How do you get through tough times? Perhaps you had a setback at school or work. Then again, without school, it’s really hard to know what day it is. Perhaps you feel pessimistic about your relationship, or put off by a close friend. Do you have life tools to cope with it all? The trouble with troubleshooting is that sometimes trouble shoots back.

No doubt you’ve been told to get good rest and exercise, but have you been strengthening your spiritual life? I know. You put in so much work that the gym sent you a W2 at the end of the year. Spending your time at the gym doing diddly squats doesn’t count either. But seriously, dust off your aura and store your Bible in your heart, not on a shelf.

If you find it particularly challenging to focus on positives in your life, talk it out. Find your most trusted loved one or friend and share. Organize your thoughts and express them out loud. Your inner experience may feel a whole lot less jumbled.

Zoom out. Step away and try to see this burden from a different perspective. You’ve been through tough times before, and you came out the other side, my friends. You will get through this, as well.

Please welcome all of your feelings. Trust me. They will not go away if you ignore or deny them. It’s all right to be angry, to feel frustrated, or to cry up a storm. Note: If you see someone crying, don’t ask if it’s about their haircut. I would cry, but my makeup is too expensive, y’all.

But truly, an emotional release can prevent you from stewing in self-pity or help you gain more insight into what you are feeling. Avoid blaming and shaming yourself or others. Playing the blame game will ultimately make you feel more powerless and inadequate in the end.

Your thinking will drastically affect how you handle and attack your problems. Are you focusing on the happy and heartening aspects of your life? Be honest, please. Try to reframe your perspective when things go wrong. Let go of the need to control everything. Releasing can actually save your sanity. Ah, sanity. What did the therapist tell Usain Bolt? You sane, Bolt. What do you call someone who likes pineapple but not on his pizza? Sane.

Okay, seriously, when we are stressed, we tend to be sharp and stinging critics of ourselves. Please let yourself off the hook for things that were not truly your fault. Think about making some healthy lifestyle changes amidst a crisis.

Let your daily rituals anchor you when you feel frustrated and flooded. Slow down and sip your morning coffee. When life gives you lemons, trade them in for coffee. Today’s good mood is sponsored by coffee. Not only that, but it gives you the illusion that you’re awake.

Get a dose of sunlight each day. Feeling that warmth and those rays will let hope right into you. Put yourself in a sunshine state of mind. Get away if you can. A change in latitude can change your attitude.

Do things that help you stay connected to loved ones and friends. Set aside time for not talking about school, work, or the kids. Listen, if my kids knew there was a light in the oven, they’d leave that one on, too. But truly, feeling closely connected to loved ones will help you cope with any challenge you are facing.

Do whatever works for you. Hammer your stress out at the gym if that does it for you. Speaking of which, do you also breathe more quietly when you walk up a hill so that bystanders don’t hear you fighting for your life? You love your morning workout, eh? So today you did abs...olutely nothing. I get it. Hey, I got up to 40 minutes on the exercise bike. Next week, I’m going to try turning the pedals.

But ultimately, please determine what has helped you in the past. The world itself seems to be going through unprecedented upheaval and uproar. It has most definitely taken its toll on our mood and outlook on life, as of late. Loss and change are an inevitable part of our lives, so we had best find a way to adapt and cope. How do you? Speaking of change, wouldn’t you just love to be like a caterpillar? Eat a lot. Sleep for a while. Wake up beautiful. Sign me up.

Recognize your alleged coping skills that have not worked or served you. Sure, you may be tempted to numb your feelings with chocolate or wine. Well, chocolate is the secret to eternal youth. I mean, have you ever seen a seven-year-old eating a chocolate bar who’s all wrinkly and haggard? Want to know how to avoid eating too much chocolate? Melt it and drink it. But honestly, please do not attempt to anaesthetize your feelings.

It is possible to find positives in some setbacks that we have faced. Do not listen to the media’s unending fearmongering. Work on feeling less afraid. You have made it through the good and the bad times. Don’t allow yourself to get locked in a cycle of misery. Resilience is not a feeling. It is a manifestation of thought. Make sure the narrative voice in your head is kind and has a sense of humor, too. What sort of mindset do you need to cultivate toughness of spirit?

What is standing in your way? After all, we don’t remember days, sweet friends. We remember moments. Make them count.

Caroline is a licensed psychotherapist, crisis counselor, and writer with an office in Queens.  She works with individuals, couples, and families.  Appointments are available throughout the week and weekends.  She can be reached at 917-717-1775 or at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  or at