Times are currently crazy around the world in March 2020 and many are wondering how to stay positive when times are tough.
A pandemic is taking place and affecting people across the world. The health of hundreds of thousands are in jeopardy at the moment with the potential for that number to increase at an alarming rate.
Due to the pandemic, economies around the world are slowing down or coming to a halt. Everyone from large corporations to small businesses are feeling the pain and unfortunately layoffs are happening leading to many financial struggles.
Students are having their education impacted by the pandemic as well. I feel for those high school and college seniors who were supposed to graduate and walk in front of their family and friends.
Hopefully by the time this post reaches you these current problems are resolved.
Maybe you can relate to one of these situations above, or maybe you can relate to times being tough for other reasons. Throughout life, times will be hard and you will be tested to the brink. I’ll help share the 10 best things you can do to stay positive when things get tough.
1. Do Things with Friends and Family
During any dark period of time in your life, look to friends and family to get through it. These are the individuals that know you best, know how to cheer you up and make you laugh, and are most willing to listen.
Spending time with family and friends helps ground you and help you realize what is really important in life. The relationships you have are what makes life great.
2. Find Your Outlet For Happiness and Peace
Everyone has something they do that is therapeutic and brings them happiness and peace. For some, this may be dancing, playing an instrument, or hiking.
Personally, my outlet was playing basketball. It was a sport I grew up with and the court has always been a type of sanctuary that I could go to to get my mind off things.
I’m no all-star basketball player, but the act of shooting around and hearing the ball bounce or going through the net brought me happiness. Think of what you enjoy doing that can offer an outlet for you. By engaging in something you enjoy, your spirits lift up, your mind clears, and stresses decrease in magnitude.
3. Prioritize Your Health
When things are going bad, you don’t want to dig yourself into a deeper hole by neglecting your health.
Being healthy is important for feeling the best you can. You want to at least feel your best when life keeps knocking you down.
Here are 3 areas to focus on for your health:
Saying sleep is important to health might be an understatement. Getting quality sleep is imperative for many functions within the human body and failing to prioritize sleep can quickly have negative rippling effects on your well-being.
When your life is in chaos, it is nearly impossible to fall asleep or get decent rest. I get this and understand it from personal experience. Your thoughts race all night and you just can’t seem to fall asleep.
While easier said than done, you just have to calm your mind and try to get to sleep in any healthy way possible. Most of the time when your thoughts are racing, they are focused on things out of your control.
The next item to highlight on health is diet.
Food is the fuel to your body. Putting the best fuel in your body is important in overcoming the hardships of life because it will give you the energy to persevere.
It is common for people to stress eat when times are tough and eat things such as sweets and junk food. I can relate to this because I have done it as well.
These foods offer short-lived happiness and relief of stress but backfire on you shortly after. The burst of dopamine wears off and the sugar and lack of nutrients leave you feeling worse than you were before.
I have learned through experimentation that making healthy diet choices ends up leaving me feeling better about myself and keeps my energy and motivation levels high.
Exercise is the third part of health to focus on and also third in importance. Sleep and diet are of paramount importance and exercise is a bonus if you can get it in.
Engaging in exercise is known to release hormones and endorphins that raise your energy levels and mood. By exercising, you get your body moving, release hormones and endorphins, and finishing a workout helps you feel that you accomplished and overcame an obstacle.
This feeling of accomplishment can do wonders to your positivity levels when other areas of your life are turbulent. By conquering a workout, it could give you the confidence and motivation to conquer the other obstacles present in your life.
4. Reframe the Negative Events and Stresses as Lessons
This tip here is simple in theory, but definitely hard to execute.
Mindset is everything when life throws its punches at you. Your mindset will determine how you interpret things that happen in your life. One thing can come off as devastating to you or may just be a small bump in the road in your eyes.
A way to help with tough times is to reframe the way you view them. For example, imagine you were laid off from your company due to their decision to downsize their staff.
From one view, you can see this as a negatively life-altering event and allow stress on your career and ability to pay your bills to engulf your thoughts. From another view, you can see this as a time where life is testing you to see how you react. You can accept the layoff and buckle down with laser focus to apply and land another job.
You can view this time as a chance to prove to yourself you are capable of staying resilient and finding a way to make things happen. You know that once you come out on the other side of this layoff you will be a stronger and more skilled person than you were before.
A shift in mindset can make this happen.
