How to Make the Best of Bad Situations
Bad situations such as natural disasters, job loss and divorce have the potential to wreak havoc and cause distress — unless you are prepared to make the most of what comes.
People who not only survive but thrive in the face of adversity make positive choices that keep them moving forward.
Use Positive Affirmations
When bad situations happen, they can erode your sense of self-worth and confidence in your abilities, writes licensed psychologist Leslie Becker-Phelps, in the “Psychology Today” article “How to Feel Good When Things Go Bad.”
Maintain your sense of self by using positive affirmations, argues Becker-Phelps. For example, if you’ve recently suffered a job loss, identify other areas of your life that are going well to boost your self-esteem.
Perhaps you are in a loving marriage, have a wide social circle or even have prepared for this situation with a hefty emergency fund. Reminding yourself of your positive attributes will enable you to focus on finding solutions for issues, rather than dwelling on your shortcomings.
Choose to Be Active
It isn’t enough to recite positive affirmations in the face of bad situations — you’ve also got to take action, asserts the American Psychological Association article “Turning Lemons Into Lemonade: Hardiness Helps People Turn Stressful Circumstances Into Opportunities.” The trait that most predicts who will face adversity best is “hardiness,” notes the APA, which comprises being committed, taking control and facing challenges.
Rather than wilting at the first sign of bad times ahead, keep those positive affirmations in mind and find ways to actively address the bad situation in your life. If you are facing a divorce, ensure that your financial affairs are in order.
When dealing with a health crisis, turn to friends and family for help managing your daily affairs. Be active in searching for solutions to your problems, rather than passively waiting for them to get better.
Choose a Positive Outlook
It isn’t always possible to change your circumstances. In these situations, having a positive outlook is the key to managing a bad situation, suggests marriage and family therapist Jaelline Jaffe, in the article “Transforming Life’s Lemons” on her website Lemon-Aid Counseling.
For example, if you’ve been diagnosed with a terminal illness, you may not be able to change your circumstances but you can change your attitude toward the situation. Rather than dwell on your illness, you could focus on showing appreciation for those offering you care.
Instead of wallowing in self-pity, you could offer a listening ear to others newly diagnosed with the same illness.
Situations are not necessarily good or bad — it is your attitude and outlook that determine how you feel. If you can’t change the situation, try to make the best of it.
If you’ve tried finding solutions to your problem, and changing to a positive outlook, but are still struggling with a bad situation, it is possible that you may need help from an outside individual to cope with your problem.
Unresolved feelings of anger or sadness can be worked through with the help of a therapist.
Mental health issues such as substance abuse or post-traumatic stress are best managed with the aid of a licensed mental health professional. If you find that the bad situation you are facing is more than you can handle, seek out qualified advice, rather than trying to solve the issue alone.
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