9 Strategies That Will Help You Stay Strong in Tough Times


1. Focus on Your Strengths

When you’re feeling stressed, it can be easy to forget all of your great qualities, but take the time to remember that you are more than just one bad situation or hard life choice.

I know that many people believe that they need to fully recover from their negative emotions before they can work on cultivating their personal strengths, but you can actually do both at the same time.

The first step is to look back and think of a time when you felt particularly strong and confident, perhaps it was during that one week last summer when you were working out every day or maybe it was that semester in college where no one could seem to bother you.

This is the time to remember that you do, in fact, possess all of these strengths within you right now.

2. Use Your Unique Strengths

Each person has their own set of strengths and talents they can use to get themselves through tough times. Perhaps your strength is creativity, so instead of thinking about how badly you want to give up, take a couple of minutes and think about how you can be more creative in your approach.

Take small steps every day that bring you closer to your goals no matter how long it takes you. For example, maybe it’s as simple as writing down 5 ideas for ways to improve your mood before you go to sleep at night or maybe you can take a moment to read something that makes you laugh every day.

3. Remember That Change is inevitable — and not always bad

Every event in your life, no matter how traumatic it may seem at the time, has the potential to change your life for the better if you allow it to. In other words, bad things don’t necessarily have to stand for bad things.

You can either give up or say that nothing good ever happens or you can keep moving forward and learn from your struggles.

I’ve certainly had my fair share of difficult times in the past few years: two big moves (one across the country), a breakup, a death in the family, a car accident, being laid off from work.

But what separates me from many of my peers is that I know how to take those hard times and turn them into something positive.

At some point in our lives, almost everyone asks themselves this question and feels like “I don’t know what to do with my life.

However, even in the midst of hopelessness, there are still ways and strategies to cope. 

4. Forgive Yourself for Your Mistakes — and the Mistakes of the People You Love

It’s inevitable that we will all make mistakes, especially when we’re young. It might be that you cheated on a test, lied to your parents about staying out late, got drunk at a party and made some bad decisions.

Or it could be something more serious like cheating on your spouse because you were overwhelmed with stress or stealing money from your family so you could feed your drug addiction.

We all do things in the past that we wish to take back, but you have to forgive yourself for these mistakes and learn from them.

It’s not an easy process because you will likely feel guilty or embarrassed about what happened, but I promise it is worth it in the long run even if you don’t think so right now.

5. Don’t Give Your Power Away to Others

Even though we all occasionally feel the need to seek out some validation from our family and friends, it’s important to remember that your self-worth is not defined by what other people say or think of you.

When you silently approve of everything they do and automatically change your plans to make them happy, you are essentially saying that your happiness is less important than theirs.

While it can be difficult not to follow the crowd when everyone else seems so cool and in-the-know about all of the best parties and bands, try to trust yourself and think for yourself. It’s okay if others don’t approve of your choices.

6. Stop Comparing Yourself to Others

Remember that your life is different from almost everyone else’s in the world, so it makes sense that you would have unique experiences and perspectives, too! The internet has made it easier than ever to compare ourselves with people we’ll never meet in real life, but try to focus on your own path.

As Anna Quindlen once said, “Home isn’t where you were born or even where you live; it’s where they understand you.” 

People who truly care about you will respect that you are the only person in the world like yourself and will love you for exactly who you are.

7.  Don’t Let Your Ego Get the Best of You

It might be hard to believe, but you do not know everything. Although it can be fun and exciting to get lost in your own sense of self-importance and think that everything you say is fascinating and everyone should want to talk to you, eventually your friends will get tired of hearing you say things like that.

It’s okay to have an ego, but you shouldn’t always let it get the best of you. Keep in mind that 99 percent of people are so busy thinking about themselves that they barely have time to worry about what you’re thinking, feeling or doing at any given moment. So stop worrying so much!

8. Be Careful With Your Words and Actions

As you go through life, you will develop a reputation that others will judge you on (or admire you for). While it can be difficult to change your bad habits, try to always think about the consequences of your words and actions before taking action.

Sometimes it’s better to keep your mouth shut than to come off as “controlling” or “domineering.”

As JK Rowling once wrote, “It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all — in which case, you fail by default.” 

You can’t expect your reputation to always shine, so try to remember that you are not in control of how others perceive or react to you.


While none of these rules will fix all your problems or serve as a magic pill for all your life’s woes, they can help make things a little bit easier and less stressful.

We all need reminders every now and again to take a step back and re-evaluate our own lives. So if you don’t like what you see in the mirror, try not to get too down on yourself. Take a deep breath and say, “Hm. That’s clever.”

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