Do believe me if I say none of us are exempt from life’s challenges.

Rich, poor, beautiful, gifted, clever or whatever else, we all have a story to tell about the  hills and valleys of life and it could be  health issues, finance, family life, name it and it exists. I think it is also why we study those that we deemed socially above us and avidly consume information about their life’s up and downs.  Author Ralph Waldo Emerson said “Life is a succession of lessons which must be lived to be understood.”

So…how do you cope when faced with life’s difficulties?  How can you breath when you are sometimes so overwhelmed that you feel like giving up.  According to Author Bertrand Russell “When we long for life without difficulties, remind us that oaks grow strong in contrary winds and diamonds are made under pressure”.

Just know that you are not ALONE and that millions of us go through situations similar to yours.    I have 7 strategies  that works for me and I hope that at least one will resonate;


Many people meditate –  they learnt to seek a  centre where no ‘storm’ exists and use that for balance.

For me, I pray and do a lot of it.  As a Christian I find age-old solutions in the bible.  Proverbs 17:22 says “A cheerful heart brings good healing, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones”. This and other such verses lift me up to a point where my spirit is comforted. Remember we are made of soul, spirit and body.

When life’s difficulties face us, it is our souls that take the first hit. We try to look for for solution or panic or scream for help. Many of us are strong enough to try to handle it by ourselves but I have to put my hand up to say am not.

Positive Distractions

Image by Val Vesa – Unsplash

Years ago I attended an Anthony Robbins’ 3-day seminar ‘Unleash The Power Within’  and it was life changing for me.  On the 1st day Anthony ‘distracted’ about 10,000 of us enough  that we walked on red hot coals.  Had I not  not experienced it I would have found it hard to believe.  I was awed that I could do that and It showed that if we tried we could train our brains to focus on good things.  As Positive  thoughts can cancel negative ones. So, try to dwell on the things that give you joy.  Irrespective of what you’re going through, there are still things that will give you some peace.

Reading, listening to uplifting music, gardening –  a very quiet and peaceful job and If you don’t have a garden, get potted or box plants.  Fishing requires lots of equipment but if you like it enough it is a great hobby.  Cooking, baking, taking long walks energises the brain.   There are many things to tap into.

Seek Help

If you are in a place that is beyond your own ability, then you must seek help.

Find someone that understands and talk to them. This could be a friend or it could be a professional as the worst thing to do is to bottle things in. That could be destructive.

If this is a health issue then while the professionals are doing their job, you have to help them.    I know a friend who recently put her hands up and decided that she required counselling in order to ease her anxieties.  She had gone through a bad relationship breakup and found that minor issues made her jittery.  When she was offered therapy she happily accepted it as it meant she could talk to a professional.

Join groups –Community groups, Online forums, Meet ups, Facebook Groups

Join local groups and even online forum of people with similar issues.  It might surprise you at how much is out there.

I attend church and participate in activities.  This might not be a solution for many but this has worked for me for many years.  The body heals quicker when the mind is focused on healthy thoughts.  As hard as it seems those that survive are those with more positive spirit, and this is achieved through the right support. If you’re offered prayer accept it!  It is free and works.  It could be instant or might take some time.

In Anthony Robbins’ seminar we were taught to snap our minds back from negative destructive thoughts into happy ones. You could do this just by your posture.  Apparently, when we slump our bodies and bow our heads it could encourage us us to go deeper into the negative whilst a raised head and a smile (even if forced) trains your brain to move into positivity.   We have the power within us to change our thoughts.

Podcasts, You Tube, Books

Listen to podcasts or YouTube with positive messages.  There are hundreds of great programs and the hosts are literally begging us to come to their platform.

I recently discovered Lori Harder of ‘Earn Your Happy’ Podcast.  This was through another podcaster Dr Shannon Irvine, a neurologist who teaches on how to train the brain and tell it more positive ‘stories’.  Apparently, the sum total of who we are is determined by our life experiences ‘good or bad’.  She gets us to tell the brain  better stories that will improve our lives. It is a long one and it is best to subscribe to her podcast and listen to the series.

Read books that will uplift you.  I have just discovered ‘Miracle Morning’ by Hal Elrod and there is a whole series of it!

Do you like singing or listening to music? Get some favourite singers and mime after them.  I love to listen to gospel music on YouTube.

You can go to places, libraries if you love reading books or even visit museums.  If you’re in a place with no library or you haven’t got access you could write/journal.  You can even start writing your family history. As a British and Nigerian, I have started to put my experience in writing for future generation.  It will be for my children, my nephews, my grandchildren…. It is a legacy…. what happens in the past forms our future.

Treat yourself. Pamper yourself. Praise Yourself

Do a little each day. And according to a UK slang, ‘big up yourself’.

If you’ve achieved a milestone in health, diet, finance and other areas build up on it. Ask professionals for the best way to get better. If it is finance and you manage to take an edge off a debt give yourself a star. If you’re a millionaire and it is your family that is in trouble, create time. Some wealthy are  time poor and loved ones starve for this.   Some poor seek after money without realising their blessings.   Why do you think that certain culture in developing countries living in abject poverty look happier than people living in the ‘1st worlds’.  This is because life is simpler and family dynamics strong.   It is a deliberate strategy that will give you balanced relationships.

Finally… “Rome was not built in a day”
It took me many years to get to the point where I could share some of my wisdom. I still face my own challenges, but I have ensured I pray and speak to those that love me and care when I need to. Take one step at a time and you will be surprised at what you can achieve in a year.  You could even buddy up with a friend to work on this.

If you enjoyed this article I look forward to you reaching out to me.


  • Stella Oni

    Writer, Blogger, Speaker

    Stella was born in Clapham, London, brought up in Nigeria and lives in London.   She has a degree in Linguistics and African Languages from the University of Benin and a MSc in Information Systems and Technology from City University, London. Stella is a writer and speaker. She is the founder of the blog African Britishness where she writes on culture, travel, food, health and wellbeing, As an avid foodie, when she is not writing she is cooking up exotic cuisine or decorating cakes.  Stella’s  dream is to travel to different parts of the world to taste and experience food from different cultures. She believes that her experience of growing within two worlds has given her a unique perspective and she is happy to share this. Stella's crime manuscript, Deadly Sacrifice, a police procedural set in London and Nigeria, was shortlisted for the SI Leeds Literary Prize in 2016 and will be published by Jacaranda Books Art Music in 2020. Stella is currently working on the 2nd in the series, writing the first of an exciting brand new series as well as doing some non-fiction writing! Get my 20 best Podcasts and Blogs here