I need tips from you seasoned pros. How do you all deal with life's serious challenges?

Relatively recent convert here ( 6 months ago) and I am still in the post- break-up somewhat- disoriented phase. My life has a few very trying situations, which in the past would have turned me toward asking for divine assistance.

I abandoned my belief in God because I just could not justify the problems of suffering with a loving, caring and omnipotent God.

My most current version of God was formed by 12 step group think ( 18 and a half years of it) ie, the everything happens for a reason, let go and let god variety...

I realized that that is basically bullshit in the face of certain life events that are clearly not for my benefit...and I refuse to believe that "character development" was the purpose for the loss.

In any case, please share with me how yo cope with prolonged stress, and other "threatening" feelings and events. I'm afraid I am floundering at times.

Thanks in advance!

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1. I meditate (deep breathing, focused relaxation, not the spiritualist bunk)
2. I believe that there is solution for every problem and follow these steps:

a) Take things one step at a time. Trying to resolve too many issues at once can burn you out.
b) Break the big things down into little things. This makes things managable.
c) Determine which little things are a reflection of a core issue that if resolved would result in the resolution of other issues as a byproduct.
d) Focus on coming up with solutions to the core issues.

Not every solution is straightforward, sometimes you have to come in through the back door so to speak but there's a way around each and every hurdle.

You just have to find it using creative problem solving.

Actively working on resolving issues, relieves stress, in and of itself.

Don't be afraid to consult with others more experienced and or ask for help if it's available to you.

Make sure you have some fun as well.

It's all part of taking care of yourself and your needs and there's nothing wrong with that.

Taking care of yourself and your needs enables you to be in a position to help others.

Hope this helps.

Good luck to you and Happy New Year 2010.
The "divine assistance" you were seeking before was really you all along, not some imaginary sky king. You were just giving him the credit you deserved for working out those earlier problems anyway. (And maybe blaming yourself if it didn't work out.) Realize now that you've always had the ability to face life's challenges and take them on knowing you'll work through them. You always have.

Welcome to A/N and have a Great New Year!
I have to agree with Dave 100%. Remember, you have already succeeded in getting through so much on your own. Just be your own little engine that could now and remind yourself that you CAN. I personally try to think of the WORST case scenario in any situation. If that ends up with you on your feet and well, then you're ok. Good luck and welcome to the family.
Wow. I'm a relative newbie too. How long do you need to be an atheist before you're NOT afraid to say things like, "imaginary sky king" ? Does blasphemy exist for atheists? And is it considered blasphemy?

ETA: I bet this reply/question is gonna get buried. I didn't realize there were so many pages in this particular discussion. Oh well, I can always post it again, some other time and/or place.
Hey Deb, I'm not certain that I understand your question. Are you asking your fellow unbelievers if blasphemy exists? I suppose I can speak for everyone when I say "the more blasphemy the better" (as long as you don't get yourself into trouble). :)

If you're asking how long it takes before you will stop having doubts about the existence of gods, well no one can tell you that. Hang around here and it shouldn't be too long!
Thank you so much for the thoughts so far. Keep em coming...I am drinking it in!

And I agree with everything that has been said.

'the truth shall set you free"
Man makes his own purpose in life. Creationists simply externalize that purpose onto a higher being, and consider themselves to be the deity's purpose.

Make goals. Work towards them. I don't think just "be happy" is enough for me, but it may work for you. Find friends to talk to, failing that, a therapist.

T.A Has an excellent point, EXERCISE!!! The body is evolved to move, baby, move! Endorphins and general levels of neurochemicals are released and healthy levels maintained through healthy diet and exercise. Happiness isn't hocus pocus, it is directly tied to your physical well being.
Right on!!! Healthy is happy! Endorphins give you the best high ever!
Hello Kim,

I see a lot of good general ideas and suggestions – and I can offer mine as well… It has always helped me to fully embrace reality. You can’t fight what is. Not only “accept” what is, but love what is. Do you think something “should” be different? Well, it can’t “should” be different; it “should” be just as it is – the proof of which is that it is the way it is. Now if you still want it to be different, is it something you have any control over? If so, great, see what you can do to change it, but you have to accept it as it is first. But if it is something you have no control over, you really need to just accept it and move on. Also, it’s trite but it sure works for me to always know: “don’t sweat the small stuff… and it’s all small stuff.” (I don’t know who said that – some self-help author.)

But also Kim, we are all offering our ideas on generalities. I think it helps a lot to discuss specifics if you’d care to share… what’s an example?
Hobbies, man - hobbies. Passion. Personally I read, fiction and non-fiction and I get more satisfaction that act than I ever had when I was a younger man praying to whatever god 'd decided to worship that year. I also play video games and run around in my yard with a practice saber...

I have absolutely none of the problems you mention currently, though. I experienced such things on my path out of religious belief, but once I was out I was out. It really takes a certain attitude and, for me, a certain amount of pride. I am FAR too proud to ask for divine assistance in anything, even when faced with death (never felt more free and proud of myself than when remembering near death experiences that I stood fast against with not even a thought of god). Just because shit is going down doesn't mean you have to revert to sheep mode. Just remember how shitty you would feel about yourself later after whatever crisis or emotional problems are gone and you remember how you allowed your self to beg a non-existence for help. Hehe.

Yeah, 'm sure that helped none. :D
When I was a LOT younger I used to backpack in the High Sierra. There were times when I had to climb two or three thousand feet to get over a pass or a ridge. The technigue I developed was to take my mind OFF the task at hand, lean forward, and just keep putting one foot in front of the other, trudging if you will, and in time the task was completed. I've adopted the same attitude in the problems I've encountered in my personal life, just lean forward and keep trudging, eventually I get past it it. If that does not work for you then find some way to get into counseling, those people have dealt with problems similar to your's many times.
Hi Kim,

Just a couple of comments to add to what has already been said.
1> A few options have been proposed. Not all of them will be right for you, but some might be. Use a variation on the scientific method to discover what works for you.
2> Religion thrives in the areas of dealing with significant moments (just look at the way it insists on being present at births, coming of ages, marriages & death!) when you are feeling stressed remember that many of the 'things' that religion does can be decoupled from any theology. So for example instead of going to a prayer meeting and having everyone pray for you, go and have a chat with a close friend, its similar, but non-religious.

M.

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