Staying positive during difficult times is a process of personal discovery. At any time and without warning, life can become difficult. The most powerful thing we all have is our minds. It can alter our mood by the thoughts we entertain. The thought that is at the driver seat of our mind can determine our positive or negative outlook. When we focus on positive or negative thoughts, our body reacts to it. Negative thoughts such as fear, anxiety, and despair can paralyze us into the abyss where there is no hope left. Positive thoughts such as being grateful, confident, and cheerful… can give us hope. The challenge is to recognize the thoughts that we entertain and control them to promote positive thoughts.
The lesson with every difficult challenge
Keep in mind that there is a lesson with every difficult challenge that comes our way. When difficulties arise, it is important to maintain a positive outlook when overcoming these challenges. Difficult challenges come in many forms; may it be a loss of a job, an illness, the death of loved ones, or an uncertain future. One of these challenges occurred in 2008 when a declining economy led to many job losses. Some people went weeks, months, and even years before finding a job.
During difficult times like in 2008, the positive thought to keep in mind is that this condition is temporary and other opportunities will come. Other difficulties arise when illnesses, such as cancer, stroke. Many individuals associate these illnesses with death. However, it is important to learn to live in the present and to remember that each day is a gift regardless of any illnesses. It is important to keep in mind that we all are temporary on this earth and that death is a natural part of life. This can help you be grateful for the time that was spent with loved ones. The future is unknown, so we must imagine it in a positive light.
Change The Negative Thoughts
In order to stay positive in difficult times, one must be willing to change their negative thoughts. This is an ongoing process of continuously discovering oneself. There are several ways to change our thoughts. We have to fight our negative thoughts on a daily basis to keep them at bay. Keep in mind that with each new day comes new opportunities to control our thoughts. Beware of the things that you can and cannot control. Believe in a higher power than yourself. Think of the serenity prayer: “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference…” (The Serenity Prayer)
Start changing things that you can control in your life
Balance is the key to a happy life. Exercise and eating healthy every day can help. Twenty minutes of daily exercise releases endorphins while reducing active hormones such as adrenaline, which promotes feelings of anxiety and stress. Endorphins are natural mood boosters that improve positive outlook and gratification.
Regular exercise and eating healthy can help you achieve a happier state of mind. If exercise is not doable, the other option can be to practice meditation.
Another activity that can help positivity is writing. Write all your thoughts on a piece of paper. If the thought is negative, write next to that thought the worst thing that can happen as a result of that thought. Once the negative thought is written, acknowledge the fear/anxiety and try to find a solution in a positive manner. There is some truth to the phrase “What doesn’t kill you will make you stronger.” After writing the negative thoughts, start writing what you are grateful for each day and surround yourself with things that you enjoy. Volunteer if you can, spend time with loved ones, and by doing these things you will learn to appreciate the things you already have.
Staying positive in difficult times can be hard but it is an ever-evolving process of self-awareness and the realization that the difficult times are temporary in nature. The Japanese proverb “Fall down seven times, get up eight” can be a useful motto to deter negativity. An article on the blog ‘A Presentation Zen’ gives great insight to this type of thinking: “There are no quick fixes in life and anything of real worth will necessarily take much struggle and perseverance. Success does not have to be fast-what’s more important is that one simply does their absolute best and remains persistent.” (Presentation Zen)
Good luck on changing your outlook, and remember, the way you feel is up to you!