These days, it's easy to fall into the muck and mire of worry and despair. Personal earthquakes like the loss of a job - or worse, your home - punctuated by the daily news can steal your perspective and keep you in a pit of despair.
What you need to know today is that even when things seem completely hopeless, you can make progress. That's not to say that you should slip into denial when bad things happen. But good things also happen. By learning how to control your thoughts and stepping back to see the bigger picture, you can climb out of that pit and into the sunshine of a new day. It's all about learning how to get your perspective back on track.
1. Face the facts: Feelings are fickle. They send messages to our brains that are not always reliable. Your emotions may be all over the map. Instead, write things down, in clear, simple sentences. Acknowledge the facts. It is what it is - no better, but no worse, either.
2. Allow yourself to mourn. Your loss is real, so don't deny it. Feel the hurt and the pain, but don't stop there. Keep moving through it. And don't beat yourself up if you need some help. Grief comes in many forms, and you may benefit from a qualified counselor to help you navigate through this period.
There are numerous websites, such as SupportGroups.com, that offer free online resources. Or find a Celebrate Recovery group meeting in your area (go to CelebrateRecovery.com and click on "GroupFinder"). Finding others who are on the same journey will be comforting and empowering.
3. The future is better than you think. You've hit some bumps in the road. Even if you've lost everything, consider it a heartbreaking interruption on your journey. Remember that you live in a time when global living standards, as well as economic conditions, are improving, regardless of what you read in the headlines. Even though things appear cloudy, you do have a bright future.
4. Dwell on the positive. The simple act of gratitude will change your perspective. Compared to about 95 percent of the people on this earth, if you live in America or Canada, you are wealthy and blessed with abundance. You may not have it all, but when you get right down to it, you do have enough. You've had a setback or two, but it's not the end of the road.
"Failure is not the end unless you quit," says Michael Hyatt, blogger at MichaelHyatt.com and chairman of Thomas Nelson Publishers. "We can't allow one setback - or even a series of setbacks - to define us."
5. Don't give up. Never, ever. No matter what. You know what they say about quitters: They never prosper. Keep putting one foot in front of the other. Lift your head up high. What looks like darkness right now is just a cloud. Behind it the sun is shining on your very bright future.