We all face difficult times in life when things don’t go as planned.
You may have lost your job, gone through a breakup, or faced health issues that turned your world upside down.
It’s normal to feel sad, worried, or stressed during these rough patches.
But staying positive is so important for getting through challenges with your spirit intact.
When you’re faced with adversity, it can be hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
Being positive takes effort, but it pays off by boosting your mood and outlook. With practice, you can learn to approach hardships with optimism and grace.
Here are 10 ways to stay positive during challenging times.
1. Reframe the Situation
How you perceive a difficulty makes a huge difference in how you handle it emotionally. Try to reframe the situation in a more positive light.
For example, if you’ve been laid off, instead of dwelling on how terrible it is to lose your job, look at it as an opportunity to pursue a career that excites you more. Reframing it this way empowers you to take action.
2. Express Gratitude
When you’re going through tough times it can feel like everything is bleak. Counteract this by making gratitude a daily habit. Consider keeping a gratitude journal where you write down a few things you’re grateful for every day.
Giving thanks for what you have lifts your spirits and reminds you of the positive things in your life.
Even on your worst days, you can find at least one small thing to appreciate, whether it’s a hot cup of coffee, laughing with a friend, or a colorful sunset.
3. Spread Positivity
While it’s important to take time to process difficult emotions, wallowing in negativity tends to breed more negativity.
Make a conscious effort to project positivity outward. Give someone a genuine compliment, say thanks to the barista at your coffee shop, smile at strangers you pass on the street.
Spreading positivity makes you feel good and releases feel-good hormones like oxytocin and serotonin. And your good vibes are likely to get passed on to others!
4. Lean on Your Support System
You don’t have to go through tough times alone. Turn to your support system of family and friends during challenging periods.
Venting your feelings and frustrations can be cathartic. Your loved ones can provide a listening ear, advice, or just some uplifting company.
If you don’t feel comfortable opening up to friends or family, consider seeing a therapist. Having an objective third party to talk to can help you gain perspective.
5. Take Care of Yourself
Practicing self-care is vital for physical and mental health, especially when you’re going through difficult circumstances. Be gentle with yourself and make time for activities that nourish your spirit.
Go for a walk in nature, take a hot bath, read an inspiring book, listen to uplifting music. Get a massage or pedicure if you can swing it. Feeling your best bolsters positive thinking.
Make sure to eat nutritious meals, avoid too much caffeine and alcohol, and get 7-9 hours of sleep per night. Taking care of your body helps you manage stress better.
6. Find Humor in the Situation
They say laughter is the best medicine for a reason—it releases feel-good endorphins and instantly lifts your mood.
When you’re going through a rough time, look for snippets of humor wherever you can find them.
Watch a funny movie, listen to a comedy podcast, spend time with friends who make you laugh.
Finding the humor in your own difficult situation can also help you cope. When you’re able to step back and recognize the absurdities or ironies, it puts things in perspective.
7. Limit News Intake
The 24/7 news cycle and endless social media updates tend to focus heavily on the negative. During challenging times, consider limiting how much news and social media you consume each day. Constant negativity can increase anxiety and drain your emotional reserves.
Stay informed about current events, but be mindful of only taking in as much news as you can handle. Seek out positive news stories as well to balance out the negative.
8. Engage in Positive Self-Talk
Your internal dialogue has a profound impact on your outlook and emotional state. When dealing with difficulties, make an effort to use positive self-talk instead of listening to the inner critic.
For example, rather than saying “I’m such a failure” if you don’t get the job you wanted, reframe it as “This just wasn’t the right opportunity for me, but I will find the perfect job soon.” Speaking to yourself with kindness and encouragement boosts resilience.
9. Focus on What You Can Control
When times are challenging, it’s easy to fixate on uncertainties and parts of the situation you can’t control, which fuels anxiety and negativity. Instead, try to shift your focus to what you can control.
For example, if your company is going through layoffs, you can’t control whether you’ll lose your job.
But you can control how you prepare for the possibility, such as reaching out to your network or polishing your resume. Taking action is empowering.
10. Look for the Silver Linings
Even the worst situations generally have silver linings if you look hard enough. When you’re going through something difficult, reflect on any positive outcomes, growth, or lessons that have come out of the experience.
Perhaps losing your job led you to a new career that you’re passionate about. Or a health crisis gave you perspective on what’s really important in life.
Seeking the silver linings trains your brain to see the glass as half full.
Challenging times are inevitable in life
While getting through difficulties isn’t always easy, maintaining positivity gives you the strength and mindset to persevere.
Focusing on the good makes the hardships feel more manageable.
Practice self-care, lean on loved ones, find humor, and look for the silver linings.
With time and concerted effort, you can learn to approach obstacles with optimism and grace. And remember, the sun will shine again, brighter than ever before.