I’m guessing every single one of us is currently trying to a) stay positive in general right now and b) stay positive toward something specific that isn’t going our way. Maybe that something is health related in regards to you or a family member. Perhaps it is a financial hardship due to Coronavirus or a work/employment change or concern. It could also be a childcare struggle as a result of schools being closed and educations stalling. Maybe it is something else entirely.
Regardless the struggle is real and you aren’t alone.
I know that I wake up everyday and have a minute or two while my eyes and brain are adjusting that I don’t think about the state of the world. Of course, I shortly remember and then begin another day not as I wish I was. What I’ve found has helped me is remembering the importance of staying positive even when things do not go my way. In our regularly functioning world, everyone goes though periods where things don’t go right or as we would have hoped. What makes right now so incredibly surreal is that things are going wrong for everyone.
When I see people online, on social media, or in life that are currently so consumed by all the stress and negativity around COVID-19, I understand because I, of course, feel that as the dominant feeling at times too. However, I know in my heart that positivity goes a long way even if it has to be faked somewhat. So, let’s find ways to stay positive when things don’t go our way and let’s focus on the positivity shining in the world right now because underneath it all, there is a tremendous amount of it! Below are some tips on how to stay positive when things go wrong…
How To Stay Positive When Things Go Wrong
Maintain a Positive Attitude
This is one of the easiest said yet hardest things to do: maintain a positive attitude when going through a tough time. No matter what life serves up, I believe that everyday is a gift and each day can be approached glass half full or glass half empty. The challenge is to find the optimistic silver lining on the days when we’re in the thick of it. Can you choose to start your day with the mindset that you are going to seize the day? By choosing to seize the day instead of choosing to live in the doldrums or choosing to skate through the day, you can train your brain to maintain a positive attitude.
Focus on the Solution Instead of the Problem
This is a BIG one for me that I find so incredibly helpful! When things go wrong, I try to reframe my mindset to move forward with a positive outlook. I’m generally a pretty positive person but life isn’t always positive so it can be challenging to always remain upbeat. I recommend trying to find a solution to your problem instead of zeroing in on the problem itself. It takes a lot of emotional strength and emotional intelligence to do this but, more than anything, it will help you create a positive mental attitude and help you get out of a negative situation with an action plan in place. I’m trying to get better at this one!
Avoid Negative Self Talk
A big piece of advice to stay positive that I’d offer up is to cast aside negative thoughts and negative self talk. Focus on the positive thoughts you can muster up instead of the negative ones to reframe your mindset! In my opinion, negative self talk doesn’t serve anyone because there is no good that comes from tearing ourselves down. So, instead, think about what you did right or what you can do in the future to create a space where things do hopefully go your way.
Believe in Yourself
We should all be our biggest fans and our #1 advocates. I can’t tell you how empowering it is to believe in yourself and be your own best advocate. Avoiding negative self talk is the first step. Then you can find ways to believe in yourself and recognize that you can and will get through life when it doesn’t go your way and you can and will find a solution.
Cut Yourself Some Slack
While it’s incredibly important and empowering to believe in yourself, it is just as important and empowering to cut yourself some slack. Sometimes being your biggest advocate is knowing when you need a break and giving yourself the grace to take that break. Take a nap, allow yourself a time out from work emails, don’t sweat the laundry not getting done, find an easy solution for dinner, let your kids entertain themselves, accept help from others, the list goes on.
Tackle One Task at a Time
This tip really breaks down to the idea of putting one foot in front of the other. If you’re looking for a concrete way on how to stay positive when things go wrong, then this tip is for you. It can be mentally challenging to get going on improving your circumstances and outlook so I suggest focusing on one task at a time, completing that task, and then doing that again. You’ll be surprised at how quickly and successfully you can make progress when you work on ticking one thing off your list at a time. This will also help you tune out negative self talk, doubt, and fear.
Focus on What you Can Control
A powerful quote that always sticks with me is “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” From this, I take the knowledge that I can’t control everything so it’s powerful to let that notion go. Focus on the small things you actually can control and you’ll go far in turning around your circumstances.
Know that You’re Not Alone
The truth of the matter is that everyone bears a burden. Our current Coronavirus situation is strange because many of people’s burdens are more public than they normally would be. Practice mindfulness and remember that you’re not alone. You aren’t the only person to have things go wrong right now or ever. The human spirit is strong. Lean on those around you for support because, chances are, they’ve been there or are there and can share some advice or use the supportive shoulder too.
Channel Positivity and Good into the World
We all know the phrase, “you get what you give.” Well, I like to focus on this mindset when things don’t go my way. A surefire way to make yourself feel better is to put some good out into the world. Call a friend you know also needs a pick-me-up, volunteer, donate, help a neighbor, lend out a book, drop off a meal to new parents, write your grandparents a letter. Good wins out over evil every time so cultivate a positive happy life by raising up those around you and creating a positive environment in which to live. Putting good into the world will have a huge affect on your mindset and outlook!
Let Hope Lift You up instead of Letting Fear Hold you down
Fear can be paralyzing but hope is more powerful. This is a bit of an intangible tip but a rewarding one to keep at the forefront of your mind. There is so much in life we can’t control, so much opportunity for unforeseen change, so many big and small accidents, and overall so many fear inducing things. However, it’s so unhealthy to live in the fear. In contrast, I try to remember to maintain a positive attitude, believe in yourself, take one task at a time, focus on what you can’t control, know you’re not alone, put out good, accept the unknowns, and lean into challenges. Hope will win out!
Get Exercise and Get Outside
There’s no denying that research shows that getting exercise, getting outside, and getting a change of scenery can promote positivity in life and serve as a mood booster. Have you ever not felt better after getting some vitamin D, after going for a walk outside, or after getting an exercise class in? I doubt it! Bring a friend on our outdoor or exercise-filled outing to improve the rest of your day. During COVID-19, try social distancing while taking a walk outside, enjoying outdoor space at your home if possible, or streaming a workout class outside at home if it’s an option.
Create Gratitude Lists
This is such a simple tip that goes a long way: practice gratitude. There are lots of ways you can practice gratitude including creating gratitude lists, giving up prayers of gratitude, and stopping a friend or family member to tell them how you are grateful for them.
Find Upbeat Outlets
When all else fails, find upbeat outlets to give your mind an escape! I love tossing on funny movies, listening to inspiring podcasts, and playing happy music. You can’t go wrong with anything that brings a smile to your face!
If you liked this post and want to browse more posts along these lines, then check out How to Stay Positive When your Significant Other Travels for Work // How to Get Out of your Own Head // Lessons I Learned in 2019.
Photography by Edwin Eversole