Life, as you probably already know, doesn’t always run smoothly. It produces tough times, obstacles, grief and our very own unique and personal mental mountains to climb. Some of these unwanted occurrences can strike when we least expect them; others we can see sailing towards us on a sea of storm while yet more, rush towards us like a freight train. And we brace ourselves, ready for impact.

They are inevitable. I am yet to meet or know anyone who has not had to face their own demonic trials and tribulations.

So when these times are upon us how do we cope? How do we get through them? Of course some people struggle more than others. And what may be your mountain I could overcome with ease, and vise versa.

All I can offer is what I use and have used when such times befall me. I hope in some small way, they can help you.

I ask myself the question, “Will this matter a year from year now?” More often than not it won’t. The problem will be a distant memory of my past in 12 months time. For smaller issues I use a shorter time frame.

I say to myself, “And this too shall pass”. It does; such experiences are rarely around forever.

I stay optimistic and become increasingly more aware of my thoughts. By being optimistic and positive does not mean the dilemma disappears, but it does help. I remind myself of my inner belief that ‘there is always a way’. There is always a way out of such times. I am mindful of my thoughts because that inner voice has a tendency to over exaggerate the situation and compound what is actually happening by projecting all kinds of bleak futures into the mind. I ensure I interrupt these patterns as soon as possible.

I ask myself, ‘What can I be grateful for?’ This refocuses the mind. I then realize that there is still a lot to be thankful for in life.

I think of another negative time in my life. Yes, I remind myself that I have been through tough or tougher times before and I got through. I made it. I became stronger and hopefully wiser from it too. Maybe it can help me to help others when they face similar tests of life.

These are some of the strategies I use that help me. None of them mean I bury my head in the sand like the proverbial ostrich and don’t face my problems or challenges. By standing up to them and facing them head on is the best course of action. Delaying doing this can make you feel better, but only in the short term.

So if you are going through a tough time currently, think that you have probably been through tough times before. You got through it. You probably came out of the storm a stronger, wiser person in the process. So it can be true now also. It is part of life’s cycles from time to time. And as Churchill once aptly said, “If you are going through hell, keep going”

If you persist your way through, sooner rather than later, your personal winter will change to spring and you will find yourself in sunnier, happier times once more.