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9 Ways to Help Yourself When You’re Going Through a Hard Time

Depressed Man

“Some changes look negative on the surface but you will soon realize that space is being created in your life for something new to emerge.” ~Eckhart Tolle

After my father had a stroke, it became too difficult to manage our family’s convenience store, so we decided to sell it. We spoke to several buyers, but a couple was most interested—the same couple who had originally sold us the store years earlier.

In December 2012, in the middle of the transaction, my father was manipulated and our store and retirement savings were snatched away.

They convinced my parents to transfer the store space’s lease over to them before selling the business. So we were illegally occupying someone else’s space.

The landlord sent legal notices and bills to clear the space. We tried to work out a deal with the couple, but it was of no avail.

I spoke to a lawyer and he said there was no case and that this was a deliberately hatched plan from the outset.

Long story short, we were faced with two choices: give the store to the couple for peanuts, or clear the store and take our belongings elsewhere without compensation.

We decided to clear the space, pack all our inventory and belongings, and dump them into our garage at our home.

My parents could barely open the garage door, and we didn’t know what to do with the stuff. Should we find another location and start our business afresh? Or should we just close this chapter completely?

I was filled with anger, bitterness, and pain, but I held it in.

Bills piled up. My brother and I struggled to pay our mortgage payments every month.

I channeled all my anguish into my work and staying afloat. When someone in my family talked about the situation, I brushed them off and avoided the topic.

One night in February 2014, I cried. The tears wouldn’t stop. Something had changed in me.

It was like my heart had to do an intervention and tell me: You have got to stop and feel your pain. You can’t keep going this way.

I want to share how I finally dealt with my inner demons and shifted to a place of inner peace and acceptance. If you’re going through a tough time, this may help.

1. Stop assuming the worst.

After my experience, I noticed that I jumped to conclusions and assumed the worst about everyone, so I made it a point to acknowledge when someone was nice to me, whether it was a loved one or waitress.

I also tried to be kind in return. This helped me open my heart again.

It’s tempting to assume the worst when you’ve been wronged, but seeing the best in others will bring out the best in yourself.

2. Challenge your beliefs.

I heard the word “struggle” many times throughout my childhood. My father and mother said it frequently. It was ingrained in their consciousness, and as a result, in mine.

After this experience, I decided to adopt a new belief: that I was meant to prosper.

As cheesy as it sounds, I hung up I am a winner posters on my bedroom walls. I read stories about normal people like me who transformed their lives.

I signed up for a life coaching and transformation program. All these things helped me create faith in myself so I could start to live a more inspiring life.

You don’t have to do the same things, but in your own way, you can start to shed your limiting beliefs and support yourself so you can prosper too.

3. Turn inward to heal inner wounds.

I wish I had done this right after we lost our family business, but I was too busy analyzing and strategizing, trying to make things work.

I felt I had to shoulder all the responsibility and hold my family together, so my emotions remained in my body energetically for some time.

One day, I wrote down what had happened from my perspective. I put all my feelings on paper and I didn’t hold back. In doing so, I helped myself embrace my emotions and begin the healing process.

Be honest about how you feel. Dive in deep and fully acknowledge what happened.

4. Stop pushing.

I remember when my father had a stroke; even then, I was busy making phone calls from my office, dealing with our employees, and managing our store. I would have intense, nervous, frantic, fearful conversations with my mother.

I would become angry and scream at her and my father. I was constantly pushing and in action mode. I couldn’t let go. That need to control and push became even stronger after we lost our business.

I clung on tightly to relationships, money, people, and things, all from a place of insecurity and fear. I was afraid I would lose them.

But when you let go, you make space for what is truly right for you. You learn to not tie your self-worth, happiness, or identity to external circumstances.

5. Practice saying yes to your desires.

I wanted to pour myself into my work. I also thought that struggling and living this way was the norm. I was used to suppressing my desires.

If I wanted to relax, I didn’t allow myself. I drove myself crazy with ways to make things better for my family. But the truth was, if I couldn’t find inner peace, there was no way I could help my family.

I learned that I had to be connected to myself in order to be more present for my loved ones. It started with embracing little things. If I wanted to have tea and read a book, I did just that. If I wanted a hot bath, I took a nice, long hot bath.

