Ever have one of those times when it seems as if life is going great? Work is going well, you’re happy, the family is happy, and you’re feeling great. Then BAM! It hits. Like a brick. Something happens and you experience setbacks in life. Setbacks can be emotionally and physically draining not to mention significantly affect your finances as well. It could be something like the loss of a loved one, a financial or health crisis, the breakup of a relationship, or even a failing business. They often leave us feeling sad and lost and not sure where to turn next. Fortunately there are ways to lessen the hurt and still come out on top…

Time – Be sure to give yourself some time to be upset, angry, or hurt. Suppressing your emotions will only work against you. Remember the expression “misery loves company”? Take the time you need to grieve properly (this will be different for everyone) but don’t dwell in those feelings to the point where it begins to affect your life in a negative way. Many times these situations are beyond our control. For example, if you apply for a job that you are really hoping to get only to find out it was offered to someone else. Try to find ways to focus your energy in a productive manner.

Be Honest – Honesty is the best policy especially with yourself and with others. If your setback is due to a mistake you made, be honest about it. Own up to your actions and figure out a way to move forward.

Forgive – If your setback is due to an issue that someone else caused, do whatever you can to try and forgive them. Forgiveness does not mean that you agree with their words or actions but rather that you want to focus on removing the negative from your life. The truth is, forgiveness is more for you than for anyone or anything that may have offended or hurt you. Releasing the feelings of hate can be very liberating for you and it may even go a long way towards repairing a damaged relationship.

Focus on Solutions – For every problem, there is a solution. That solution may not be apparent to you immediately but it will come to you. Spend more of your time thinking of solutions and creating a plan of action rather than rehashing your problems over and over. This skill is sometimes easier said than done especially when our problems seem so overwhelming. Be sure to write down your plan and review it regularly. This will help keep you accountable to yourself as you are working through any issues. The best thing about mistakes is that they always provide opportunities for growth and learning. So take advantage of it. Use this experience as a platform to educate yourself.

Seek Advice – If you are in a situation and simply don’t know what to do it is often wise to seek advice from someone you trust. This person can be a friend, co-worker, family member, or mentor, as long as they are someone you can be open and honest with regarding your situation. Seeking advice actually serves two purposes. The obvious, being that you will get a new perspective on your situation and they may even be able to help you develop a plan on how to move forward. In addition, the act of talking to someone we trust can serve as a sort of therapy for us, helping to work through the problem in our own minds.

Stress Relief – Seek out healthy ways to reduce your stress. Hit the gym or visit a spa for some extra pampering. Going for a walk, meditating, and reading are other great ways to destress. Whatever you do be sure it is an activity that will make you feel better and will not cause an unnecessary burden. Even something as simple as taking a deep breath and counting slowly to 10 can calm the mind and lower blood pressure.

No one is immune from conflict in life. No one. Everyone has experienced problems and disappointments. However, your reaction to these setbacks is likely to determine the outcome. How will you respond?