10 Simple tools to get me through a difficult time backed by science

In life, we all face various challenges. Sometimes we’re on top of the world, and other times, we find ourselves in the depths of despair. It’s in these difficult times that we need a little more support and guidance. This article provides a roadmap of simple, scientifically backed tools that can help you navigate through a difficult time.

1. Embrace the Power of Perception

“Life is not the way it’s supposed to be, it’s the way it is. The way you manage is what makes the difference.” – Virginia Satir

It may sound clichéd, but maintaining an open mind and the ability to see it from multiple angles is essential when going through a rough patch.

The Impact of Positivity on Well-being

Research has consistently shown that a positive outlook can significantly improve physical and mental health. When life takes an unexpected turn for the worse, you can either remain hopeful and remind yourself that there is light at the end of the tunnel or surrender to despair. Remember, it’s okay to have a bad day, feel disheartened, or shed a tear. However, it’s vital to pick up the pieces and keep moving forward eventually.

Harnessing the Power of an Open Mindset

To harness the power of positivity:

  • Acknowledge your feelings: Recognise and accept your emotions rather than suppressing them.
  • Practice gratitude: Regularly note down things in your life for which you’re grateful.
  • Focus on what you can control: Invest your time and energy in things you can change, rather than stressing over those you can’t.
  • Stay connected: Surround yourself with people who can provide emotional support when you need it most.
A person walking away in a busy park with a backpack going through a difficult time

2. Unleash Your Creativity

Sometimes, the solutions to our problems aren’t immediately visible. In such situations, it’s crucial to step back, look at the big picture, and think creatively.

The Role of Creativity in Overcoming Challenges

Being creative can help you discover new ways to deal with challenging situations. It encourages you to think outside the box and devise innovative solutions to your problems.

Ways to Boost Your Creativity

Here are some ways to stimulate your creativity:

  • Engage in creative hobbies: Activities like painting, writing, or playing a musical instrument can help you think creatively.
  • Spend time in nature: Nature can inspire creativity and provide a fresh perspective on things.
  • Practice mindfulness: Mindfulness techniques, such as meditation or yoga, can help clear your mind and boost creativity.

3. Develop Emotional Resilience

Resilience is the ability to bounce back from adversity. It’s about having the mental strength to cope with stress and recover from life’s challenges.

Understanding Emotional Resilience

Emotional resilience is not about avoiding stress or hardship. Instead, it’s about learning to adapt and grow from these experiences. According to psychologists, people who are emotionally resilient tend to have fewer negative emotions and recover from distressing situations faster.

Building Emotional Resilience

Here are some ways to build emotional resilience:

  • Establish strong social connections: Having a strong social network can provide emotional support during tough times.
  • Practice self-care: Regular exercise, a balanced diet, and adequate sleep can help maintain emotional health.
  • Cultivate a positive mindset: Focus on the positive aspects of your life and practice gratitude regularly.
  • Seek professional help: Don’t hesitate to seek help from a mental health professional if you’re struggling to cope with stress or adversity.

4. Manage Your Stress Levels

Stress is a part of life. Although it can be a tool to help you through a difficult time it can also make things worse. Whether it’s work-related stress or personal problems, we all experience stress at some point. However, chronic stress can have detrimental effects on our physical and mental health.

The Impact of Chronic Stress

Chronic stress can lead to various health problems like heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and mental disorders like depression and anxiety.

Strategies for Stress Management

Here are some strategies to manage stress effectively:

  • Prioritise self-care: Regular exercise, a nutritious diet, and adequate sleep are essential for stress management.
  • Practice relaxation techniques: Techniques like deep breathing, yoga, and meditation can help reduce stress levels.
  • Build a strong social support network: Having supportive friends and family can help you cope with stress.
  • Seek professional help: If stress is affecting your daily life, it may be helpful to seek advice from a mental health professional.

5. Prioritise Quality Sleep

Sleep plays a crucial role in maintaining our physical and mental health. It helps us think clearly, react quickly, and focus better.

The Importance of Quality Sleep

Lack of sleep can lead to various health problems, including heart disease, diabetes, and mental health disorders like depression and anxiety. It can also affect your mood, concentration, and overall quality of life.

Tips for Getting Quality Sleep

Here are some tips to improve your sleep quality:

  • Maintain a regular sleep schedule: Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day.
  • Create a sleep-friendly environment: Ensure your bedroom is dark, quiet, and comfortable.
  • Limit screen time before bed: Exposure to blue light from electronic devices can interfere with your sleep.
  • Avoid caffeine and alcohol: Both can disrupt your sleep patterns.