I used to think that I couldn’t do these things if my external world wasn’t great.

But surrendering to these seemingly tiny moments brought me solace when chaos ruled my external world.

Don’t wait until you have everything figured out to be good to yourself. Be good to yourself and you’ll be better able to figure things out.

6. Stop feeling guilty.

During this challenging period, we all screamed our throats off and made each other feel guilty. It was a vicious circle.

The only way I could make lasting changes and move on with my life was to stop feeling guilty.

I focused on the present moment. In doing so, I was able to forgive my family and energize myself. It rubbed off on them because slowly but surely, I noticed my family started to remove themselves from this guilty frame of mind, as well.

Even if you could have handled things better, let go of the guilt. You’re doing the best you can, and you’ll do better if you feel better.

7. Stay solution-oriented.

When things spiraled out of control, my family and I saw everything as a problem. We developed the attitude that whatever came our way would be difficult.

We became afraid of waking up in the mornings, couldn’t sleep well at night, and couldn’t enjoy time with each other. In other words, we expected the worst. But this is no way to live.

We had to shift to a solution-oriented frame of mind. So when things didn’t work out, I stopped dwelling in self-pity. I tried to look for solutions. If I couldn’t find one right away, I just let myself be.

Trust that answers will come at the right time. It’s easier to cope with hard times when you trust that the Universe has your back.

8. Turn to others for help.

During this time, I confided in my best friend about how I was feeling. Last year, I decided to enroll in a transformation program and had a therapeutic life coaching session.

These steps helped me support myself.

Don’t bottle up your emotions. Talk to your loved ones, friends, and even consider working with a life coach or therapist. You don’t have to go through it alone.

9. Foster a positive mindset.

I had lots of thoughts about revenge, but these only caused me to feel bitter.

I realized over time these thoughts weren’t going to do me any good. I had to shift out of them. They didn’t go away right away, but I accepted them without judging myself.

Then, to shift into a more uplifting state of mind, I immersed myself in things I loved like writing, meditating, journaling, eating, and spending time with friends.

Negative thoughts will come, but they will also go if you let them. Instead of judging yourself for having these thoughts, focus on what you can do to create a more positive state of mind.

If you’re going through a challenging time in your life, keep your heart open. This won’t last forever, and you will get through it!

Depressed man image via Shutterstock

About Priyanka Yadvendu

Priyanka Yadvendu is passionate about supporting women to listen to their enchanted silence to live an inspired life. Her upcoming book is Enchanted Silence, represented by Holloway Literary. To savor a peek of the first chapter and enjoy her free e-cards and helpful resources, visit priyankayadvendu.com.

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  • Marie-Tiger

    Incredible! It sounds like you wrote my own story. In my case I completely forgot about myself and all my vital energy was so dragged into my parents business and their needs. By trying to over protect them from the situation and fix everything on my own… I neglected to nurture and look after my body and my soul. Now I changed perspective and I practice self love and gratitude every day. Back on track! 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

  • Great post, I really needed to hear this today!

    Lennae xxx

  • Peace Within

    My situation is different, but the emotions are the same. Thank you!

  • gembobs

    Sorry but I have to say something – I know it’s negative and I apologise for that, I don’t want to put anyone on a downer. But the people who write all these anodyne articles, aren’t they doing a job that doesn’t much correspond to most people’s reality? Like sitting on a laptop writing 7 step articles about ‘how to’ and ‘why you shouldn’t’. I mean what a great job, obviously. And I honestly wish the author all the best in her endeavours, but I can’t help but think that the advice given by people earning a living by writing such articles isn’t necessarily borne out of the struggles that most people face. I would rather hear advice from people making ends meet in a hard job whilst raising a family. I can’t stress enough that this is not meant as a criticism of the author – you are doing a good job and good for you. But isn’t this perhaps a bit of a self absorbed industry? I love Tiny Buddha. Could Tiny Buddha maybe actively approach real people for their stories and advice? I’m not saying I’m necessarily right, but just my thoughts upon reading this article.

