I recently read Dr. Russ Harris’s book, The Reality Slap: How to Find Fulfillment When Life Hurts. This is a wonderful book for anyone who is dealing with the emotional aftermath of being “slapped” by a life experience that is completely out of your control, such as a death, major illness, job loss, and so on. What do you do when the reality you have is really different from the reality you want? Dr. Harris identifies four core strategies for closing the gap:
1. Hold yourself kindly. During hard times, you must practice self-compassion. If you are in the habit of being self-critical, this is not something that will help you during tough times.
2. Drop the anchor. You must find ways to ground yourself until the emotional storm passes.
3. Take a stand. Ask yourself, “What do I want to stand for in the face of this?” Living your life with purpose helps ease suffering.
4. Find the treasure. Discover what the life experience has to teach you. Find the treasure hidden in the pain.