Every one of us has had to overcome some kind of adversity in our life. Whether we had to overcome it in our childhood, teenage years, or as an adult.
I looked up the synonyms of adversity I found the following words: affliction, bad fortune, bad luck, calamity, catastrophe, disaster, distress, hardship, misfortune, poor luck, setback, tribulation, trouble, woe.
From the list of words above, we can see that adversity is viewed as a terrible thing which can be at times linked to a power beyond human comprehension hence the terms bad luck or misfortune. Yet, it is an incredibly different mindset for a devout person of faith. A devout person of faith believes that all things in life are overseen by God and thus there is no luck. However in the battle between the angels and demons in the spiritual realm, there are human causalities.
Adversity can be highly subjective. The person in North America who was unable to access their cellphone for an entire day might call that adversity. The Japanese people recovering from a huge earthquake and having to live in horrible conditions with little access to clean water, proper sanitation, and good food would most certainly call that adversity.
For the purpose of this article, I’ll discuss overcoming #firstworldproblems or #firstworldadversity
Adversity brings with it a physical strain on your body. The closer you are to the event, the greater hormonal changes and physiological variations that will occur. Consider seeing a tornado coming through your town. Your body will begin to pump adrenaline. Your heart will begin racing. Your brain will become hyper-perceptive. You have been kicked into survival mode. When the tornado passes and you come out of your basement to discover no roof on your house, you are hit with tremendous feelings of loss and sadness.
One move to counteract this physiological impact on your body is through laughter. In studies out of Loma Linda University and University of Maryland, it has been found that the act of laughter changes the physiological state of your body. Laughter increases your intake of oxygen, causes more oxygenated blood to circulate in the body and brain. It decreases our cortisol (stress) hormone. It stimulates the release of our feel good hormones. It is good for heart health. And it is contagious so that others around you laugh as well. And if you don’t feel like laughing, the act of making yourself laugh for one to two minutes, will cause your body to create real laughter.
Adversity also impacts our mental and emotional state of being. It puts a person in a sense of uneasiness. You may begin to experience anger, frustration, and sadness in the moment of adversity. There are three moves you can use to overcome the attack of adversity on your mental and emotional state.
Channel the anger: You need to channel your anger in the right direction and use it to produce good fruit instead of allowing it to consume you. Here’s a story I heard from an ex-highschool teacher. He taught mathematics in highschool. And it seems, he told one student that he is terrible at math and should not consider math as a career. The student’s world was shattered (adversity) and the student decided they were going to show that teacher. They went on to study math in university getting their degree in Maths. Upon graduating the first thing they did was call the teacher to let the teacher know that the student hated the teacher and the student decided to study math and get a degree just to prove how wrong that teacher was about them. That student channelled that anger to make a serious life decision. After spending thousands of dollars to get a math degree just to prove something to a teacher they hated anyway, the big question is what now? Math was not their passion, it was their revenge. When you encounter adversity and it makes you angry, channel that anger in fixing the broken system that allowed the adversity to manifest. Drunken drivers led to the formation of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD). Car fatalities led to the invention and implementation of seat-belts.
Use forgiveness: Sometimes the adversity is such that the only way for you to move forward is by forgiveness. You may need to forgive yourself. You may need to forgive a loved one, a friend, a sibling, a family member. Forgiveness does not erase the adversity but it does release a burden on your heart. If you find your heart captive to a chain as a result of adversity then you need to use the tool of forgiveness to break the chain and set yourself free.
Use the pain: At times pain will come with adversity. Pain may not necessarily be there as a test for you to push through it but it may actually be a warning to turn back because you’re off the right path. A writer for our magazine wrote about the pain she experienced as a result of manipulation by her husband. There were signs early on before the wedding that he would inflict pain on her but she ignored those early symptoms, even forgoing the chance to call of her wedding. She pushed though the pain into… more pain plus suffering. Now she is a divorced single mother of two, while her husband has moved onto his next victim. Question your pain in the adversity. Is it a like “muscle ache pain” or like a “toothache pain?” If your pain feels like a muscle ache pain you might decided to push through but if it is like a toothache pain, you’ve got to deal with it. First, you’ve got to understand your own pain, then respond to it with the appropriate movement.
Ramp up your spiritual life: Lastly, your spiritual life may be pushed out of whack with certain kinds of adversity. The death of a child or loved one may cause a person to question the goodness of God. In scripture, whenever the holy people turned away from God, he allowed various calamities to befall the nation. They knew his requirements through his scriptures, and his prophets. These calamities were always meant to act as a wake up call for the people to return to the way of right living. If you’re finding too much adversity in your own life then perhaps you need to strengthen your spiritual life with more love, meditation, and prayer. The fifth move is to reset your spiritual life by returning to God using the tools of love, meditation, and prayer. Acts of love help you to focus on those around you and therefore you are not so self-focused. Meditation helps the mind to focus it’s power to reach into the spiritual realm. And prayer is you letting the creator know what’s on your mind and laying that burden on him to carry for a while.
This was not my originally planned article but I was impressed in my heart to write this as someone of readers need it. It is my hope and prayer that this piece has touched you.
Until next time continue to learn and grow.