  • Sarah

    We recently suffered from a house fire, and I find myself struggling with many of the same issues you have had. Losing everything, sometimes just opens the doors to where you are meant to be. I have tried to be mindful of this, but my stubborn, pushing, controlling nature often takes center stage. I thank you for this article. I plan to write and get this entire experience on paper, which will hopefully help me to move on.

  • I’m glad you enjoyed it! Although your situation is different, you are right, the emotions often are the same during a challenging period. Keep your heart open! Thanks for reading and your comment.

  • Talya Price

    Same here. I am going through some difficult things right now, and I am open to all encouragement.

  • Hi Lennae, thanks for your comment! I’m glad this post resonated with you. When I was going through this challenging time, reading others’ stories are what kept me going. It’s what soothed my soul and I was able to transform my life step by step.

    Have a beautiful day!

  • Hi Marie,

    Thank you for your lovely comment! I can’t tell you how much I identified with what you wrote. I remember doing the exact same. And it becomes a vicious, frustrating circle actually. Taking care of ourselves lovingly is what will help us to transform our lives and ultimately also nourish our relationships with family and loved ones.

    I’m thrilled you are taking care of yourself beautifully. It’s a daily practice and even now, sometimes, I find my mind trying to “fix” something. Your comment is a reminder that even when we get off track from time to time, practicing gratitude and self love will connect us to our loving energy and souls.

  • Hi Talya! Thank you for reading and your comment. I can understand and being in a similar journey, I am glad my post resonated with you. The fact that you are reading this story and commented is a beautiful step in the right direction.

    Go about things on your own pace. There is no too little or too much time. Take the time to process your emotions and turn inwards. There are several beautiful lessons from your journey which will become clear to you. It’s the small acts of courage and self love that actually help us to get through the hard times and prosper.

    I will be very honest and tell you that this is a constant journey and sometimes I am triggered by these events in my life and I work on letting go the emotional pain and embracing peace and happiness daily.

  • Peace Within

    Each and every one of these articles is different. Some are from life coach type of people, but a lot of them aren’t. They are from people who struggle just like you and me. From my perception, there is good you can take from any person, article, story, etc. It’s a matter of looking. A lot of these people have overcome struggles and that’s why they are sharing what they have learned. That’s why so many people like this site.

  • Hi Sarah,

    I’m sorry to hear about your house. It is human nature to want to push and control. When things are not working out, we try to force and analyze endlessly. When you do feel this urge, don’t judge yourself. Observe yourself as you are doing this. Why are you doing that? How is your body responding? Be even kinder and more compassionate towards yourself.

    Getting our of our own way and letting go is what creates the space for what is truly right to enter our lives.

    I am happy to hear you plan to write this entire experience on paper! It is a very therapeutic and beautifully intense experience. Thanks for reading and your lovely comment! I wish you truly the best.

  • Hi! Thank you for reading and your comment! Absolutely no need to apologize, you are entitled to your opinion. I can’t speak for others, only for myself. I tried to write about this experience as truest to how I had experienced it. This situation occurred in December 2012, well over 3.5 years now, but it has taken much time to move forward.

    All is not perfect even today, but I am in a much better place in my life today. This inner work is a daily practice and sometimes I succeed. Other times, not so much! But it is what has helped me to create faith and support myself to take the right steps and actions to get through the hard times. I am a writer and love writing such pieces and novels, however I am also earning a living working at a day job. I certainly hope that I can transition into fulfilling my dream of writing and working creatively full-time eventually!

    Of course, my journey is different from yours and others, and it is what makes you special and every individual. Thank you so much again for reading! I appreciate it.

  • Stephanie rourke jackson

    Hi Priyanka, Thank you for sharing your heart and your journey. Your ability of allowing your self to become vulnerable is simply beautiful. I am in agreement with you- that reading other peoples stories on overcoming are such positive therapy. Resentment and bitterness are normal reaction to injustice but if we remain there it will eat us alive. Sharing our struggles, pain, victory & joy resonate in other people’s souls. Just knowing that we are not alone in the adversity that faces us is comforting. Seeing that others have come through the other side and learning how they did it is so imperative to becoming stronger as well as humble. Surrendering to the circumstances when it is beyond our capacity to change it does in fact bring peace. Sometimes when I look at my own situation instead of saying “why me?” I say “why not me?” if God brought me to this, He’ll bring me through it when I tune into what’s available in me & around me to bring a new perspective.

