According to the James and Gilliland model (2001), a crisis is a "perception or experience of an event or situation as an intolerable difficulty that exceeds the person's current resources and coping mechanisms."
While a crisis typically represents an ordeal, hardship, or
also offers opportunities for personal growth through lessons learned.
"Savoring" the moment becomes more important after you have endured difficulty. There are many special, beautiful moments such as the sunset, a fragrant breeze, the laugh of a child, or the kindness of a stranger that often get lost in hurry, scurry, or preoccupation with everything else.
2. Reflect upon the meaning of life and what it means to you. Going through adversity or difficult times can hurl a person into an existential crisis. When that happens we question whether life has meaning or purpose. After all, we will all die someday.
According to the existential philosophers, life has as much meaning as you give it. The point is to enjoy everything life has to offer; give it purpose and meaning while you are here - make it count. According to Albert Camus, if you live for the act of "being," your life becomes about living fully and purposefully.
3. Reevaluate your priorities. Decide what is really important. Once you have established what you want your life to be, decide what is most important. As Johann Wolfgang von Goethe suggested: "Things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things which matter least."
Take time to write out what your life goals are. List your health, career, relationship, and spiritual goals. Breaking down your priorities into meaningful goals helps identify what's important to you and how you can achieve it.
4. Appreciate what you have. There is nothing like a crisis to remind us how fortunate we really are. When we get caught up in daily life and normal routines, we rarely contemplate our privileges and opportunities. However, the possibility of any type of loss during a crisis is more than enough to bring us back to what is good in our lives.
5. The importance of health - health is real is wealth. If it's a health crisis you've survived, the gratitude and relief experienced at its end are more than enough to compel you to live a healthier, less stressful lifestyle. Nothing matters if you are not well enough to enjoy it.
6. Be proactive rather than reactive. Lack of preparation and forethought can often lead to a crisis. If you don't plan for that career interruption, financial setback, or illness, the consequences can be dire. Understand that anything can happen. Being proactive puts you in the driver's seat, while merely reacting to catastrophe makes it difficult to recover. Although you may not always fully avoid a crisis, you can lessen its impact by being prepared.
7. Getting through a crisis makes you stronger. Researchers have found that those who have experienced a crisis or stressful event in their lives have more confidence in their abilities to overcome challenges and adversity. They likewise exhibit a renewed appreciation for life; enjoy stronger more meaningful relationships, and experience spiritual growth.
8. A crisis offers invaluable insight. Getting through a crisis can teach you what went wrong and why. It has the potential to help you avoid similar mistakes; learn to plan better; be aware of the potential pitfalls, and ultimately execute your objectives more successfully. Live and learn.
9. You discover what you're made of. You may not realize how strong you are until you survive a crisis. It takes courage, intestinal fortitude, and perseverance to get through tough times. That's not to say you will not experience self-doubt, fear, and uncertainty, however; having dug deep you will discover unexpected inner strength and resolve.
10. Know that there is an ebb and flow to life and this too shall pass. Nothing stays the same - good or bad; everything comes to an end. We can prepare for ebb in life by understanding it exists and by taking time for self-reflection and renewal. Hard times offer the opportunity to change course if needed, reinvent ourselves, or to take stock of our lives. Without ebb, we would not appreciate and savor flow when it arrives. The Roman poet Ovid said:
"There is nothing constant in the universe. All ebb and flow, and every shape that's born, bears in its womb the seeds of change."
Throughout our lives, we are faced with a variety of crises that offer us opportunities to learn invaluable lessons that will not only strengthen our will and character, they also prepare us for what may lie ahead.