I have been there… Just when life appears to be on the up, a bad situation drags me down. Even the smallest of things can turn a great day into a nightmare. It could be that I am late for an important appointment. I could even be counting down the days to a holiday. More than once, unforeseen circumstances have thrown a spanner in the works.
Whatever it is, a setback can turn my life upside down – if I let it. If you are anything like me, you will understand. Knowing how to cope with bad situations helps me move forward in a positive frame of mind. As Winston Churchill said: “Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.” Learning how to make the most of a bad situation is a good idea if you are like me and prone to low moods, anxiety or depression.
I use these tips to help me cope with setbacks. You can use one or more of these to manage situations that make you feel uncomfortable or unhappy. I try to deal with problems as they arise. This stops me from bottling up negative feelings. It allows me to embrace life.
Put things into perspective
Easier said than done sometimes, but this is important. I find the time to put a bad situation into perspective. By taking a step back, I can ask myself, ‘Is this going to affect my life in six months’ time? What are the long-term consequences?’ I mean, are my dinner guests really going to remember an over-cooked main course next week or the week after? Is that job I didn’t get really the be all and end all of my career?
Quite often, when I take a deep breath and think about something, it’s not a big deal. A delayed flight or missed appointment isn’t the end of the world. I shrug it off as ‘one of those things’ and get on with my day. Try it yourself.
Accept life’s not always a bed of roses
Nobody wants bad things to happen, but sometimes they do. It’s a fact of life. Accepting a bad situation as ‘just one of those things’ helps me to cope. Understanding the difference between a minor setback and a major disaster is important. It reduces the drama in my life and allows me to appreciate all the good things I can look forward to.
If you, like me, find the reality of a bad situation daunting, talk things through with someone close. Sharing concerns will lift the load. It will help you see beyond the moment, and you will also benefit from some much-needed support.
Have a Plan B
I fear bad situations. That is why I always have a back-up plan. For example, if I book a holiday, I think about what could go wrong. Because I am aware of the potential problems, I am better prepared to cope. Having a Plan B gets me back on track before I know it. Who knows, a back-up plan could turn out to be the best thing that ever happened.
Simple phrases help me deal with difficult people. When I am struggling with a complaint at work, for example, I sometimes feel out of my depth. In awkward situations like this, it pays to stay calm. ‘I am trying to help you,’ is often a great way to placate someone who is angry.
Facing a potentially bad situation? Consider your options now. Contingency plans are an under-rated life-saver. What you do today can help you cope if something goes wrong tomorrow. Think how you can limit the potential for a setback.
A bad situation isn’t your fault
Blaming yourself for a bad situation is unlikely to help, I have discovered. I never try to imagine how things could have played out differently. ‘It’s happened, I tell myself.’ I learn from my mistake and move on. Everyone does things they regret. I remind myself that I am ‘only human’ and leave it at that.
If you have spoken out of turn or forgotten an important occasion, you aren’t the first. I won’t say I do it all the time, but I am not perfect. The pressures of every-day life can overwhelm anyone. If it happens to you, remember you are not alone.
Don’t look back in anger
Feeling bitter about something is bad for your health, I have discovered. Bitterness eats away at your conscience and makes you a prisoner of your mind. Nelson Mandela once said: ‘As I walked out the door toward the gate that would lead to my freedom, I knew if I didn’t leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I’d still be in prison.’
Anger is akin to poison. Recognising anger as a negative feeling and dealing with it is good for you. Alana Stewart summed it up perfectly when she said: ‘Bitterness and resentment only hurt one person, and it’s not the person we’re resenting – it’s us.’
Got any tips you would like to share on dealing with a bad situation? We’d love to hear from you. Leave a comment below or get in touch.