It is important to know that mindset is similar to a muscle in the sense that it can be strengthened and it must be exercised to improve. Your mindset will develop over time if you focus on being strong and resilient when life gets in your way.
Over time, things that once devastated you won’t even get a reaction out of you. Your mindset will be too strong and will enable you to deal with things as they come.
5. Control What You Can Control and Forget the Rest
Many things in life are out of your control.
The health of a loved one isn’t something you can fix on your own. Your car being totaled due to someone else’s poor driving isn’t your fault. The company you work for shutting down due to a pandemic isn’t anything you can fix.
Remembering to control what you can control will free your mind from focusing on thoughts and scenarios of things that you have no effect on. Dwelling on what you could have done differently will not benefit you in the scenarios above. They only take up your mental energy and create unneeded stress.
When you find yourself stressed about something, ask yourself “Is this within my control or out of my control?” If the thing is within your control, do what you need to do to make a change.
Examples of things you can control are:
- Your mindset
- The actions you take to solve a problem
- Your diet and health choices
- Who you let into your life and surround yourself with
If the thing you are stressing about is out of your control, just try to forget about it the best you can.
6. Remove Unnecessary Bad News and Stress
Part of staying positive is filtering what you are exposed to.
You want to expose yourself to positivity and productivity when times are tough. They give you a lift and move you in the forward direction.
You don’t want to let in unnecessary bad news and stress. Right now, there is a lot of pain and suffering going on in the world with the pandemic. Watching the news is great for staying informed, but also can be depressing.
Hearing stories and seeing images and videos of the effects are real downers to your morale. It is tough to see what is going on and not feel for those affected. Stay informed on current events, but try to stay away from anything that can bring you down or bring on additional stress in your life.
Focus on exposing yourself to positive content. Maybe you have a show that always keeps you laughing. Maybe you have a favorite YouTube channel you watch or maybe you enjoy a certain genre of books that uplift you.
Trash the things that take away from your morale and mindset and do things that add to it.
7. Move Forward, Even if Only a Little Bit. Just Don’t Move Backward
For this tip, simply do whatever you can to take steps forward in your life. Metaphorically, it can be an inch forward or a mile forward.
It doesn’t matter. Just don’t move backward. Any step forward is a step in the right direction.
Small steps forward can be:
- Reading a chapter from a book that teaches you something
- Refusing to cave in for a bowl of ice cream to cope
- Sending out one job application during unemployment
- Calling your family to say hello
Every day, think of one small thing you can do to move you forward and avoid anything to set you back.
Consistent small steps forward will lead to a large step forward over time.
8. Get Out of Your Normal Living Environment
Sometimes the best thing you can do is to get out of your current environment. If you live in the city, take a trip and get outdoors. Go on a hike or go to the beach. Just find somewhere you can go to get a moment of escape from your problems.
While the problems are still there and need to be tended to, a momentary escape can offer relief of stress and clear your mind. With this refreshening, you can return to your environment with a boost in positivity and energy to do what you need to do to make things better.
9. Try a New Productive Hobby
Finding a new hobby can be a great way to help maneuver through tough times in your life. When things are bad in one area, focusing on a hobby can keep you busy and productive and not focused on stress.
Some hobbies you can pick up include:
- Learning to make music
- Learning a language
- Building things
These hobbies all require the learning and implementation of a skill. As you learn, the improvement you make will be a positive event in your life and that improvement could possibly help you realize you can improve in the area of your life that isn’t going too well.
10. Do Good For Others
Doing good for others should always be on your agenda when you are capable of doing so.
But when you are looking to stay positive, an amazing way to do that is to do good things for others. Everyone out there is going through something.
Some don’t have a job, a home, or even food. Helping someone out is a win-win situation for everyone involved. By helping someone in need, you are bringing something positive into their lives and their reaction and gratefulness will make you feel better as well.
Not only that, but depending on what you are helping someone with, it may help you realize that your current “problems” are not as big of a deal as you might think.
You may have lost your job, but at least you have a house over your head and food to eat. Donating time and resources to fight homelessness and hunger can help you realize that you still have blessings in your life even though you are unemployed for the moment.
Staying positive when things get tough is much easier said than done. Life will throw punches and knock you down in many ways and when you least expect it.
These 10 tips can help you navigate tough times to stay positive and move forward to improve your situation. Try these tips out, and if they help you, share them with others as well.
Everyone can use a bit of a lift out there.
Focus on positivity and focus on what you can control and go out there and make the best of your situation!