9 Tips to Rise Above Your Disappointments, Doubts, and Distress


When life doesn’t go your way, how do you respond? Do you develop a negative attitude and cynical outlook? Do you become absorbed in all the problems and misfortune you are experiencing? This is a default way of dealing with obstacles for many people. I have my fair share of bouts with negativity and pessimism and always have to remind myself that I have a choice in the way I respond. Sometimes I need to take a step back and reevaluate the way I perceive things. Instead of living from fear I can live from faith. Instead of living from self-pity I can live from a place of compassion for others. We don’t have to live with distress and damnation. We don’t have to give-up or be afraid to start in the first place. By repositioning our irrational perceptions, assumptions, and beliefs we can turn any challenge into an opportunity.

1. Don’t sweat things you can’t directly control

It’s hard to let go of control, but when we can’t change something there is no use in forcing the issue. This will only lead to distress. Expend your efforts on what you can control or change. To have emotional well-being and live with true freedom requires we accept the things that are out of our control.

2. Instead of demanding lavish things, take pleasure in the simple things

If you’re like me you struggle with the paradox of wanting the finer things in life, whilst knowing that material possessions are not a requirement of happiness. The search for wealth may even pose some problems. If the only thing you focus on is money you will live a life of competition and comparison. You will never have enough. A simple life is free of anxiety and stress.

3. Triumph over misfortune by turning it into something positive

As Nietzsche said, “That which does not kill us makes us stronger.” Unfortunately it’s easy to focus on the horrible event that has befallen us. Whether a financial loss, relationship fallout, or physical illness, we may suffer until we become hopeless and desperate. Instead of whining and responding like everybody else, face the adversity with a courageous heart. We can uncover a new meaning, life mission, or existential understanding when we are receptive to learn through suffering.

4. Instead of whining about problems, do something to make things better

As we all know, nothing changes from idle complaining, but for some reason it’s still easy to feel like a victim, blame other people, and damn the world for our problems. Instead of complaining about how horrible things are, we can become active in making our life and the world a better place. Being an activist for yourself and others gives a sense of meaning and control. Many problems can be fixed if we’re willing to ask ourselves what we can do about it.

5. Accept your self-worth unconditionally and love yourself like you own best friend

Stop treating yourself like your garbage! You are a living, breathing, creative, and divine being who is capable of changing the world. Remain resilient through failure and persistent through obstacles. You are worthy of dignity no matter the accomplishments or successes you see or don’t see, so don’t let your self-worth deter you from trying.

6. Don’t be afraid to do things differently

When we’re unsure of how to act we often look to others to see what to do. Instead of doing things the way others want, uncover the “essence” of who you are and do things your way. Doing things differently also means being prepared to change and innovate quickly. We live in a “now” society where change is rapid. New ideas and trends come and go, so you can no longer be afraid to take action and go a new direction.

7. Exercise your willpower muscle everyday

Dealing with problems and changing what isn’t working takes effort. Instead of doing what hasn’t been working and procrastinating out of fear and uncertainty do something small each day to exercise your willpower muscle. It won’t be easy and you probably won’t want to do it, but it will pay off in the end. Get out of bed when you feel like sleeping in, eat something healthy when you want some ice cream, and meditate to build your attention and concentration.

8. Serve others more and yourself less

The rule of “the world revolves around me” won’t get you very far today. This doesn’t mean neglecting your needs and not taking care of priorities, but it means connecting with others in an authentic manner. When we are able to focus on how we can positively impact others and help those who are important to us, our challenges and doubts are easier to conquer.

9. Don’t get stuck in the past ruminating on what should’ve or could’ve been

When something bad happens people often relive the experience over and over again in their memory. They hold onto guilt and regret that things didn’t go differently and they can’t seem to shake the feeling that they’re a failure. When we focus on our past mistakes they can start to define us. Look toward your future with bright expectations and begin living now for the life you desire. Successful people respond to challenges and failure with a positive attitude, resilience, and determination. They are opportunistic about how the challenge can make them a better person. You too can deal with struggles in this same way.

My Connection

I just got the new issue of Success Magazine and listened to the accompanying Success CD. One of the interviews on the CD brought tears to my eyes. It was with speaker and author Chad Hymas, a quadriplegic who has turned his trauma into a successful career motivating, inspiring, and changing peoples hearts. It was moving and inspiring to hear how he has influenced thousands of people through his writer, speaking, and training despite his momentous physical restrictions. It’s amazing how resilient people can be and it made me realize how minor my problems are. Every day offers challenges, and we can either rise to the occasion or wither away. Chad’s interview was a huge reminder that we have a choice in how we deal with life circumstances. I am resolving to complain less, help others more readily, and remain grateful amongst challenges. What can you do to rise above your frustrations, doubts, and concerns?