When things are going well, it’s easier to stay positive and to get past negative events. But how do we get ourselves out of a negative mindset when life is hard – in other words – when we need our positivity the most?
Even though nobody can be always optimistic, there are strategies that can help you adopt a positive overall mindset even in difficult situations. With a bit of practice, you can build a positive mindset and change your outlook on life.
Assume the best
Negative assumptions are only human; as a defense mechanism, our brain was actually built with a higher sensitivity to negative events to make sure we were prepared to face danger. Today, we no longer need to see a threat in all situations for our survival. Much to the contrary, even though we might sometimes be wrong, assuming good intentions and a good outcome makes us feel better and helps us maintain positivity.
Assuming the best means that you trust things will go well. Especially when things don’t work out as you imagined, faith is key. Try to stay positive and trust everything will turn out well.
Focus on good things
This might sound very straightforward, but we often forget about it when we feel down. I can assure you that something positive can be found in any situation – be it the lessons you learn from hardship. Of course, depending on the situation, it might take time to realize that.
The first step consists in becoming aware of your thoughts. Try to notice your negative thoughts and learn to find a more positive approach.
Practicing gratitude is another easy and efficient way of keeping track of the positives in your life.
If it turns out to be too challenging to find something positive in a difficult situation, try to focus on something completely different: e.g., an event you are looking forward to, your children, nature.
Don’t force optimistic thinking
Adopting a positive mindset doesn’t mean that you should stop yourself from having negative emotions – doing so will only make them come back magnified. Give yourself the time you need to feel your emotions, process them, and eventually learn more about yourself. What is important is to be able to get yourself back up and shift to a more positive attitude afterward.
Have a sense of humor
Humor is such an important asset when it comes to turning negative situations into positive ones. Sometimes, there’s nothing better than a good joke to take the tension out of a situation. Try to be playful and have fun even if the situation doesn’t seem to allow it at first sight.
Laughing will help you release stress and lighten your mood. Most of all, it can help you shift your perspective.
If you really don’t feel like making jokes, a smile (even if it’s faked) can lift you up and have a positive impact on your attitude.
Accepting yourself as you are and where you are is key if you want to adopt a more positive outlook on life. If you wait for certain achievements to happen to be happy, you will probably always be chasing some new goal and missing out on the journey.
Self-acceptance will help you have a more objective image of yourself and reduce your negative self-talk.
The practice of mindfulness is one of the best ways to make space for our emotions. Not only does it allow us to pause and take a step back, but it’s also an opportunity to inquire into ourselves.
No matter if you just take a few deep breaths to calm yourself down or if you sit down for a full meditation session, mindfulness will help you re-center and give you the energy and emotional strength you need during tough times.
Cultivate a positive environment
Our environment has a great impact on how we think and feel.
Are the people around you supportive or do they tend to drag you down? Try to notice which relationships are beneficial and make you feel good. Ideally, you should surround yourself with people having the mindset you are aspiring to.
A location can also greatly influence your mood. If you feel down, a walk through nature or a cup of coffee at your favorite coffee shop can lift you up.
Take care of yourself
Making sure your basic needs are met should always be at the top of your priority list. Again, this might sound obvious, but we often forget about it as parents. It’s much easier to face difficulties when your needs are met and your cup is filled.
Even though we cannot force positivity, seeing things differently and adopting a more positive approach can be practiced. And don’t beat yourself up if you struggle to be optimistic, it’s only human to feel down when going through tough times. Just remember that you can make the choice to move on and try to see your situation in perspective.
How do you handle difficult situations emotionally? Let me know in the comments.