Tough times require extraordinary measures. Sometimes you’re not at your strongest – because something has knocked the wind out of you. An event, circumstance, or condition leaves you reeling, and you try desperately to regain your balance and steady yourself again. During tough times (such as grief), a particular three-legged stool is crucial. The building blocks that form the foundation of this stool are vital to your ability to cope with tough times.
I’m sure you’re wondering what is so crucial and what are the critical elements that make up this three-legged stool? These three elements work together and will not only steady you during tough times, but will reinforce and bolster your strength and resolve.
Importance of Mental Attitude
Have you ever lost sight of your power and bought into the idea that you are powerless in the face of trouble? You may be temporarily weakened or incapacitated; however, you are not powerless in the face of tough times. You choose how you invest your thoughts – and even though destructive or negative thoughts can enter your mind, you do not have to allow them to dwell there. You can choose to dismiss these thoughts or concentrate on something else.
Your mental attitude is critical. Regardless of whether we’re talking about your personal life, your professional life, your spiritual life, or the way you handle tough times – your mental attitude is essential. It directly affects outcomes in your life. Last week our pastor even made the statement that the right mental attitude is critical for us to have what we pray for. I’ve thought about that statement numerous times since then. A right mental attitude cannot be overemphasized. And a right mental attitude relates to this three-legged stool we’re examining.
The three legs of the stool are hope, resilience, and gratitude. Gratitude fuels hope, and hope feeds resilience. The three elements together are a powerful force.
When bad things happen and life is difficult, gratitude may not be at the top of your list of things to consider. But when you purposely stop and think of what is still good in your life – and you begin to list the people and things you’re grateful for — your perspective changes. You soon realize the many ways you’ve been blessed, both now and in the past. And appreciating your blessings encourages you to be hopeful about your future.
Attitude of Gratitude
According to Deepak Chopra, “By adopting gratitude as your default position, so to speak, you tell your brain that positive input is going to far outweigh negative input…By being consistent in your attitude of gratitude, you set down a blueprint that over time leads to brain changes with farseeing benefits…body, mind, and spirit are affected at every level almost effortlessly.”
Gratitude fuels hope. Hope feeds resilience. And people who are resilient are better able to handle whatever life brings them. They’re more flexible; more adaptable; and better equipped to confront obstacles and work through stumbling blocks that obstruct their path.
The good news is that you can grow hope and cultivate resilience. You don’t need to be born with either of them. And you don’t have to settle for a smidgen. You can increase what you already possess.
Here are a few ways to grow hope:
- Stay engaged in life – people, relationships, activities, experiences
- Reduce stress and take good care of yourself
- Help someone / make a difference
- Work toward and achieve goals – of any size
Hope and resilience are highly intertwined – and some of the things you do to grow one will also increase the other. When you solve problems or accomplish goals, you tend to increase your capacity for resilience. Confidence that comes from achievement adds to your mindset that you can work through tough situations when they come. When your goal is to maintain a positive perspective, your resilience will be strengthened versus focusing on negative emotions and thoughts that can lead to overwhelm and depression. Problems seem bigger and more insurmountable when your perspective is a negative one. Healthy relationships and a healthy body tend to bolster resilience.
Take a moment and examine yourself. Is your overall perspective positive or negative? Do you believe you can work through adversity? Are you hopeful about the future? (Being hopeful is a choice.) Do you have a good support system in place? Do you enjoy close friendships and relationships? Do you regularly engage in activities that are enjoyable, meaningful, fulfilling? Are you physically healthy – and do you maintain a healthy lifestyle?
When you focus on the three-legged stool of gratitude, hope, and resilience, and you cultivate these qualities – not only will your outlook be positive, but you will be better equipped to handle the tough times (like grief) when they enter your life experience.
© 2015 Judy Brizendine
Photo credit: Pixabay
Faith, Hope, Love and Gratitude – Do you have the four qualities that determine the mindset of a survivor? – Dale Archer, M.D. – on Psychology Today
Gratitude is the Secret to Increasing Resilience – A Thanksgiving Day Post – Dr. Les Kertay
The science of being thankful – Russell McLendon – mothernature network
Hope and Survival: The Power of Psychological Resilience – Joseph Nowinski, Ph.D. – HuffPost Healthy Living
How Gratitude Can Make You Healthier – Deepak Chopra, M.D. – Chopra Centered Lifestyle
How to Create a More Hopeful Life – Maria Hill – lifehack.org
Five Tips to Increase Resilience – Darcy Sterling, Ph.D. – on Psychology Today