    You are a wise young woman who will most assuredly help many with sharing your story & fortitude.

    Thank you.

  • Divya Goel

    This is a great article. It covers the spectrum of emotions that one feels. I am going through a hard time emotionally right now. Although I haven’t experienced any kind of a tangible loss, I am still going through similar emotions.

  • Heather Ferreira

    Fantastic. Thank you.

  • j24601

    December 2012 was only two and a half years ago!

  • Jordan Gonda

    One thing I learned, that took much time, is that even if things arn’t going well in your life doesn’t mean YOU don’t have to do well. When things wouldn’t work out I would get bitter and wallow in this feeling. I would feel guilty about being happy when things weren’t good. But what I found is that wallowing in failure does not solve failure. You can have failures, but still enjoy the small things- like tea and a book or a bath (in your case).

  • You are right! 🙂 I am obviously not good at math…

  • Thanks for your comment and reading, Heather!! I’m glad you enjoyed it.

  • Thanks, Divya! I’m happy you enjoyed the article. I can understand the gamut of emotions you are feeling. Although I don’t know your situation, the emotions are similar during such times. Often, knowing others feel similarly makes us feel better and more connected.

  • Hi Jordan, thanks for your comment and taking the time to read this article! Yes, you are absolutely right! It’s because most of us, including myself, like to turn to our circumstances and external world for inner peace and a feeling of fulfillment, when it’s actually already accessible within us. Regardless of what we are going through, we can tap into this connection and discover inner abundance.

  • Hi Stephanie! Thank you for your kind comment and reading this article! I really appreciate it. I must confess it was not easy allowing my self to become vulnerable. Personally, I am a very closed and private person. It took much time to realize that my vulnerability is what makes me human.

    I remember literally Googling transformation stories and finding some peace that I wasn’t the only one going through such times. You are right! It is normal to feel all sorts of emotions when going through a challenging situation and turn bitter and angry towards people, but letting go is far more liberating and comforting. Often, forgiveness is a gift we give ourselves more than anyone else.

    The Universe works in mysterious ways. We may not understand at the time, though it’s always working for our highest good 🙂 Thanks again!

  • Sarah

    Thank you Priyanka, I agree completely: “When things are not working out, we try to force and analyze endlessly.”
    I’ve realized that I usually make things worse this way. So, everyday. Even if it is only for the smallest things, I make sure to appreciate what i do have. I have an amazing family who has helped us every step of the way. No one was hurt in the fire, and we all made it through. So, a phoenix is born from the ashes, or at least I hope. We are putting an offer on a new house today.
    I do have to say – in the weeks since this has happened, the best thing that I have done for myself is go for a run in my most familiar place. Being among the trees, and listening to the sounds in the forest, takes all tension from me. That is my happy place 🙂 So it may be different for everyone – but I think I really could use a lot of your advice when I do start pushing and I may not have the time to do what I’d really like to do, I can still put something back in to me. If all we ever do is take from ourselves and give, give, give…
    Eventually we will run out and have nothing left. Replenishing our spirit should be one of our highest priorities – whether we are stressed, going through tough times, or just life as usual. You get back what you put in!

  • Priyanka – one of the best pieces I’ve read on Tiny Buddha. Thank you for sharing your story so honestly and with so much truth. These are the stories that we’re told not tell and taught our whole lives not to share. We’re only taught to talk about our accomplishments and successes, not our struggles and our challenges.

    Every point is excellent – especially the one about challenging your beliefs. Ultimately, all of our lives are about these but when we grow up in disempowering households, we have these strange concocted beliefs that everything is a struggle and we are going to fail at the end. It’s so hard to overcome these beliefs until an event shakes you up so much that we realize we were operating under these false beliefs.

    Also, it’s all about staying solution-oriented when facing challenges. We can’t change the problems so why not change how we’re looking at the problem? Why not look for answers to solve the problem, instead of the many questions that come with the problem? And sometimes the solution is just to surrender and trust.

