Is it really possible to pull yourself out of a tough time and instead of just surviving and coping with a situation, be able to return to a place of thriving and going beyond what you thought possible? Simple answer, in my humble opinion, yes! It doesn’t mean it is easy to do but it is possible. I want to share with you the 6 key steps that have worked for me to overcome life challenges and return to a thriving place again.
When you face a challenging situation, crisis or trauma you go into survival mode and your flight or fight brain gets activated. Survive, that is all it is about. While this is life saving in the moment, it is meant to be short lived. If you get stuck in survival mode for long episodes, it is detrimental to your total wellbeing.
This is my return to thrive strategy designed in response to the life challenges I have faced. This was most recently tested as I recovered from cancer treatment, a massive test for the strategy! I wondered if I would ever feel alive again, have the passion and energy for life that had been fuelling me up until then. Through it I was literally putting one foot in front of the other:1 breath, 1 step at a time. But eventually with a lot of self care, belief and a strategy to boot, like the lotus flower “we too have the ability to rise from the mud, bloom out of the darkness and radiate into the world again” So when you are faced with what seems like an insurmountable challenge be it an illness, a world pandemic, a relationship breakup, a job loss, or business failure you have 3 choices: you can let it define; let it destroy you; or let it strengthen you. I choose strengthen and this is how.
STEP 1 ACCEPTANCE
A biggy! Wishing things were different is a futile exercise which leaves you drained and disempowered. It doesn’t mean agreement or happy about the situation you find yourself in. No, it is simply accepting what is. This is your thrive starting point. By mentally shifting into a place of accepting, you move yourself into a place of control and power again. Give some thought to what you are resisting and fighting and what to accept rather than ignore, avoid, suppress or deny.
STEP 2 BE YOUR OWN BEST FRIEND
This is all about practising self care and compassion, which is vital to fuel your recovery. And it is treating yourself like you would your best friends. Supporting, looking after yourself , talking to yourself the way you would those people you love dearly. In tough times being mean and hard on yourself does not help nor work! I know you have the tools because its the same as being gentle and kind to a child, a best friend or even a stranger, so do it for yourself
STEP 3 HAVE A VISION
This gives you something to aim for so make it a motivating picture of a future you would like to create for yourself again. Your brain loves to have pictures to subconsciously go after. In my opinion we spend a lot of time imagining an awful future and acting as though it will come true, so why not flip it and work on creating a future you would like to move towards. It can be 1month from now, 3 months, 6 months, 1 year, 5 years. You decide.
STEP 4 TAKE ACTION STEPS
Do not underestimate how, step by step, you travel far. Your vision may seem far off. Mine did. In all honesty it was not in my control. I could not control the cancer but I worked on all the other things that were 100% in my control. That’s where your superpower comes from.Take action each day to move you towards this. Increase your actions as you gain momentum and energy. In the beginning, during chemotherapy, I was so ill but I still had 3 “goals” for each day – get up, have a shower, take some exercise. On really bad days just accomplishing number 1 was a challenge. Continually review your progress and revise the action, stretching yourself along the way!
STEP 5 HAVE A SUPPORT NETWORK
Whether it is virtual or actual, having support is key to get thriving again. Accepting help is a big part of self care and letting go of the feeling of being a burden, Have people to turn to help endure the bad days. Sometimes if feels like a cha cha cha, one step forward, one back. In fact some things can’t be fixed, just carried so it is important to have a circle of people who can be there for you on the good and bad days.
STEP 6 CELEBRATE AND BE GRATEFUL ALONG THE WAY
Celebrate every milestone, every bit of progress, every achievement large and small. Size is not what matters. You are moving closer and closer to the new envisioned future you desire. One of my favourite celebrations was the first time I could visit the hairdressers when my hair grown back. what a fabulous day that was and I now have a new perspective on bad hair days. Express your gratitude because although not every day will be a good one, there is always good in every day. Expressing the things you are grateful for along the way reduces your stress and makes you feel better. Take a moment to truly appreciate about yourself, your life and others. Saying thank you for the small things that you take for granted can work miracles.
And then one day you look back on day 1 and marvel at how far you’ve come and the journey on the way.
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If you are ready to move from surviving to thriving in your life please get in touch Contact and lets have a chat to get you started on that journey.
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