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Positive practices to fall back on when going through a difficult time


From the outside any family can seem picture perfect… but as they say, never judge a book by its cover. It is perfectly normal for families to face challenges… but who do you turn to when things get rough; and how do you seek help and guidance without airing the family laundry in public?

How you approach difficult situations can make the difference between fixing the problem or making it worse. Internalising negative emotions such as anger or fear will only lead to long-term stress and sadness. There are practical tools that can help you manage the problem.

An effective solution strategy is known as Positive Practice. It teaches us to repeat and practice useful responses to maintain emotional well-being when you find yourself in a difficult family situation. For example, instead of questioning why this is happening TO you and your family, ask yourself why this situation is happening FOR you. Forming this habit can help you to look for the positives in what seems like a negative situation. It takes time to make this way of approaching hard times a habit, but the more you do it, the more natural it will become.

Some simple steps to find a way to work through a hard time can be:

  • Try to stay calm
  • Try to put emotions aside
  • Don’t interrupt the other person while they are speaking
  • Come up with as many possible solutions as you can – let each family member put an idea forward so that everyone feels heard
  • Actively listen to what each person says and make sure you understand what they mean
  • Be willing to compromise – being stubborn doesn’t help solve a problem
  • Make sure everyone clearly understands the chosen solution

And if all else fails, don’t be afraid to reach out to someone trustworthy – sometimes even seeing a counsellor can help. It can be really difficult to work through family problems without sharing private information with people outside the family. But sometimes keeping it in the family is not the best solution because the people who are experiencing the challenge, are too close to the problem to see a solution which is practical and fair. So, talk to a friend who you trust will offer you good advice.

It may sound strange, but it is healthy to express negative emotions. To maintain emotional well-being, allow yourself bad days, and this means you can cry or talk through your anger. Be sure to take proper care of yourself and recognise when you need counselling. Although it will take lots of persuasion, relatives may agree to go with you. You know each other so well and practicing positivity together will focus on what you can learn from one another. Turn family problems into a way to find your strength as a family – work together to overcome the challenges that can be unexpected. Remember, you really are stronger TOGETHER!

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