Our troubles don’t define us. However, the way we handle them does.
Because of that, we should always be aware of the kinds of adversity we might face in our lives, and understand the tools and techniques that can be used to overcome them.
Adversity comes in many different forms. Here are six kinds of trials you might face, and what you can do to get out the other side.
1. Physical Adversity
A physical disability is the most obvious example of physical adversity. The quarterback who breaks his spine during a football game and is suddenly stuck in a wheelchair faces a number of new challenges and a drastic change to the way he lives his life.
There are less drastic but similarly problematic types of physical adversity, as well. Handicaps like chronic pain, fatigue and obesity force people to fight to achieve a sense of normalcy in their lives.
Whether they’re unable to exercise how they want to, have to more carefully monitor their health or have to deal with other limitations most of us will never know, those with some type of physical adversity face barriers that are not easily overcome.
What can people do to handle their specific situations, other than seeking out magical cures? There are a lot of options for coping with physical limitations, big and small.
A priority should first be put on coming to terms with your condition. Accept that it’s a part of your life (at least for now) and that you’ll be facing struggles that most others won’t. Don’t obsess over how it’s not “fair.” Rather, learn to live with the adversity without feeling bitter about it.
On that same note, you need to consistently take good care of yourself. Whatever steps you can take to manage your health, physical and otherwise, you should take. Regular exercise, a healthy diet and positive thinking are all necessary components to doing well.
If that still isn’t enough, look for support groups made up of people going through similar circumstances. There are services from such organizations as Overeaters Anonymous, the American Chronic Pain Association and more to help you find a community of individuals who can relate to how you’re feeling.
2. Mental Adversity
Just like a physical handicap might limit you, so can a mental problem.
Being properly treated by psychiatrists and psychologists is obviously crucial to managing your mental health, but there are steps you need to take beyond going to the doctor. If you’re dealing with mental anguish, routines are your friend. Get in a pattern of waking up, exercising and especially taking your medication at the same times of day.
Another key aspect of handling mental health problems is to never give up on the idea of getting better. Things can be rough for a while, sometimes quite a while, but there’s always something new you can try to improve your well-being.
Work with a doctor on adjusting your medications and adding supplements. Keep trying different kinds of meditation and mindfulness techniques until you find something that works for you. Confront your problems.
If something stops being as effective, go back to the well to find something that will do the trick. Keep looking, and you will eventually find sanctuary.
3. Emotional Adversity
Most of us desperately need to learn how to have our feelings without letting them overcome us. Emotional maturity comes from experience and an effective state of mind. Those who don’t have that maturity face more difficulties in life.
A very common, very human problem is for people to undervalue themselves. Those individuals need to learn how to improve their self-worth.
Another emotion that can overwhelm us is rage. Schools don’t teach you how to forgive, even if they should. You have to figure that out for yourself or find guidance elsewhere.
Every emotion, no matter how fierce, can be tamed. Learn to tame yours through the resources available to you (this Huffington Post article is a great one) and by keeping a watchful eye on them in case they flare up.
4. Social Adversity
How we interact with people is paramount to our success. Life is awfully lonely without friends by your side. You can’t get a promotion at work if your boss doesn’t enjoy being around you.
That means that anyone who doesn’t have certain social skills is at a major disadvantage. People who are “awkward” (such as those that fall somewhere on the autism spectrum) face major and sometimes insurmountable hurdles to succeed in either their personal or professional lives.
What can people do to handle social problems? There are creative and surprising things you can do when you’re lonely. Likewise, there are programs and self-help books that will help you improve your social game. Almost anyone can benefit from a little study and practice into how to improve their people skills.
5. Spiritual Adversity
Faith in some kind of a higher power is generally an advantage in life. That higher power doesn’t even have to be a god. People who believe strongly in the human spirit, the power of community or something equally important will often attain a sense of peace that a lot of others do not.
If you don’t have that, find it. Enrich yourself by embracing something that you think matters. If you already have some kind of faith but feel it slipping, return to the core of why you put your faith into it.
6. Financial Adversity
One of the most obvious kinds of adversity is when you don’t have the money to afford a certain lifestyle. There is no quick way to go from rags to riches, but there are steps you can take to improve your financial well-being.
Learning new skills doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Oftentimes you can make more from a trade school than you can from a university.
Additionally, there are plenty of ways to learn new skills! Night school at a community college is fairly affordable. Lynda.com is a wonderful service that teaches you marketable skills for as low as $25 a month. If you make a small investment and spend a few hours a week learning, you can head down a whole new career trajectory.
There are also effective ways to set a budget. We’ve recommended Mint before, because of its versatility, ease of use and ability to track your spending habits. But really, any kind of budget plan can get you a long way.
It’s not easy. No one is saying it is. But, if you have the willpower and mental fortitude, you can move yourself beyond your current means.
Sometimes your adversity will be too complicated for one category to contain. Physical symptoms might accompany a mental health issue. At times you have financial problems specifically because of your difficulty socializing/networking.
Even if your adversity is multi-pronged, look at the suggestions given in this article and see how they can apply to your situation. Keep in mind that there’s a lot of crossover between the strategies to fight different struggles. Mix and match them until you find a way to face and surpass the challenges that are holding you back from success.