Adversity – another word for difficulties, bad luck, or misfortunes. We all experience adversity, but the key is in how we respond. Some people crumble in the face of adversity – the challenge is a major stumbling block, and there becomes a domino effect of catastrophe in multiple areas of life, even areas that were not actually impacted by the adversity. Others use the misfortune as a learning opportunity, a strengthening experience, and apply the principles of resiliency to come out of the adversity better than ever.
Adversity tends to bring with it a wake of questions. Questions like “Why did this happen?” or “Why me?” Another question to consciously ask yourself, in an effort to move towards the resiliency side of the situation, might be “What can I learn from this?” or “How will this help me grow?” Having a mindset of growth, an understanding of how we can change and evolve from our experiences, versus a belief that fixed experiences are just plain “bad” can help with a recovery and faster come back.
Going through a negative experience can make us feel powerless and out of control. Taking an inventory of what is within your control in a situation can help with this experience. Taking control of the outcome, as well, such as “I won’t let this experience ruin dating for me” or “I will begin therapy to deal with the trauma of this car accident” can help take away some of the powerlessness of the adversity.
Another approach is to look for the humor. During a negative experience, it can be hard to experience joy and happiness, and it certainly is no laughing matter to go through. With enough time and space from the situation, you might be able to find a humorous aspect. Or you might look for humor somewhere completely separately, turning to comedic movies and TV shows, or a laugh with friends. There is growing research and trends towards the healing benefits of laughter, including the increased intake of oxygen, the neurotransmitters released, and the shared experience of joy.
Asking for help includes an element of vulnerability, and may be difficult when you are going through a negative experience. Yet stopping and taking inventory of the supports that you do have can be an important step in recovery and resilience. Family, friends, and co-workers are often aware of your struggles, even if they don’t know the specifics, and they may be wondering how they can help. Know that it is OK to ask for help!
Know that you are deserving of time, attention, and support. Know that you aren’t alone in your experience of adversity. And know that there are things that can be learned, accomplished, and controlled within the situation.