    Again, it’s very hard to write about difficult topics like this on a public forum but thank you for finding the courage to do it. You help all of us struggling see a little bit more of the light in our own lives.

  • Tiffany Palmer

    This was a very powerful article, and I also needed this. I’m at the fragile age of 22, and I have so many options in front of me, and it can get super overwhelming at times. I feel pulled in so many different directions, and it’s hard to trust myself.

  • Chi

    Words cannot express how I feel right now.Thank you for this wonderful post.

  • Ellen Marcum

    All that suffering over MONEY! I have a problem with that. This is the 21st century. What the hell are we doing allowing paper and bank figures to have so much control over us that we sacrifice our peace and happiness for it?
    Who is really to blame?
    The rich men want every dime you make and will find a way to get it from all of us.
    Let’s start talking about them.
    Don’t get depressed. Get angry!!!
    Rarely will you find a blogger who gets to the heart of the real issues.
    Lack of love for one another and Money.
    Fix those two things and most suffering will vanish.
    Point all fingers at the rich greedy men who don’t want anyone else to have anything.
    They have more than they can ever spend. They are making a fool of us all.
    When you are suffering because of money, that should be an easy fix. It’s just paper. There is certainly plenty of “stuff” in the world that everyone can have what they need to be comfortable.
    I can’t imagine having to go through life without just because your fellow human beings could care less about you. That makes me angry.
    Because you got screwed you have to fix yourself? There wasn’t anything wrong with you.
    It wasn’t your demons you were fighting. It was theirs.
    They won!
    That’s my take.

  • Hi Vishnu, thanks so much for your kind words! “We’re only taught to talk about our accomplishments….” Those words ring incredibly true. We pride ourselves in not talking about our challenges openly. It’s important to talk about our accomplishments, but equally important to speak about her inner chaos. It is what makes us human.

    I do admit that I thought several times before writing this article. I was incredibly scared and sometimes I felt even embarrassed. But I thought I had to do this! And this part of my life.

    I’m glad you enjoyed it and thanks again for reading! Your words mean a lot to me.

  • Hi Ellen! Thanks for your comment and reading this! I appreciate your words. I agree, it’s amazing what we humans go through due to money and other such things. I do feel we live in a physical world and enjoying money and other material possessions are wonderful, however tapping into our inner abundance is what makes us feel truly fulfilled.

    I definitely felt immense anger towards the situation and the people involved. It was starting to consume me. I have to admit I had my own limited thinking and belief system already in place before this situation even occurred. In some ways, it gave me the opportunity to shine light on this part of me. I agree, each person has their own demons, and it is each person’s responsibility to deal with theirs.

    Thanks so much again for reading!!

  • Hi Chi, your words truly touch my heart. Thank you for taking the time to read this. I’m really happy you enjoyed this post. Hope you have a beautiful week! 🙂

  • Hi Tiffany, thanks for your lovely comment! I love your honesty. You have so much courage and that too only at the age of 22! I am currently 29 and I remember when I was 22, I don’t think I would have the courage to express myself that authentically at the time. I admire you.

    Life indeed presents us with many options. This is a blessing in some ways, too, however it also causes this tug and pull between our heart and mind. Trust the process and let it unfold moment by moment. You do not need to know all the answers 🙂 Tune into your body and feel how you are feeling. The answers lie within us and all we need is stillness to hear that beautiful intuitive whisper to guide us on our journey.

  • Sarah, you’re right, It’s the control freak in us! We don’t like to live in the unknown or embrace the uncertainty. Placing faith in the process will help everything unfold moment by moment. There is a beauty and magic to this process!

    I’m really happy to hear that you are appreciating what you have every single day. It is what will manifest even greater things and love, abundance, etc. into your life. I’m glad to hear that everyone is safe and well in your family. Situations like yours bring families together and you learn to heal together actually. Good luck on the new house! I’m sure you are going to move into your perfect house soon.

