Let’s face it.
Life is hard. It can get unfair and sometimes too dark for us to handle.
During these times, we are presented with two options and we can only choose one. Either we succumb to the situation or rise above it.
If we let it defeat us, we miss the chance of a better future. But if we choose to see the silver lining, we will have hope that everything will be better one day.
I know that staying positive is easier said than done.
But even a tiny streak of optimism will help carry us through life’s challenges.
Here are 12 secrets to staying positive even when things are rough:
1. Always try to find an optimistic viewpoint in a negative situation.
Positivity starts with positive thoughts. It is one of the simplest but most effective ways to build a more positive outlook.
When you are bombarded with negativity, process the thoughts and feelings that arise in the situation first. Next, ask yourself what is one thing that is positive or good about this situation?
Can you find even one opportunity within the situation? Thinking about the good that can come out of it is better than beating yourself because you think you sucked.
2. Cultivate a positive environment.
Negativity sucks your energy. But the good news is that being positive is contagious.
So be careful who you spend time with. Further, you have to be wary of the input you get from TV, the internet and magazines because they all will have a huge effect on your outlook.
To cultivate a positive environment, you must have influences in your life that lift you up instead of dragging you down. Take the time to think about the most negative sources of information you spend time on and how you can lessen the interaction.
Focus on spending time with positive sources or people in your life.
3. Step back and go slowly.
When you think, talk, eat and move carelessly and quickly, it will create more problems for you. Remember, haste is waste.
Additionally, stress will build up and negative thoughts start to well up.
On the other hand, slowing down will make your mind and body calm down too. It is much easier to think things through clearly when you are relaxed.
The next time you are bombarded with negative thoughts, take a step back from the hustle-bustle to find-the-optimistic perspective.
4. Don’t exaggerate a small issue.
It’s very easy to be pessimistic. When we do, a molehill can become a big and terrifying mountain in our mind.
To avoid this, you have to stop your mind as soon as thoughts of this kind start to spin in your head. Breathe and refocus to get a more grounded perspective on the situation.
Widen your perspective and chill out: Learn to let go of the little things that don’t matter.
5. Add positivity to someone else’s life.
The law of karma states that what you send out will return to you. When you give positivity to the people around you, you will receive positivity in return.
Be careful about what you give and how you treat people.
What you give them and how you treat them is what you’ll get back. Try to think about the good in others because how you think of them tends to have a big effect on how you view yourself.
There are so many ways to show positive behavior, such as:
Giving a friend a ride in your car.
Helping someone look for information online.
Listening to people’s problems.
Giving hugs when needed.
Or you can encourage someone who has had a bad day.
6. Practice a healthy lifestyle.
A healthy lifestyle starts with good night’s sleep, nutritious foods, and exercise.
Your lifestyle has a direct impact on your mood. Have you noticed you get irritated easily when you lack sleep? Yes, that’s right.
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Moreover, you can think clearly when you are not thinking about your hunger. So this may sound boring, but a healthy lifestyle is essential for a positive outlook in life.
(Buddhism has an incredible amount to teach us about healthy living. In our new eBook, we use iconic Buddhist teachings to provide no-nonsense suggestions for living a better life. Check it out here).
7. Learn to take criticism objectively.
The fear of criticism can hold you back from doing what you want in life.
Yes, criticism can sting quite a bit. But if you look at it as a way to improve yourself, then you have used it for your own good.
The key here is to learn how to handle criticism objectively. Do not let it stop you from doing the things you like.
Calm down a bit before you reply to the one criticizing you. Take at least a couple of deep breaths and process the message before you respond.
Try to keep an open mind and listen. Figure out how criticism can help you.
Remember that the criticism isn’t always about you. If taken objectively, they can help you become a better person.
However, if you really think that you are being criticized for no reason at all, try to be understanding. Maybe the person lashing out the criticisms is not feeling so good at the moment.
The most important thing is to reply to criticism in a level-headed and kind manner. Learn to let go and avoid holding a grudge for your peace of mind.
8. Start your day positively.
When you wake up on the wrong side of the bed, it will be a precedent of how your day goes. Simply put, how you start sets the tone for the rest of your day.
So be careful about how you spend your mornings. Take the time to meditate and organize your day for a more productive workflow.
If you start your morning with stressful thoughts, negativity will ramp up quickly.
9. Practice mindfulness throughout your day.
When you practice mindfulness, it becomes so much easier to access positive emotions.
Practice to mindfully stay in the moment you are in. Always put your full attention on what is going on around you right now.
Feeling and reconnecting with the present moment can have a very positive effect on the rest of your day.
(The daily application of mindfulness can dramatically improve your health and wellbeing. Check out our new, no-nonsense guide to mindfulness here).
10. Always focus on the good things.
There is no perfect day. Every day, we are going to encounter obstacles.
However, you can train your mind to focus on the good things, no matter how small or unimportant they seem.
For example, if you get stuck in traffic, think about how being stuck in it can give you more time to listen to your favorite radio station.
Or if the store is out of the food you want to prepare, think about the thrill of trying a new recipe. The point here is to focus on the benefit, and not on the problem.
11. Find humor in bad situations.
Allow yourself to find humor in bad situations. When you experience difficult times, remind yourself that it will not last.
It will make for a good story later. Cracking a joke about the bad situation you are in will lighten up the mood and help you focus on the brighter side.
12. Think of problems as opportunities.
All of us have problems. But what differentiates a positive person from a pessimist is how the former approach the difficulties.
Say you got a bad boss, think of it as a way to exercise your ability to manage up. If you have a lot on your plate, remind yourself it’s an opportunity to develop efficiency.
Stop describing your problems as “nightmares”. Instead, look at it as an interesting challenge.
Here’s the next step…
The “power of positive thinking” is a concept that people from all around the world are familiar with.
For some, it can feel a little cliché. But for those who have embraced positive thinking, they will tell you it works.
Truly, we are all capable of being a positive person. We just need to start believing and practicing it.
And the sooner we do, the greater the benefits we’ll realize.
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