How To Stay Positive When Life Challenges You
Isn’t it annoying when people say “Focus On The Positive” when things just aren’t going to plan in life? And, the older we get, seems the more we have to deal with…!
To the people saying it, it’s often just something that they feel compelled to say to diffuse an awkward moment. That’s not to say they aren’t genuinely concerned about you, but it’s kinda stating the obvious!
It’s perfectly natural to have negative thoughts.
Our human brains are so complex that we don’t just react in a primitive way like an animal would in survival mode. We internalize things, dwell on them, and are aware of the consequences. And unlike animals, we feel sorry for ourselves…also perfectly natural.
But because our brain functions this way, we can become our own worst enemy.
While it’s easy to say ‘focus on the positive’ and you’ll be happier, actually putting it into practice can be difficult. It may even seem insurmountable when you face certain challenges and it’s really important not to beat yourself up, or feel guilty for feeling unhappy or distressed.
But, there’s no doubt that if you can try to find the positive in whatever you’re going through, it will help you feel less stressed. You may even come up with a few useful solutions to the problem you’re facing.
Take The Time To Think Things Through Calmly Without Panicking.
Rather than what we commonly do when faced with a bad situation which is wallow in a little self-pity initially, (been there, so no recriminations from me), if we take the time to think things through and put a positive slant on it, we can often find great solutions.
That can lead to a sense of being in control of the situation rather than panic, particularly in serious situations where a level head and sensible solutions need to be made.
Try to look for the ‘silver lining’ in life’s situations…and keeping a sense of humor can definitely help!
If you can do this, you’ll usually rise above challenges with a huge sense of achievement and relief, and it’s a skill that can be learned…it’s not innate for most of us. Granted, finding the ‘positive’ in every situation isn’t easy, it takes practice and some soul-searching, but you’ll be amazed at the outcome.
***10 Tips For Developing A ‘Positive Thinking’ Mindset***
1. Practice the Art of Gratitude
Instead of focusing on all that’s going wrong in life, try to enjoy all the other fantastic joys about being alive. There really are so many.
Little things like a sunny day, the smell of freshly cut grass, playing with your dog, even the teenager across the street who just got soaked by the hose while washing his car! (yes, this was one I positively enjoyed – and he too saw the funny side of it)
For every bad situation, there are so many fantastic reasons to be grateful.
All the incredibly brave health workers risking their lives on behalf of the world’s populations. I really can’t say that I could be so brave…but I’m so grateful that they are. We all applaud you.
Even during this terrible Covid-19 pandemic where we can easily feel there’s nothing to be grateful for, look at all the amazing things people have done.
People performing so many acts of kindness for others they’ve never met before.
Artists and dancers giving impromptu performances in the street whilst taking out the garbage, so their neighbors can have some entertainment from their windows or balconies.
Even a company owner donating his time and cherry-picker to lift relatives up to upper-story windows so they could spend time with their elderly loved ones during the lockdown.
There are so many other reasons for gratitude in life. OK…I’ll get off my soapbox now, but you get the idea.
2. Practice Saying Kind Words To Yourself And Other People
A negative attitude can transcend into every aspect of your life and soon it can become the norm rather than the exception. But it’s interesting that positivity is contagious.
People will notice the difference and respond accordingly. Pretty hard to be nasty to someone being super pleasant and upbeat. And if they do, sadly for them they have an issue to deal with…but you’re doing just fine!
Speak kindly to yourself because Self-Love is important.
Likewise with family, friends, and people you meet. I know it’s hard not to comment about things that don’t seem right to you.
I always feel like I can clean the kitchen up better than my husband…but I resist the urge to say so because I enjoy the fact that he helps out.
Why make comments that really aren’t important and will wind up being hurtful. Keeping the negatives to yourself and sharing the positives is actually quite liberating. Not to mention the look of surprise on people’s faces.
It seems that negatives are more common than positives in this day and age so let’s start a new trend.
3. Distance Yourself From Toxic People
If you truly want to start practicing positivity in life you have to remove yourself from negative people. It’s sort of like fighting a losing battle when you want to see the good in everything and the ‘negativiants’ (is that even a word?…maybe it should be), are constantly harping on the bad!
These people drain your energy, (and their own but they can’t see that).
They’re constantly critical of everything and can actually put you down for seeing things in a positive light. Trust me, it’s time to let them go.
If you count people like these among your friends, they will do much more harm than good to your self-image and self-esteem. That’s the type of friendship you can do without in your life.
Particularly now you’re older. You want meaningful, supportive women around you. If they can adopt a more positive outlook on life, brilliant. Otherwise…time to cut them loose!
You’ll find walking away from unhealthy relationships will be liberating.
This is the first step towards loving yourself and maintaining your optimistic outlook. This isn’t so easy with family members I know, but you can let them know that you’re not interested in their negativity anymore, and encourage them to rethink their attitude…for your peace of mind as well as their own
There’s an extra plus side to distancing yourself from toxic people…you start to attract like-minded, positive people into your life, and who knows where that can lead!
4. Be Prepared To Face Your Fears Head-On
It’s almost impossible to predict life and what may be around the corner, and fear can creep in about all sorts of issues…particularly as we get older. It can be illness, financial issues, divorce, OR a global pandemic. Or just the good ‘ol fear of change.
