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How to Survive Tough Times

Written by: Silke Harvey, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.


Life is full of ups and downs, and the path ahead is not always easy. In fact, a road that looked perfectly pleasant and harmless as we wandered along it can suddenly turn into a nightmarish quagmire. Some of the obstacles thrown at us feel like being run down by a steam train, like being caught up in a hurricane of gargantuan proportions.

It is all too easy to get overwhelmed and give up when going through a really rough patch, to put your head in the sand and desperately wait for things to pass and smooth over. But doing so makes you the victim of your circumstances and increases the feeling of losing control. So what can you do when faced with a situation that feels so horrible, so desperate, that you wonder how life can ever get better again?

Here are some tips that I give to my clients when they ask me these exact questions. They are all based on my own observations when working with people at my workshops and personal sessions and also my own experiences and survival strategies during some horrible situations:

1. Don’t take things personally.

Firstly, and most importantly of all, do not take any negativity coming your way personally. It is vital to realize that negative energy, even when directed at you by another person, is never a reflection of you. If you witness a terrible situation, you may feel the effects of the negative forces at work, but you must always remember that they are not directed at you as a person. You are merely picking them up. If, on the other hand, negative energy is directly aimed at you, it is imperative to remind yourself that the person doing so is merely trying to reflect their own negative feelings onto you. This negativity has nothing to do with your own personality, soul, and spirit. By distancing yourself from the negativity you experience, you empower yourself as a whole, strong being and disempower the source of the negative emotions. Let others continue on their negative path, and you don’t have to walk it with them. You are a sovereign being and have the right to reject the behavior and actions of others around you. You can consciously choose to remain positive amongst the storm.

2. Look after No. 1 first.

It may sound like an old cliché, but it is crucial to look after yourself first before being of service to others. Even though you may need and want to help another person through a rough patch, you would be of no help to anyone if you burnt yourself out in the effort. Take time out for yourself and breathe. All too often, when faced with adverse situations, it feels like the whole world is coming down around us and we automatically switch into survival mode. This places stress on the body and triggers the flight or fight response. Spending long periods of time-triggered like this causes adrenal overload. The body starts to feel worn out, and the mind becomes fuzzy and unfocused. The human body was never designed to remain under stress for prolonged periods, and the physical and mental ill effects of continuous stress are extremely serious. So to break the stress cycle, take as much time out as you need. Abandon schedules and postpone as much work as you can or delegate it to others. This may seem counterproductive, as stressful times usually go hand in hand with increased activity, the need to organize, do, and make. But in truth, taking the time to take time out will increase your efficiency. You will be much better able to cope with stress and difficult situations if you feel serene and refreshed in mind and body. So take that afternoon nap, go for that run, and have that scrumptious bubble bath. You deserve it, and it will give you the much-needed energy to continue through the storm.

3. Assume a forgiving attitude.

It is difficult to feel forgiving when bombarded by the negativity of other people. But always remember that a person who attacks you in any way, who tries to belittle or threaten you, is doing so because they are feeling rotten themselves. Unable to deal with their own stress, they make you their scapegoat onto which they can direct all those excess negative feelings they are unable to process. Even though it does not justify their actions, it makes your own life much easier to remember that these people are going through some tough times themselves. Trying to understand their reasons for doing what they are doing can help you come to terms with the whole situation. Likewise, act with forgiveness toward yourself. Don’t beat yourself up if you feel that you could or should have done something or if you’ve done or said something you later regret. Always remember that you are human after all and that you are allowed to make mistakes. Accept your own imperfection and cut yourself some slack.

It is not always easy to implement all of these tips straight away. It takes time and practice. But keep working at it, and you will find that it is much easier to ride those rough times in your life. It goes without saying that you should always seek professional help and assistance from the relevant authorities if faced with physical or mental danger of any kind. Please do always reach out and don’t suffer alone or in silence. Your personal safety and the safety of other persons involved in any situation must always come first.

Always remember – there really is a light at the end of every tunnel. No matter how bad things seem, nothing lasts forever and good times are just around the corner. You are a valuable human being, and you are loved. Blessed be.

For more details, follow me on Facebook or Instagram, join my Facebook Community or visit my website!


Silke Harvey, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Silke Harvey is the author of The Inner Hippie Club – A Guide for Women Who’ve Lost Their Mojo and Want to Release Their Inner Hippie, That Carefree Teenage Feeling Before Life Got Serious.

She has also founded the Inner Hippie Club, Inner Hippie Books and Inner Hippie Music to help strong and amazing women to live their authentic and purposeful lives.

Drawing on her colourful past as an energy healer, Rock’n’Roll bass player, corporate employee and freelancer, and bouncing back from burnout on more than one occasion, she has now compiled her wealth of personal and professional knowledge into her debut book to help other women find joy and purpose again.

Silke is a certified Reiki Master, Reiki Drum and Seichem Level II practitioner, a graduate of the Diploma in Chakra Dancing and Creative Meditation, HAO Diploma in Animal Healing and HAOK9 Massage, and a member of the Healing Animals Organisation.

In the past, she toured all over the UK and Europe in various bands, ran her own indie record label and developed a successful career in financial translation working for one of the Big Four, then going it alone.

Silke lives in the UK with her husband and rescue dog and splits her time between her cosy home near the coast and her beautiful country cottage in Bulgaria where she is planning to run retreats.



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