The Sunday Telegraph - Sunday

How to flourish from adversity


We should accept whatever we are feeling without trying to fix it. Dr Kavanagh says: “So I feel bad today – that’s OK, acknowledg­e it. Labelling makes us feel better.”

Try to acknowledg­e what is going well. “Our brain naturally gravitates towards the negative, it’s a way of keeping us safe – we need to train ourselves to look for the positives, to see a balanced view of what is happening.”

Practice mindfulnes­s. “When life is difficult it’s easy to get your attention pulled this way and that. Mindfulnes­s enables you to pull focus back to where you are. This means you’re less vulnerable to catastroph­ising, it means your limbic system will be calmer,” says Dr Kavanagh.

Call a friend or a therapist. When the worst happens many of us isolate, which is the opposite of what we need. “Love is strong medicine,” says Julia Samuel.

If in doubt, get out and go for a walk. Movement always makes us feel better. Yoga or crafts such as sewing or painting also help.

Be patient. “We need time to process what has happened,” says Dr Kavanagh. “We do ourselves a disservice by thinking: why don’t I feel fine now?”

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