3-steps for How to Handle and Reframe Adversity in Your Life

Through my experiences I have found that there are three really powerful ways to handle and reframe adversity in your life. Because everyone has a slightly different viewpoint on the world we are constantly giving our experiences different meanings. Three people can have the same experience but give it a completely different meaning. For example – when someone says ___ or does ___ to me, it means ___. “If this, then that”. So when we relate this to problems…how is it that a person can experience one problem and turn it into a blessing, and another person can experience the same problem and let it conquer them and ruin their life?

The answer is simple – and I believe you can overcome any challenge, problem or adversity by following these 3 simple steps.

(1) The first is to see for what it is.

People often see things or make things much worse than they really are – so the first step is to see it the way it is, not worse than it is. Every problem, challenge or difficult time in your life is really an experience, and an opportunity for you to grow. I’ll take it to an extreme here just to validate this point. We can all agree that death – at least in our physical form – is inevitable. Every person on this earth will pass away at some point and so the death of a loved one will be something we all experience during our life. The meaning we give to this inevitable experience in our lives will have a major impact on our emotional, mental and physical health and quality of life. Imagine for a second, you’ve lost a loved one. You instantly have two choices. You can either make this loss in your life about you and let it hurt you, or you can make this experience a point in your life to reflect on how precious life really is, how grateful you were to have had someone so special in your life for the time you had together, how vulnerable we all are, how quickly it can all be taken away from any of us, and how truly special everyday, every person, every smile, every touch and breath really is. If anything the loss of a loved one for somebody could be the biggest turning point in their life. A change in the seasons – Life is not happening to me, it’s happening for me! Every loss, every challenge or adversity you will ever face in your life is a period of strengthening and growth. The hard part is just recognizing the gifts hidden within the shadows of your problems.

(2) Find the gifts

Now the second part I just hinted at – and that is to find the gift or gifts hidden within every challenge, problem or adversity you ever face. Adversity is a gift wrapped in a problem. So think of your problem as a box with gift-wrap…you’re not excited about the box and the gift-wrap, you’re excited about what’s hidden inside it! So you rip away at the paper and the box until you see the present. Do the same things with your problems. If you have a pile of problems, past hurts, what ever you call your undiscovered blessings – it’s time for you to rip away at the wrapping paper (your problem) and discover the gifts you couldn’t see before because you were too busy focusing on the wrong thing.

A simple way to change your focus to be positive is by asking questions. Some good questions to help you focus on finding the gifts in your life can be:

What am I happy about in my life right now?
How does that make me feel?

What am I excited about in my life right now?
How does that make me feel?

What am I proud about in my life right now?
How does that make me feel?

What am I grateful about in my life right now?
How does that make me feel?

What am I enjoying most in my life right now?
How does that make me feel?

Who do I love? Who loves me?
How does that make me feel?

“I know there is a gift hidden in here somewhere I just haven’t found it yet. So let me ask myself: How is this going to cause me to grow? Is this breaking me out of my comfort zone? If it is, it’s usually a good thing because the human spirit doesn’t grow in comfort zones. And another good question could be to ask yourself where would I be today, had I never experienced that adversity? If you don’t have a good answer it’s because you haven’t found or given yourself the gift yet.

(3) Focus on gratitude and contribution

The third step and equally as important as the other two is to focus on being grateful and find ways to contribute outside yourself. Tony Robbins says, “When you are grateful, fear disappears and abundance appears.” This is because gratitude is such a strong emotion that it can wash away negative emotions like fear, depression, regret, anxiety, and sadness.

So the next time you come face to face with a difficult problem. Before your brain can concoct all sorts of unrealistic thoughts and emotional responses – Thank the universe, God, karma, whatever you want to call it for presenting you with an opportunity to grow, contribute and become a better, stronger and smarter person.

Your ability to follow and apply these 3-simple steps will transform the quality and success of your life in everything that you do.