What is strength? The definition varies depending on whether it relates to physical or mental strength. This week I've had the opportunity to see true strength in action. My wife had brain surgery earlier this week, and she has been the picture of strength since. Not just because of this surgery, but because she has held her head and attitude up for the past 10 years. So how do we as people remain strong during tough times? We all have our approaches to getting through tough times, but as I've watched my wife I've seen certain characteristics that have resonated with me through the years.
Here are 4 steps to remaining strong when things become challenging in your life
- Push Through the Challenge - When tough times come into your life sometimes you have to put your head down and weather the storm. That may mean being uncomfortable, and enduring circumstances that you don't like. By putting one foot in front of the other you'll be able to move forward. We must also remember that just as the natural storms in our world our temporary, so are the storms that enter our lives. You must not give up and keep moving forward.
- Proactively be Positive - Our mind is a powerful force that can change outcomes. This is easily illustrated by premier athletes that visualize winning their events. It also has been effective in harsh conditions like POWs. Some of these heroes spent hours staying positive by enjoying their favorite past times in their minds. The next time you face the storm change your perspective by staying positive, and you'll stand headstrong in wind knowing that the calm is on it's way.
- Perpetual Gratefulness Provides Fuel for Your Journey - There are documented studies done by Harvard in 2011, and also in a book by Dr. Robert A. Emmons "Thanks", that provides actual case studies showing people who practiced a grateful attitude increased their happiness by up to 25%. Other data supports gratefulness in helping with healing by showing positive results for those with chronic illnesses. Therefore, no matter what challenges you may be facing it's important to remember the good in life. When we take time to list these benefits, our darkness can begin subsiding with the onset of the light that comes through gratefulness.
- Plan for a Prosperous Future - This is very similar to having a positive perspective, but this is different because planning takes action if you want to reach your goals. When you're in the storms of life, focus on that paths that lead to your dreams. It may be a new relationship, pursuit of more knowledge to improve your circumstances, or the hope of better health. When you feel the storms of life trying to remove your grip from your dreams you must hold on until it passes. Maintain an eye to the future, and know that your strength will carry you through the storms of life.