How to Stay Encouraged During Difficult Times: 5 Unchangeable Rules

It’s inevitable:

Life has both ups AND downs aplenty. ⬆⬇

But, when your path starts curving downward, how do you stay encouraged during those difficult times?

If you struggle to cope when the universe deals you some not-so-great hands, it’s okay.

You’re human. 💗

Just know…

You’ll get through this.

And, to help you along the way, I have some tips for how to stay encouraged during difficult times – the very same rules that have helped steady me during my own valleys through life.

how to stay encouraged during difficult times

5 Steadfast Rules for How to Stay Encouraged During Difficult Times (Video)

These are the thought patterns, beliefs, and habits that have pulled me through when the going gets… well, hard.

When difficult times arise (and, by the way, they always will!), I lean into these practices deeply, especially an unshakeable trust in God’s plan.

If you’re going through your own difficult time, I have so much encouragement to share with you. Check out this video to hear it straight from me:


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And here’s a deeper explanation of the 5 rules I lean on for how to stay encouraged during difficult times:

1. Have Faith and Trust God Even When Things Aren’t Good

Staying encouraged during difficult times is perhaps the ultimate test of faith.

It’s easy to praise God when times are good. It’s easy to be grateful when things are going your way.

It’s much, much harder to keep a grateful and faithful heart in the middle of a storm.

But that is exactly when you should look to Him. The exact time to put your trust entirely in His hands is in the middle of your personal hurricane. Because that’s when He’s at work!

Remember, His terms and timing are better than ours.

Storytime. 📖

Back in 2018, I thought I was ready to sell my agency. It didn’t happen until late 2021, which made me question a lot.

But! When I look back, in 2018 we weren’t ready. It wasn’t the right time. It wasn’t until 2021 that we had assets in place to help us start over with our new brands post-agency exit.

Starting over again from scratch was much harder than I anticipated. There’s no way we could have done this in 2018 when we lacked specific assets that helped support us through the transition of moving from one business to another. There’s no way we could have achieved a few of the massive feats we did if we had sold earlier – from moving into our dream home to investing in our own land.

Storms can absolutely throw your life off course. We can’t know where the wind is taking us until we have some hindsight. But rest assured that trusting in God to plot your course means you’ll end up somewhere good – and you’ll probably grow braver and stronger than you were before.

That’s how to stay encouraged during difficult times.

how to stay encouraged during difficult times proverbs 3:5

Source: ibelieve.com

2. Immerse Yourself in Positive Beliefs; Repeat

It can be tempting to wallow in doubt and self-pity when difficult times arise.

Don’t fall into this trap. ❌

Instead, make a conscious effort to surround yourself with positivity. Repeat the beliefs that are unchangeable to you. Immerse yourself in them and uplift yourself with them.

It works because what they say is true: You are who (and what!) you associate with. You are what you do.

Surround yourself with positive beliefs, and you’ll reinforce them. You’ll strengthen your resolve and your faith.

Hustle quote Louisa May Alcott

I do this in many ways, but an easy one is to listen to specific music that uplifts me. Worship music in particular is powerful. Here are some playlist/song suggestions to listen to when you’re facing difficult times:

  • Hillsong Worship playlist on Pandora
  • Do It Again by Mack Brock, Travis Cottrell
  • Greater Things by Mack Brock

Soaking in lyrics like this can make a huge difference to your mood, and make you feel encouraged and seen (these words are from “Do It Again”):

“Waiting for change to come
Knowing the battle’s won
For You have never failed me yet

Your promise still stands
Great is Your faithfulness, faithfulness
I’m still in Your hands
This is my confidence
You’ve never failed me yet

I know the night won’t last
Your word will come to pass
My heart will sing Your praise again”

3. Know That, in Difficult Times, Fear Is Mostly False Evidence Appearing Real

During difficult times, what’s your number one fear?

That you might fail?

That you will lose something valuable (relationships, job, money, status, health)?

That you’ll be alone?

Or maybe you simply fear the unknown.

Chances are, it’s never as bad or as dire as your fears would lead you to believe.

