Every life experience counts – 10 tips on how to handle tough times

Every life experience counts – 10 tips on how to handle tough times

Sumita Banerjea

Educator, Counsellor & Author

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A recent hospital stay for a surgery, that I had delayed for a long time, brought with it, a bouquet of life experience benefits; other than the expected results of the procedure. I received nuggets of advice, each with a different perspective and a different learning.

Even the voices of discouragement that I experienced, regarding the pain and the possibility of the surgery going wrong, made meaning for me.

The messages got me thinking, about what they meant in the bigger scheme of life. I realised that they could help me handle the tougher surprises, that were bound to come up over and beyond this planned procedure.  So, I journaled them into a ‘thought’ and ‘it’s implications’ format.

Here goes……


1.“Once you have taken an informed and well thought out decision, don’t keep second guessing yourself.”

“It leads to confusion, stress and is pointless. You cannot control everything.

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Choose to have faith in the person whom you have chosen for the job; and enjoy the comfort of those who are by your side. Affirm to yourself that all will go well. It cuts out the negativity about the life experience.


2.“Just think of your stay as an extended vacation where you will be pampered.”

“Room to yourself, an array of persons available to you at the press of a bell, food brought to your bedside, someone to even give you a sponge bath! So many perks!”
How you see the life experience depends on your perspective – whether as a punishment; or, as something that has a lot of positivity in it for you as well; and needs to be taken in your stride- graciously.

3.“You have invested a lot of money in this surgery. See it as an investment.”

“If you were to invest your savings, you would look to maximise your returns. So do everything possible to get the best out of it.”

Invest your time, energy and money wisely and then do a regular follow up before, during and after the actual investment, to see that things are moving on track. Be with it and see it through.


4.“You’ve been an athlete. Just remember the stairs in the stadium that you went up and down.”

Awaken that person inside you and take it on!”

Focus on your resources – within you and those around you  – and ask for help if needed. Don’t underestimate yourself.
Also remember, that support often comes from the most unexpected sources.


5.“Chant this mantra whenever possible. It has a protective power and gives inner strength.”

“Do deep breathing to relax and use mindfulness techniques to calm yourself.” “I will be praying for you and remember that your loved ones, seen and unseen, will be with you.”
Have faith in whatever or whoever you believe in, to hold your hand. The power of the unseen hand of a greater energy, the love of dear ones, gives one a feeling of safety and comfort in any  experience.

The ancient practice of pranayama and the vibration of mantras being chanted, create an inner pool of calmness. It is the inner well that helps us when in pain, confusion, stress or anxiety.

This helps us in taking better decisions by decluttering our minds and also gives us relief when under pressure in any life experience.


6.“It appears to be a big challenge now; but once it’s behind you and you look in the rear view mirror, you will feel that you have achieved something.”

“Think of the future benefits; And time will take care of the healing.”

Think of long term benefits from the particular life experience and not short term fixes. Life cannot always be on a fast forward mode. We have to respect time, the mother tincture. It will heal and reveal.


7.Bring in some humour. “Opioids given as pain killers may give you the feeling that you are in La La Land!”

Find humour in life. It helps alleviate a lot of things. Don’t take yourself and your difficult life experiences too seriously. They tend to overwhelm you and sometimes you start feeling lost. You are at the driving wheel of your life. Take charge!


8.“Think of others who have gone through and are going through tough situations.”

Talk to them about their experiences and you will find different coping methods.”
You are not alone in your struggles. Each person, a king or a pauper, faces challenges and learns to cope. So will you and this too will pass.


9.“Think of what prompted you to take this decision – obviously you hope for a better future.

“Focus on that and the current challenge will seem worth it.”

Allow your hopes and dreams to motivate you. Each little step will take you closer to it. Just keep moving.


10.“I know someone, who, when she was told she would be hospitalised for a while, took an immediate decision to do a few things.”

“ She upgraded her upholstery and curtains in her room and drawing room; bought new mugs for serving tea to her guests, when they would visit her on her return; got herself a facial, pedicure and manicure; and on the day of her surgery, went into the operation theatre with her full make up done!”

However funny this might sound, it displays a certain spirit and zest for life. Take care of yourself. Howsoever tough the going be, always put your best foot forward.

Face situations with courage and confidence and be careful not to expose your vulnerability to all and sundry.


In “The Last Lecture”, Randy Pausch says, “We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand.”


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