Life can be going along just great and then problems arise. Veterans know from their time in service that when it hits the fan it lands on everyone and when these storms happen, they can last and last. In the military they train for the skills needed to cope with adversity. Service members work in teams with similar skills and training. Then the person leaves military service and often runs into different types of problems. But this time there has been no training, there are no comrades in arms to help with jobs at hand, and social isolation sets in. Staying positive through adversity becomes difficult. What can you do?
Ways to Stay Positive During Difficult Times
A veteran who is facing difficulties in their transition to civilian life or coping with issues like depression and post-traumatic stress disorder stemming from their military service can still remain positive. However, it is commonly not just a matter of willpower and effort. There are specific ways to accomplish the task of staying positive through adversity. The first step is to stay in contact with friends, family and comrades to the extent that it is possible. That task can be easier today than in times past because of the internet, social media, and simple emails.
Stay in Touch to Stay Positive
Those who have been close to you over the years know about the difficulties that you are facing and have your interests at heart. A simple call via WhatsApp or your telephone can help keep morale up and it will probably help whomever you are calling as well. If staying in touch daily is not possible, try to do this as least a couple of times a week and with more than just one person if that is possible. When special occasions and holidays come around, try shared video call.
Take Time Away from the Daily Grind
When times are difficult there is often much to do and much to think about. However, a good recipe for keeping your spirits up is to schedule time away from worrisome tasks. Turn off the news on the television and watch a funny movie. Turn on a radio station that plays oldies but goodies instead of the guy who continually complains about everything under the sun. And be careful of spending too much time with folks who always have a negative view of the world as that negative view is often contagious. Sports, volunteer activities, church, and even a mid-week visit with a favorite person can counter the tendency for the burdens of life to seem heavier and heavier.
Do Good and Good Comes Back to You
Even when there seems to be too much to do and difficulties seem insurmountable, and especially then, doing a favor, helping someone in need reminds you of the good in life. The person or organization that you help out will probably not do something good for you directly but the might. And, you will feel better about yourself, more competent, and more connected to the positive aspects of life. This is also a good way to meet new people and make new friends which helps reduce the isolation that often plagues those who just recently left military service.
Routinely Expand Your Horizons With Something New
When we continually have our noses to the grindstone, we may not see the forest for the trees, start to feel like there is nothing but effort and tedium in life, and become depressed. Learning a new skill can be helpful for work or for coping with life’s difficulties but simply learning something different, spending time in different company, or taking up a new hobby can serve to lift spirits and make staying positive through adversity an easier task. This can be as simple as reading a new book, seeking out new friends, or simply changing the social media platform that you frequent.
Exercise and Get Enough Sleep
The bottom line for coping with adversity is that you need to keep your mind and body physically healthy for the rest to work. Take time to exercise. Set up a schedule and include a physical workout or simply a long walk. Twenty minutes of exercise that raises the heart rate to 100 beats a minute or more done three times a week has conditioning value. But no matter what you have time for, it will be good for your body and mind as well. Then include in your schedule regular hours for sleep. Adults typically need six to eight hours of sleep each night. The body replenishes itself while sleeping and the mind goes through a reset as well. Exercise and get enough sleep and staying positive through adversity will be an easier goal to conquer. Something to keep in mind is that bright lights affect melatonin levels in the brain and can keep you awake. Do not spend the last hour or two before bedtime with your smartphone or watching TV.
Reach Out For Help When You Need It
We like to think of ourselves as being independent and strong, especially veterans. But remember that many of the skills you learned in the military were taught to you and did not come naturally. When depression, PTSD, or substance abuse are adding to life’s troubles, get help. At No Fallen Heroes we are dedicated to the wellbeing of veterans, maintaining good mental health and eliminating the scourge of veteran suicide. There are excellent new treatments on the horizon including the use of psychedelic medicines that alleviate PTSD and depression. To get help you need to reach out and ask!