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Overcoming Adversity, Discouragement, and Disillusionment.

In the last week I have personally become aware of someone in our Live Well Kitsap community who is suffering with a serious disease. Another friend is challenged greatly with making a full recovery from Covid and is enveloped with extreme fatigue leading to discouragement.

I have a client who has made tremendous progress in quelling his anxiety that has been severe for years who recently experienced a set back.

Exhausted. Discouraged. Disillusioned. Distressed.

We all experience these strong emotions at one time or another. We live in extraordinarily challenging times. We are not just dealing with one major event like a global pandemic, but we all have reason to be concerned about climate change, inflation taking a bite out of earnings, devastating fires, floods, addiction running rampant and ruining lives and families, gun violence that is out of control, and political polarization that has been exacerbated in recent years.

Sadly, one would think enduring a global pandemic alone would be enough to draw us closer to together rather than allowing our differing viewpoints to divide us.

There is much to be concerned, sad and worried about. Perhaps even angry, discouraged and frustrated. It can feel overwhelming if we do not have a plan and tools to manage ourselves well in the midst of it all.

While this one blog will not solve all the world’s problems, or even any of them, our hope is that it will be helpful to you. Here are some of the things collectively we do or have done to turn the tide of discouragement and disillusionment to one of joy, peace and hope.

Our hope of course is that you will take what is useful, beneficial and that which brings you hope from this message and leave aside that which does not fit for you.

Here are some ideas to manage yourself during these turbulent times.

  1. Reconnect with your spiritual life. Notice we did not say “religion”. To obtain spiritual wellbeing the focus needs to be on relationship- both upward and outward. The God of the universe desires a relationship with you- not rule following- so invest yourself in learning more about who HE is. It is within our spiritual relationship that we find our greatest peace and strength despite our circumstances.

  2. Spend time unplugged and more time in nature. Getting away from screens and taking a break from all roles and responsibilities is crucial to good mental / emotional health. There is something about being in nature that is inherently pure, honest and healing. Nature calls us to get back to what really matters. Peace, truth, beauty, serenity and joy.

  3. Spend quality time with safe people you like-family, friends, partners and spouses. This is imperative to our emotional and mental health and wellbeing. We need emotionally safe people we can totally be who we are with all of our fears, quirks and imperfections. With safe people you just instinctively know you can show up as you are and it will all be ok.

  4. Let go of unrealistic expectations. The world is chaotic. There is upheaval. There always has and likely always will be. If we take it all in and constantly dwell on how awful it all is, we will be sorely disappointed, and in for a long and difficult journey. We have to control what we can and surrender the rest to live our best life.

  5. Engage in regular boundary setting. By doing so we can appropriately control more of our own life and not allow ourselves to be manipulated, or be in relationship with those that do not have our best interest at heart. We will likely feel more sad, discouraged, exhausted etc. if we are not setting boundaries in our own lives.

  6. Look for the lessons in adversity. There is always something to learn in the trials if we are willing to pay attention and look for it. No matter what difficulties we are experiencing, looking for the silver lining, or how this experience can grow us, is a way to create a little lemonade from some lemons.

It is possible in the midst of all the chaos and calamity to still live a meaningful life that includes enjoying the minutes of our days. We don’t have to stay on the rat wheel pace of life and we don’t have to live with discouragement and stress as our everyday default button. It will take retraining your brain and making intentional choices as suggested above to learn to cope and thrive through adversity and challenge.

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