How To Stay Positive When Life Is Giving You a Hard Time
Life happens. Some days are great and some days really suck, and the rest is somewhere in between. It’s easy to be smiling when the days are great. But you may be wondering, how to stay positive when life is giving you a hard time?
What does usually throw you off?
We all have certain triggers. It may be the morning sardine-like squeeze on public transports (sometimes with the additional elbow or armpit in your face) or perhaps the obnoxious colleague at work that just rubs their awesomeness (not) in everybody’s face. Most of the time it’s irritations like these that get us in a bad mood.
But, sometimes life is beating us like Conor McGregor, hard punches coming out of nowhere, one after another. You think; Damn, I’m on the ground already, what more do you want?
How to stay positive through this?
Positivity doesn’t start when sh*t hits the fan.
Trying to be positive when you’re angry is like drinking green juice when you’re down with a flue. Good effort. A little too late though.
Let’s talk about positivity a bit.
A positive attitude has more impact on the quality of your life than you think. It’s probably one of the most important factors.
Positivity is mental fitness.
Think of positivity as physical fitness.
If you want to be fit, you need to exercise, regularly.
The more fit you want to be the more often and the harder you need to work out. If you’ve tried that once-a-week-gym you know it did nothing to your love handles.
Practising being positive here and there will make very little change.
Below are the foundation blocks of positivity. Start there.
How to stay positive – Focus
Unless you reached a Jedi Master meditation level, your mind wants to compulsively think about something and solve problems. That’s what it’s supposed to do.
If you don’t give it something to focus on, it will find something. Since it wants to be solving problems, it will look for what? Problems. And there is never a shortage of problems around you. Problems are always in season and in bulk discount if you go shopping for them.
What you give attention to… grows bigger.
Think of your attention as water and the happening around you as a garden. If you focus on/water the weed (the stuff you don’t want there), it will get stronger and grow. But if you focus on/water your trees and flowers they will grow. It really is that simple. The more you think about something, the more space it takes up in your mind.
So to practice positivity, always look for the bright side in things.
Always try to find a positive angle to your situation regardless of what it is.
It doesn’t mean that you take the situation lightly, it just means that you won’t be stressing out while you’re resolving it.
When you change the way you look at things,
the things you look at change.
How to stay positive – Self-talk
Did you know that your self-talk triggers up to 95% of your emotions? If you don’t believe me, pay attention to it for a day. When you’re having a great day, I guarantee you your inner voice goes on about all the great things around you and all the wonderful things about you. It cheers you up, of course. You’re having a great day.
When you’re in a bad mood, without fail, your inner voice will be ranting about everything that is wrong with the world, how unfair and hard it is, and that you’re not good enough (or something to that extent).
Do you see a pattern there?
Positive inner talk is closely related to your focus.
Sometimes you’ll need to give it a bit of momentum.
Focus on what’s positive, and you’ll be chattering about all the good things.
Speaking is not a hard thing to do. You do it all the time.
Build a habit of talking (out loud or in your mind) about the nice, happy, pleasant, and wonderful things in your life. There are loads!! Remember, what you say has a massive impact on your emotions. Talking is a small price to pay for feeling happy.
How to stay positive – Feeding YOUR mind
If you want to stay physically healthy, you will eat healthy and nutritious food, not fried junk food.
Mind health is not any different.
What is your mental diet?
What are you feeding your mind with on a daily basis?
Is it healthy or poisoning your mind?
I have a great and somewhat radical tip for you:
Stop watching the news and reading newspapers.
Yea I know, it’s good to know what’s going on in the world, I get it.
But if you pay attention, most (not all) news are hijacking our innate and fundamental drive; attention to danger. Most news is about what is wrong with the world or the economy, who got mugged and what is the most recent scandal. Why do you need to know that?
Hand on the heart, have you used any of that information in any useful way to make your or someone else’s life better?
While I’m not undermining honest reporting of the news, what people forget is that it’s not a balanced representation of what’s going on int he world. There are so many wonderful things happening all the time. How often do you hear about that? Sometimes. Certainly not in the right proportion.
It then leaves us feeling like the world is a dangerous place where awful things keep happening. It primes your mind to be on defence, fearful, and think in scarcity mode. #negativity
All the scandals and bad news are a bit like metal candy. We get a little adrenaline rush when we consume it, and it keeps us coming for more. But we all know that candy is not good for our health.
Feed your mind with positive and healthy stuff.
To start easy, why don’t you check out TED or TEDx talks. There are some talks and presentations that will just blow your mind. It’s so amazing to see what other people have accomplished, discovered, or created. Things like this can actually ignite that fire in you to dust off your old hobbies or get the courage to pursue what you’ve been thinking about for so long. It may help you discover what to do next with your life (if that’s what you’re looking for).
Purely for inspiration and positivity, look up motivational videos on Youtube. If you start your day with something like that, it will have a profound difference.
Here are some suggestions:
Read! Whatever your passion or interest is, there are more books about it than you can ever read.
One of my clients started a new habit of getting up 30 minutes earlier every day to spend it by reading or listening audiobooks while sipping her morning tea, instead of sleeping in and then rushing to work. She told me it has had quite a remarkable impact on her day. Spending the time reading in the morning something she enjoys makes her feel better about herself, happier and more positive. This then snowballs into how she interacts with her staff, which affects how they interact with her and so on. All that just from spending time on something that makes her feel more positive.
How to stay positive – People, oh people.
All you need to know about this is in the recent article: 10 Ways To Be Less Negative And Less Judgemental
All the above is great, and if you practice it, it will help you develop a more positive mindset which will then create positive emotions.
This is of the most important skills you can develop. Trust me, it changed my life.
I’d love to share with you more emergency HOW-TO tips for the times when sh*t hits the fan, but this article is getting a bit too long. So if you’d like that, leave me a comment below. You can even share a specific situation that wipes the smile of your face or blows your fuse right off. Maybe I’ll be able to it as an example for how to apply some of the strategies.
Thank you for reading.
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