Keep looking ahead when going through tough battles
Provided by Business Psychology Associates
Idaho's Employee Assistance Program provider
Americans know Abraham Lincoln as the emancipator of slaves, the man who held the nation together in its darkest days. But few know the Lincoln who battled suicidal thoughts and at times called himself “The loneliest man in the world.”
“It is hard for many to imagine that one of the greatest world leaders faced such personal struggles,” said Cynthia Wainscott, board chair of National Mental Health Association (NMHA). “Lincoln ‘s life serves as an example to us all. No matter the cause of struggle, how we meet adversity determines how we move forward in our own lives.”
Here are some of the common threads that enabled Lincoln to face and overcome his obstacles:
Positive outlook: Staying hopeful and positive is key to recovery from any setback. In fact, hardships may help us become stronger and wiser. As British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli once said, “What appear to be calamities are often the sources of fortune.”
Perseverance: To bounce back from adversity, it’s vital to stay focused and fi rm. We often need to fi ght for ourselves to get what we need to recover. Service to others: By helping others, we can in turn help ourselves. We can gain perspective on our own plight as well as feel a sense of purpose.
Sense of humor: There is nothing more important than a healthy sense of humor in dealing with adversity. The ability to laugh helps us to get through the most difficult times. Winston Churchill, another leader who experienced depression, once said “If you are going through hell, keep going.”
Self-knowledge: The more we inform ourselves about our situation, the better we can handle the ups and downs we face. Without knowledge, we have less control over our own future.
Staying connected: Hardships are not times to go through alone. Support from friends and family is an important part of overcoming any adversity. As Lincoln once said, “I am a success today because I had a friend who believed in me and I didn’t have the heart to let him down.”
“If a person’s personal battles - whether health-related or situational – become too overwhelming, he or she should always seek help from a mental health professional. There is nothing shameful in reaching out for help. Lincoln did. And there is no reason to forge through it alone. We have better treatments than Lincoln did - treatments that can help all of us rise above our challenges,” said Wainscott.
For additional information or assistance, please contact your Employee Assistance Program (EAP) or consult a mental health professional or contact the National Mental Health Association at www.nmha.org .