. When we see happiness as a decision we can make consciously and practice cheerful behaviors that can consistently increase our well-being, navigating through life becomes simpler.

9. Remain thoughtful, kind and gracious

More than ever, difficult times call for human decency, and it is beneficial to treat people in the same manner that we would like to be treated. Our relationships with others are bolstered when we express gratitude, apologize sincerely, appreciate others objectively, and provide support and encouragement when we’re in need.

You can create enduring connections that you can rely on while you navigate the challenges of life by cultivating a reputation for being thankful, empathetic, and kind.

10. Devise and uphold your personal boundaries

Personal boundaries serve as an indicator of your self-worth and protect you from being taken advantage of or treated unfairly by those around you. Setting up boundaries that are both obvious and firm promotes loyalty and trust, strengthening bonds between people. Maintaining healthy boundaries is important for being able to express your wants and opinions in an aggressive manner as well as for moving through life more quickly.

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