Adversity And Change

“It is your reaction to adversity, not the adversity itself that determines how your life’s story will develop”

– Dieter F. Uchtdorf

Today, we will discuss a topic that is quite relevant in today’s times. “Adversity and change” are two concepts that go hand in hand. They are closely associated as both stir up some emotions or thoughts that seem uncomfortable and aren’t easy to cope with.

Adversity put simply, refers to times of difficulty, pain, suffering, disaster, mishap, unfortunate events, and hardship. All of us go through various types of adversity across different stages of life. Some say adversities are lessons in disguise, while others believe that adversity introduces a person to themselves. So to say, it is in times of adversity and change, that we discover who we are and what we’re made of.

With adversity comes the inevitable ‘change’. Change is any variation from regular ways of doing things/our normal ways.

Ever wondered why is it so difficult to deal with change?

Human beings are creatures of habit and routine. With change comes the fear of unknown/ uncertainty and fear of losing everything that one has built so far. Change and adversity both elicit heavily loaded emotions such as anxiety, frustration, depression, anger, and a sense of hopelessness or incompetency. We all tend to naturally rate/evaluate ourselves, others, the world or life in general, based on a subjective scale that we develop over time. It is our perceptions, stereotypes, thoughts, ideas, values and attitudes that come together to form this mental scale. These comparisons and critical self-evaluations result in an emotional disturbance and distress. Not accepting and acknowledging the reality adds to our misery. Although we are all aware that change is the only constant in our life, and that it is inevitable, we still fall in the trap of our magical thinking.

It is a widely accepted fact that adverse conditions or abrupt changes at home, work, relationships, or in our physical environment leads to distress. This feeling of discomfort is so heightened that we falsely mistake it to be the cause of our emotional pain or disturbance. This is so because we are all conditioned to understand that an unfortunate event causes emotional pain or stress. What we overlook is the fact that only we have the vested power within us to make ourselves happy. This implies that ultimately it is not the adverse situation in itself that leads to pain, but your interpretation of the adversity, i.e; how you perceive it that plays a causal role. Situations don’t make you feel anything, it is your thoughts about the situation that does.

As difficult as this seems to process and believe in, it is universally true. This process of ‘Thinking-Feeling-Behaviour’ happens so fast that its tough to even put our finger on it or to demarcate the stages. But the good news is we can change these stressful feelings and take the load off our shoulders by adopting a more realistic, flexible and accepting approach towards life.

Below are a few tips and concepts to rationally rewire your mindset for bracing you to deal with adverse situations/change that life throws at you;

Begin with Acceptance – Acceptance does not mean giving up, not trying, not being hopeful, or being complacent. It means to accept self, others, world, and life just the way it is. It is very liberating because it frees you of the weight to try and change reality on either side (positive or negative). Acceptance is acknowledging facts in the story before us, have a colourless vision, and to be true to yourself.

Identify a Goal – Having a goal gives us a sense of meaning, purpose, and value in life. If not a stringent goal, identify with something to look forward to or to keep yourself busy. You can relate to more of a vital absorbing interest that can not only bring about a sense of pleasure but also some sense of accomplishment, thereby improving or balancing your health and well-being.

Learn from Nature – Observe real-life objects for inspiration to learn to deal with change and adversity. First example to consider is succulents or cactus. Cactus plants are very adaptable and can survive in extreme climates with limited or low maintenance. Cactus teaches the Darwinian principle of ‘Survival of the fittest’. Herein, one can learn to be more flexible and thrive in the harshest of times with little resources. The next object of interest is a firecracker/bomb. The interesting thing is the length of the wick on the bomb, which determines when the bomb would burst. The shorter the wick, the faster the bomb would burst. In other words, it implies that if you increase your tolerance threshold, then it would take substantial time and effort for anyone or anything to tick you off. This will render you greater control of your emotions and their expression.

Take Care of your Physical Health – It is a widely researched fact that physical and mental health influences one another. Being physically active and healthy, and exercising regularly, releases endorphins or ‘happy’ hormones that help reduce stress, both mentally and physically. Thus it is advisable to be physically active and exercise regularly particularly during pressing times.

I sternly believe that its imperative to be able to openly talk about these feelings we experience as we are confronted with problems and changes in our day to day functioning. To share an incident with you all, no matter how silly or small it may sound, today morning when I was about to compile this article, I saved it but there was some technical error. To check the error, I closed the file by mistake and my document got deleted. I sat stunned with shock as I stared at my screen. All my efforts to read, study and write were in vain. Of course, I had no control over what happened, yet it felt like a personal mistake. To add to the misery, I had no backup of the write-up. I was stuck between a mental choice to either feel anguish and crib about my situation or I could just take it with a stride, come to accept that it was an accident, and take some time to relax and recollect points I had written to start the process of writing again when I felt ready.

Without a doubt, the first option seemed simpler and more obvious as I momentarily felt that it was justified. But, sitting with myself long enough on my work desk, I realised that the later choice was more practical, logical, realistic and less emotionally distressing. Also, since I was concerned about my article, I opted to reflect and retrieve as much data mentally as I could to re-write an article as similar to my first draft as possible.

Constructive action taken despite me feelings of sadness helped me to stay in the path and not be deterred by my emotions. I felt more in control, as if the remote control of my life was in my hands. First option of getting angry or upset would’ve lead me further away from my goal and I might have forgotten most of the information due to emotional clouding as well. Also to learn from my mistake, this time I saved the document ensuring that the same error didn’t occur again.

Remember, it is not the situation but, the way you perceive it that makes all the difference.

The power is within YOU!

Hope this helped you if you’ve been struggling with any change or adverse situations.

Thanks and Cheers,

More from Ananya Choudhuri Baidya
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Ranadhish Choudhuri
Ranadhish Choudhuri
3 years ago

Quite nicely explined about the situations which every individuals do face. Tackling adversities of life are frequent events which one has to practice without getting emotionally charged. I liked your concluding words – power is within You. It gives the inspiration to become more focused to overcome the adversities.
Please keep on writing success stories on various life problems which will benefit all walks of people.

Last edited 3 years ago by Ranadhish Choudhuri