CERTAIN seasons lend themselves to reflection and an appreciation of the impact different people and experiences have had upon our lives.

At certain times we may feel it’s appropriate to remember an anniversary, an important relationship that ran its course or a crucial crossroads that was reached due to age, health or financial reasons.

Autumn is an ideal time to reflect on those unplanned or enforced events as being significant stepping-stones and defining moments in our lives.

- Identify the positive lessons learned from dealing with life-changing upheaval and loss. After the diverse emotions, the loneliness, anger, frustration, ‘why me’, and ultimately grief can come an appreciation of the insights gained from those times.

- Value the people who offered support. Tough times teach us who our real friends are. We discover those who stick with us through the tears and sleepless nights, but also those whom we trust to tell us ‘enough’ when necessary.

- Some people find comfort through charity work, volunteering or setting up funding campaigns, so remembering their lost family member, friend or post-recovery from a health or lifestyle crisis. Wanting to help, share or give something back can be an integral part of the healing process.

- Acknowledge the strength and resilience you found to survive those difficult times. You’ve recovered, maybe a little battered and bruised, but having learned a lot too. Turn those testing times around by treating them as character-building, insight-giving. You’ll become kinder both to yourself and to others when you understand how it feels to have experienced grief, loss or unwanted, unwelcome changes to your life and circumstances.

- Is it time to relocate, move home, review your career, expand your social circle, start afresh? It’s not unusual for tough times to provide the impetus for you to reconsider your options. And you may even look back and remember this as the date when your new life really started. No need for hasty decisions though, maybe taking a few months and beginning with a house-share, renting or living in a mutually supportive environment.

- Make your present a tribute to your past life or relationships by honouring those memories and their significance. Taking positive action helps you to heal, use your time and energy constructively, enabling you to move forward in a fulfilling, rewarding way.

And remember, today’s not a dress rehearsal!