    Interesting you say you love listening to the sounds in the forest! I did that today. I went to the park and watched the trees swaying with the wind. I watched cute children playing and dogs running around. It was very blissful! Keep running and going to the forest! It’s beautiful that it soothes you. It sounds like it really helps you to tune into the present and let go. Keep loving and taking care of yourself! Have a beautiful week, Sarah 🙂

  • Keethan Reddy

    Priyanka,
    I thank you for your story…I can relate as i am going through a tough time right now. Its hard to let go of negative feelings but we have to at sometime, especially if you want too move forward in life. I have just started my journey of transformation and look forward to a more fulfilled life.
    All the best,
    Keethan

  • Annie

    62$/hour@tinybuddhat

    >/

  • LaurenRKim

    i like me tiny …. < Start working at home with Google! It’s by-far the best job I’ve had. Last Wednesday I got a brand new BMW since getting a check for $6878 this – 8 weeks past. I began this 8-months ago and immediately was bringing home at least $188per hour.
    I work through this link, ——— < w­­­w­­­w.­­­­N­e­t­C­a­s­h­­­9­­.­­­C­­­o­­­m

    —————————

  • Annie

    like me coming …. < Start working at home with Google! It’s by-far thss best job I’ve had. Last Wednesday I got a brand new BMW since getting a check for $6879 this – 8 weeks past. I began this 8-months ago and immediately was bringing home at least $184per hour.
    I work through this link………

    >/

  • Ammie

    Extra 85$ daily@ tiybuddha

    >/

  • Consuelo

    I’a­m f­reelancing ov­er in­ternet, by completing s­ome basic jobs wh­ich on­ly requi­res fr­om yo­u a com­puter an­d inte­rnet acce­ss an­d I am so hap­py wi­th it… It’s bee­n six mon­ths sin­ce i star­ted this an­d i go­t pai­d so far in to­tal 36,00­0 doll­ars… Basic­ly i ma­ke close to 80 bu­cks/hour a­nd wo­rk for 3 t­o 4 hrs m­ost of t­he day­s.A­nd th­e be­st pa­rt ab­out thi­s job is th­at yo­u can man­age tim­e w­hen yo­u wo­rk and fo­r ho­w lo­ng as yo­u lik­e and yo­u get pa­id at th­e en­d of eac­h wee­k

  • Joy

    I am going through something very similar to your situation Miss and I’m glad I read your article. Brought so much comfort that others also faced very difficult situations and still was able to come out of it victorious.

  • Hi Joy! Thanks for your beautiful comment! I’m glad you have felt comfort and resonated deeply with my article. I hope you find ways to support yourself during this time, as loving and being kind to yourself is even more important during such times.

    Hope you have a beautiful week ahead 🙂

    Lots of Love,
    Priyanka

  • Ronaye

    I am very grateful to have happened across your article today. Words that I really needed to hear today, and also really appreciating the tips of little things to try. Such an authentic piece and I really want to thank you for sharing both your story and learnings! I have saved it into my ‘favorites’!

  • Hi Ronaye,

    Your words warm my heart. I’m truly happy these are exactly what you needed to hear. Please do try these tips. Sometimes, you’ll feel better away and other times, it’ll take more time. Before you know it, you’ll feel the part of your heart healed. I sometimes forget this happened to me and my family. I’ve greatly moved forward in my life and your comments two years later after this article was published remind me how much I’ve grown. I’m thrilled to hear you saved it to ‘favorites!’ I wish you the best 🙂 Lots of Love, Priyanka Yadvendu

  • Reece Zimmer

    Thank you Priyanka you have brought back a hole lot in me that was lost,im Reece Zimmer and i pray that you shall stay blessed and keep on enspiring other souls cause we all need wether we rich pour in a good state it helps us to help others,thank for your courage and putting out there what very few would have done because of and pride.Hope to meet you someday in person,so if you can please post on my time on facebook your e-cards ,love Reece Zimmer.

  • Hi Reece,

    Thank you for your sweet words! I’m happy that my article resonated with you so much. I wrote this article two years ago and it’s amazing to hear that it’s still resonating so much. I want you to know that when you take it one day at a time and work on bettering your life, it happens. My life is very different today and beautiful and I’m very happy today. I send lots of love and blessings your way. You can read my other articles and use the e-cards on my website: http://www.PriyankaYadvendu.com 🙂