6. Practice Mindfulness

Mindfulness is about being fully present in the moment. It involves paying attention to your thoughts, feelings, and sensations without judgement.

The Benefits of Mindfulness

Mindfulness has been shown to reduce stress, improve focus, and enhance emotional well-being. It can also help you develop a greater understanding of yourself and others.

How to Practice Mindfulness

Here are some ways to practice mindfulness:

  • Meditate regularly: Meditation is a great way to practice mindfulness. You can start with just a few minutes each day and gradually increase the amount of time you meditate.
  • Practice mindful eating: Pay attention to the taste, texture, and smell of your food. Eat slowly and without distractions.
  • Stay present: Try to focus on the present moment instead of worrying about the past or the future.

7. Seek Support

Having a strong support network can make a significant difference when you’re going through a difficult time. This network can include family, friends, or professional therapists.

The Importance of Social Support

Social support can provide emotional comfort, practical assistance, and valuable advice during tough times. It can also help reduce feelings of loneliness and isolation.

How to Seek Support

Here are some ways to seek support:

  • Reach out to loved ones: Don’t hesitate to reach out to your family and friends when you’re going through a tough time. They can provide emotional support, practical help, and a listening ear.
  • Join a support group: Support groups can provide a safe space to share your feelings and experiences with others who are going through similar situations.
  • Seek professional help: If you’re struggling to cope, consider seeking help from a mental health professional.

8. Develop a Sense of Purpose

Having a sense of purpose can act as a compass guiding you through life’s ups and downs. It can provide motivation, direction, and a sense of fulfillment.

The Role of Purpose in Resilience

Research shows that individuals with a strong sense of purpose are more resilient in the face of adversity. They are better able to cope with stress, recover from setbacks, and lead more satisfying lives.

Ways to Cultivate a Sense of Purpose

Here are some ways to cultivate a sense of purpose:

  • Identify your values: Your values can provide a sense of direction and guide your actions.
  • Set meaningful goals: Setting and working towards meaningful goals can give you a sense of purpose.
  • Contribute to others: Helping others can provide a sense of purpose and fulfillment.

9. Learn from Your Experiences

Every difficult situation presents an opportunity for growth. By learning from your experiences, you can become stronger, wiser, and more resilient.

The Power of Learning from Difficult Times

Learning from difficult times can help you develop new skills, gain valuable insights, and become more resilient. It can also reduce the likelihood of experiencing similar difficulties in the future.

How to Learn from Difficult Times

Here are some ways to learn from difficult times:

  • Reflect on your experiences: Take time to reflect on your experiences and identify what went wrong and what you could have done differently.
  • Identify lessons learned: Identify the lessons you’ve learned from your experiences and how they can help you in the future.
  • Implement changes: Based on the lessons learned, make necessary changes to prevent similar situations in the future.

10. Embrace Self-Compassion

Self-compassion involves treating yourself with the same kindness, understanding, and patience you would offer a loved one. It can be a powerful tool for coping with difficult times.

The Role of Self-Compassion in Resilience

Research shows that self-compassion can enhance resilience, boost self-esteem, and improve mental health. It can also provide comfort and emotional support during tough times.

How to Practice Self-Compassion

Here are some ways to practice self-compassion:

  • Practice self-kindness: Treat yourself with kindness and understanding, especially when you’re struggling.
  • Acknowledge your common humanity: Remember that everyone makes mistakes and faces challenges. You’re not alone in your struggles.
  • Maintain a balanced perspective: Try not to exaggerate your mistakes or flaws. Acknowledge them without judgement or criticism.


Going through a difficult time can be challenging, but remember, you’re not alone. By harnessing the power of positivity, unleashing your creativity, developing emotional resilience, managing your stress levels, prioritising quality sleep, practising mindfulness, seeking support, developing a sense of purpose, learning from your experiences, and embracing self-compassion, you can navigate your way through any difficult time. And remember, every storm passes, and brighter days lie ahead.

If this helped you, it will help somebody else!

You've just read an article by Steven Webb —  Guiding you through the most difficult times. Here is a link to my podcast Stillness in the Storms and Inner Peace Meditations.

I write to arm you with resilience and inner wisdom, helping you find calm in life’s chaos. Follow me Medium or on substack.

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Steven Webb

Steven Webb is a renowned meditation teacher with over a decade of experience. Known for his unique approach to quieting the busy mind, Steven navigated through a life of adversity to find his own inner peace. Now, he shares his wisdom to help others build resilience and find tranquility even in life's most turbulent times. Through his writing, courses, and podcast "Stillness in the Storms," Steven empowers people to discover their own sanctuary of inner peace when they need it the most.
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