That’s because FEAR is mostly False Evidence Appearing Real.

Fear has the power to make you lose all perspective in your tough situation. Fear can convince you that the worst will happen.

Don’t let it!

Usually, our situation isn’t as bad as we make it out to be in our minds.

Or, if we’re really in deep, there might be a silver lining or a glimmer of hope that our fear is overshadowing.

Step back from your fear, and re-examine it. Is it really true? Or are you catastrophizing? Can you find the ray of light among the clouds?

fear is the mind killer frank herbert quote

4. Use Your Fear to Stay Motivated, Encouraged, and Committed to Your Dreams

While fear is often a liar…

Fear can also be a tool. 🛠

A healthy level of fear can be the very thing that pushes you to act to achieve your dreams.

You fear you won’t succeed? Work that much harder to pursue success.

You fear the unknown? Take the opportunity to learn as much as you can about your situation or problem. Get a wise counselor to help you. Invest in yourself.

Use your fear as a motivator. What can you do to overcome it? What preparations can you take? What can you learn? Who could help you navigate your problem and find solutions?

Do this without hesitation and you will see results and find the right path.

Hustle quote Babe Ruth

A mentor can be a great resource to help you succeed when you face difficult times in your life or business. In my Content Transformation System, we focus on mentorship to help our students build long-lasting, sustainable businesses from their passions. With coaching, a full curriculum, templates, a student community, and more, we’ll help you get over your business hurdles to reach the impact you crave. Learn more and apply to the program.

5. Remember: You Entered This World with Nothing, and You’ll Leave with Nothing

This isn’t meant to be morbid, but rather bracing.

It’s meant to shift your perspective:

You came into this world with nothing; you will leave with nothing.

This means, simply, stop carrying the whole world on your head. Stop focusing so hard on earthly, material things.

Ultimately, none of that matters. You’re taking none of it with you in the end.

What does matter? The impact you leave behind. How you showed up for both yourself and others. 💞

Once you realize this truth, the ups and downs matter less. You’ll take yourself less seriously. Your problems will come into perspective.

It’s a stark thing to think about, but it just might help you gain clarity on your difficult time.

Bonus Tip: Breath in Nature and Fresh Air to Reset

Nothing is more grounding than feeling the sun on your face and the wind in your hair. So when you’re feeling anxious about the times we live in, the state of your business, or just life in general, take this as your reminder:

Step outside. Breathe. Use your senses to take in nature’s beauty. Calm your heart and find a moment of peace. Things WILL get better. 💚

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How to Stay Encouraged During Difficult Times: Mindset & Faith

What’s the common thread running through this list of tips?

The one-two punch of mindset + faith is how to stay encouraged during difficult times.

Your beliefs and thoughts will have a bigger impact than maybe you ever realized.

To keep from becoming discouraged, we must stand firm in faith that we’re on the right path, and that things will get better. We can use our fear of failure or the unknown to work harder, learn smarter, and use the wise people at our disposal.

We can train our brains to think positively, and we can immerse ourselves in positive beliefs. 🕊

It’s definitely not always easy, but it’s absolutely worth it.

And if you’re currently struggling on the business front, this is your sign to stay encouraged…

Because help is here. 💗

Mentorship, coaching, teaching, and community are all a click away inside my Content Transformation System.

I designed this program specifically for the struggling creative entrepreneur hitting walls when building their business.

If you’re ready to get more out of your life by building a powerful digital business through content marketing — a business and marketing plan that DOESN’T suck you dry – The Content Transformation System teaches you EXACTLY how to do just that.

Apply today to get the clarity and support you need to succeed.

About Julia McCoy

Julia McCoy is an entrepreneur, 6x author, and a leading strategist around creating exceptional content and brand presence that lasts online. At 19 years old, in 2011, she used her last $75 to build a 7-figure agency, Express Writers, which she grew to $5M and sold ten years later. In the 2020s, she's devoted to running The Content Hacker, where she teaches creative entrepreneurs the strategy, skills, and systems they need to build a self-sustaining business, so they are finally freed up to create lasting legacy and generational impact.