The Key To Tak­ing Charge…

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Ther­a­pist, coach and au­thor Michael Neenan tells how to take con­trol of your life dur­ing tricky times… No one is ex­empt from ex­pe­ri­enc­ing ad­ver­sity and tough times in life. It’s counter-pro­duc­tive to re­treat into a ‘Why me?’ self-pity­ing mode. You don’t com­plain when life treats you fairly, so you can ex­pect a dose of un­fair­ness from time to time too.

Ac­cept that the sit­u­a­tion has hap­pened and de­ter­mine which as­pects are within your con­trol. For ex­am­ple, if your part­ner has re­jected you, this is out­side your con­trol; but you don’t have to re­ject your­self. In­stead, think: ‘I can learn to live alone for a while.’ This is within your con­trol.

De­ter­mine what you need to change to im­prove the odds of over­com­ing ad­ver­sity. Stop in­sist­ing that the road to re­cov­ery should be quick and pain­less – in­stead, ac­cept that strug­gle and per­se­ver­ance are to be ex­pected. Re­silience is only forged through strug­gle.

Ex­pect and ac­cept a range of mixed feel­ings. For ex­am­ple, you’ll swing from ‘Why me?’ de­spair to ‘Just get on with it!’ grit. Don’t be­lieve you have to feel up­beat ev­ery step of the way. Fi­nally, seek sup­port from oth­ers; it’s not a sign of weak­ness.

De­vel­op­ing Re­silience: A Cog­ni­tive­be­havioural Ap­proach by Michael Neenan (£16.99, Rout­ledge) is out now

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