Wondering how to stay positive in difficult times? Facing some negative or difficult situations and want to keep positive all the way through? No sweat. There are 7 powerfl techniques you can use.
When I was a little plump-faced young lad, I hid myself away in my bedroom. I buried myself in art and literature in order to escape. I escaped my parents arguing. I escaped my father’s drinking. I escaped my bullies—I had a lot of them during my teen years.
But escape was never the right answer.
Running away from a situation rarely achieves anything.
In hindsight, I wish I had confronted negative situations in my life with a positive attitude. Positivity melts negativity like butter in a pan.
I’ve changed since then. Now I’ve armed myself with a fuel tank full of positivity.
Whenever anyone is negative around me, I take it as a challenge not just to stay positive myself, but to make the negative person feel positive too.
I like to think of myself as a positivity warrior now.
Here are seven tricks I’ve learnt, seven ways how to stay positive in difficult times.
How to stay positive in difficult times
1: Meditate daily
If you’re truly going to conquer negative situations, you’re going to need inner peace and calm.
It’s too easy to let yourself get angry or upset when negative situations arise.
By meditating daily you can ensure that you’re always starting out on the right foot. You can make sure that your baseline is calm and positive. That way you’re more equipped to deal with negative situations when they occur.
But what meditation technique should you do?
Take a look at my guide to the different types of meditation. I’ll help you find the right technique for you. Try it After all, it was only thanks to meditation that I personally learned how to stop feeling empty when everything goes wrong.
2: Tell yourself the moment will pass
So you’re going through a difficult time. And you’re struggling to stay positive. Take the heat off yourself. Remind yourself the moment will pass.
Life is like a journey on which you take many paths. Some paths are easy to tread, they’re joyous, they’re enjoyable. Others are harder. But the difficult paths you cross will lead you towards another positive path. When something negative happens, tell yourself “It’s just a moment. It’ll pass”.
When my father past away last year I was deeply upset. This was one time when I truly needed to know how to stay positive in difficult times. I got through by thinking positive. I told myself, “This time will pass, and soon I’ll look back on my father with love and pride”.
3: Take it as a challenge
Hands up who likes a good challenge? I know I do.
Negative situations are now one of my favourite challenges. Every time something negative happens, I tell myself, “This is a test of my positivity”. That challenge then gives you the motivation to stay positive.
And don’t forget that your negativity might be trying to tell you something. One of the ways to use negative energy is to realise that your negativity might be trying to tell you something. What is your negativity trying to tell you?
4: I get by with a little help from my friends
I count myself lucky to have some absolutely amazing friends. Take November 2013, for example. At that time I had an incident in which I passed out and was rushed to hospital.
It was a scary time. I’d been totally fine, and I hadn’t had anything to drink or anything like that. So suddenly passing out and waking up in an ambulance was terrifying. But there was my very good friend Vince. Vince is an amazing guy, the type of guy who’s there for everyone. He rode in the ambulance with me, stayed in the hospital with me, and when I was let go, he took me out for a meal. Damn good friend.
One of the things I’ve learnt with age is that when you ask people for help they are genuinely pleased to help you. You’re not being a burden. You’re not irritating anyone. People love to help. Being kind makes people happy. Heck, personally there are very few things in life that make me happier than helping a friend. When you’re facing a negative time, let your friends be there for you.
Another great way to stay positive is to focus on someone else’s problems. Help someone else instead. Take a look at my guides to helping someone with depression and helping someone with anxiety. And trust me, when you help someone else you will feel a million times better.
5: It sucks, but it probably isn’t that bad
The probable reality of every bad situation is this: it isn’t that bad.
I’ve been through a lot of rough times in my life (my father dying, going through depression, immigrating…). When those things were happening they seemed awful. But in hindsight, they weren’t that bad.
Sometimes the mind goes crazy on you and your imagination blows things out of proportion.
Remember to reign your imagination in.
Things probably are not as bad as they seem. You’re going to get through. Good times will come again. Let’s keep everything in perspective.
This is particularly true when you’re dealing with other people.
Are you upset because of something someone else has done? Did you expect too much from them? If so, know this; If you stop expecting too much you will probably be happier.
6: Stay in the moment
One of the best ways how to stay positive in difficult times is by being mindful. Stay in the moment. And whatever you do, don’t sink into your own head.
Mindfulness is a powerful way of relieving stress and anxiety. When you focus your mind on the present moment you immediately nullify negative feelings and emotions. It takes a little practice, but you can learn to be mindful relatively quickly. You can read my premium guide to mindfulness to learn all you need to know.
7: Do something fun, because to hell with negativity
Another great way how to stay positive in difficult times is by forcing yourself to have fun.
When you’re in a negative situation the last thing you feel like doing is singing, dancing, goofing around, or laughing. But if you can just get yourself to have a little fun for five minutes you’ll escape the negative mindset.
Laugh. Love. Sing. Dance. Do something fun for just a few moments. Then the negativity is gone.
Back in 2012 I was told I’d had a heart attack. Turns out the doctor was way off and actually my heart was completely fine. But at the time I was very stressed. I dealt with the stress with laughter. I watched every comedy I could get my hands on. Laughing gave me release. And all I had to do was watch a few movies.
Negative situations come and go. Every cloud… Honestly, I promise you, one day you’ll look back on the negativity and realise it made you stronger.
I hope this list helps you to stay positive through whatever you are going through.
I thought it might help if I made an infographic you can print out (or you can share it on your own blog and on social media).
The 7 things I do when life sucks too much
1. When life sucks I breathe into my heart space.
I roll my shoulders and stretch myself out. Then, I force myself to inhale deeply. While inhaling deeply I focus my mind on the sensation of my breath entering my body. I allow the oxygen to stir inside of me, and while I’m breathing deep I imagine all that negativity, all that trash emptying out of me, and positivity, fresh life, coming in.
2: When life sucks I sing like I mean it
I sing. But I don’t just half assedly hum along, no no. I sing like I really really mean it. I’ll be driving through town. They’ll be some guy revving his engine and blaring out heavy metal while scowling at everyone. That’s when I love to turn my stereo on and sing my heart out. And I also like to wave at the metal head guy. Because I want to see if I can make him laugh or smile. And sometimes I do. Sometimes I do. And that moment, that moment of seeing the grunge-loving man smiling like a little kid; that’s a moment I’ll never forget.
3: When life sucks I Laugh
Do you know how hard it is to stay unhappy while you’re laughing. Laughter shines a bright light inside and tears through the shadows like a katana through paper. Lughter is an expression of pure positivity. It dissolves negativity like salt under boiling water.
4:When life sucks I express gratitude
Even at the darkest of times there are plenty of leaves in the trees and birds singing all around. There is always something to be thankful for. At dark time I like to seek out the light interwoven among the shade, the positive among the negative, and having found it, I express thanks for it. If you think life sucks right now, it can only be because life has been better previously right?
Dark reveals light, and for that at least I can be thankful for the bad times, because they make the line shine that much brighter. If you need some ideas of things to be thankful for, try this list of 101 things to be grateful for.
5: When life sucks I creatively express the pain
There’s a pain at the heart of all creativity. The great artists are usually the tortured ones. Pain is like oil in the engine of the creative brain. Pain yearns to come out through art, whether it’s the tortured voice of Silvia Plath, the melancholy of Van Gogh, or the agonised spirit of Mozart’s final works, pain has long been at the heart of the world’s greatest artworks. When you feel the pain, allow it to come seeping through your pores and onto the page or screen. And for the full cathartic experience, indulge in some true art therapy.
6: When life sucks I Eat
Food. Yum. I have to admit I don’t mind comfort eating from time to time. I’m reasonably healthy, so why not indulge in yummy food occasionally? And I do find that cooking offers powerful purgation. There’s just something about being in the kitchen with a ton of different ingredients around, and then creatively working those ingredients into something vaguely resembling food. I call it my Zen Cooking Time.
7: When life sucks I snuggle cats and other pets
Animal therapy really is amazing. Researchers have scientifically proven that pets cure stress. To be honest I don’t know why they had to scientifically prove that. Cuddling cats is proof in itself, surely. I’ll also snuggle family and friends. If I’m upset and you’re around I quite probably will snuggle you, so there, you’ve been warned. Snuggling is one of life’s best comforts. Find someone you love and snug away.
Thanks for reading.
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