The good news is that you can learn to keep your fear under control by cultivating and maintaining a positive attitude.
This blog isn’t about me, but on this occasion let me tell you a little about my experience.
I used to be in a very stressful corporate job and my biggest fear was that I would never have the guts to give up my excellent salary so I could escape and follow my dreams.
Strangely, my biggest obstacle wasn’t quitting my job… instead, it turned out to be Kidney Cancer.
Nope! did not see that one coming!
I firmly believe it was caused by way too much stress. I used to literally be able to feel the strange electric sensation in my veins and it wasn’t pleasant. Sooner or later, our bodies will rebel against constant stress, in some form or other.
But I also believe the Universe was trying to tell me something. So I made a decision that instead of panicking at the knowledge I had the ‘Big C’ (which understandably scares the pants off everyone), I resolved to stay super positive.
I’m sure my family & friends expected me to fall apart…
But I thought, ‘what will that achieve’. So I stayed calm and pragmatic, planned for the worst but truly believed it would all work out for the best…and it did. I know that for many people it would have been prayer that gave them strength.
In my case, it was a positive attitude and total stubbornness…that last part didn’t surprise my husband one bit!
So, it’s been 3 years now and I’m still cancer-free. And yes, apparently you can live quite happily with only one kidney…who knew! (lots of water though – no more excuses)
But more importantly, I don’t fear it. I stay positive and actually see it as a blessing.
Firstly, I’m checked every six months so anything else will be picked up quickly…and secondly – and I consider this to be the best part – it was the huge kick in the backside I needed to get out there and make my dreams come true.
So…no more procrastinating lovely ladies, get your Mojo happening and follow your dreams.
5. Learn to Love Yourself – Yes, You’re Worth It!
Having a negative outlook stems from not being fully confident in yourself. In order to find the positivity in your life, you need some Self-Love. Start with what’s so amazing about yourself.
Yes, you are amazing…there is no-one else like you!
We’re all individuals and that makes us totally unique and special. You have so many things to offer the world and it’s time for you to recognize and celebrate that.
Practice reminding yourself how awesome you are. Get in the habit of regular self-care and stick to it. If you’re not really sure what self-care is, this post can help.
Learning to love yourself is the first step to loving life, and everything and everyone around you. It will help you change your outlook towards whatever situation presents itself, making positivity a natural part of your life.
6. Make Some Small Significant Changes
If you’re finding it hard to stay positive in your current situation, maybe you dislike your job, maybe you’ve let your health slip a little. Now is a good time to make some plans to change things.
I know it’s not easy to replace your job, but you could start a plan of action towards moving into your dream situation. Start by giving some deep thought to what you would really like to do with your life. Life’s too short to dislike what you do.
Now use your new-found positivity to decide on a course of action to move towards achieving that goal.
But, don’t leave it too long before taking action.
Time has a habit of slipping by really fast, and you want your best years to still be ahead of you. So now’s the time to follow your dreams, or at least put some plans into action to make them a reality.
The same goes for your health. If you’ve let taking care of yourself slide, make some changes, even small ones at first. I guarantee that you will feel energized, and proud of yourself for taking action.
Your positive attitude and self-love will give you the push, and sometimes a little effort is all you need to change your current situation and perspective, leading to radical results. How exciting!
7. Make Fun And Laughter A Regular Part Of Your Life
This is definitely what the world needs more of, especially at this moment in time.
When we laugh or experience pleasure from having fun like watching a silly movie, enjoying the crazy antics of your dog, exercising, enjoying sex, our bodies release endorphins. These are naturally occurring chemicals that give us a feeling of well-being and a natural ‘high’.
Massage can also release endorphins, as the act of being touched stimulates the pleasurable reaction which is probably why we feel less stressed and more relaxed afterward.
So, start watching all your favorite sitcoms on Netflix, do some exercise, laugh at your dogs’ silly antics, have a good romp in the bedroom (maybe including a massage!)…and feel those endorphins kick in. It’s relatively short-lived but great for your mental and physical health.
8. There Is More Happiness In Giving Rather Than Receiving
Try shifting the focus away from your own problems by giving to others less fortunate, and helping to make their situation better. Apart from the obvious difference you will make in someone else’s life, a little altruism does wonders for your own self-esteem and helps you feel gratitude for what you have in life.
You could choose to simply help a neighbor who is having health issues by running some errands or buying them flowers. Or maybe volunteering at the local homeless shelter or donating to an animal charity.
9. Learn To Practice The Wonderful Art Of Meditation
If you’ve never tried Meditation, now’s a perfect time. The art of learning to sit quietly and peacefully, keeping negativity out of your thoughts whilst focusing on your breathing can be life-changing.
It really doesn’t matter where you choose to meditate.
Maybe in your garden, the park, near a lake. Finding somewhere quiet in nature is therapeutic…but the peace of your bedroom or living room can work just as well.
I have a quirky friend who chooses to disappear into her closet. She says that sitting on the floor (with her cat), underneath her clothes, and listening to a Guided Meditation on her phone is perfect for her.
See…each to their own.
Personally, I like soothing music playing softly enough so I can focus on my breathing. The point is to be able to tune out for a period of time and just relax. Maybe start with 5 minutes and slowly build up to longer periods…but do it regularly to really reap the benefits.
There are so many different types of meditation. You can find the version that suits you best, and all of them can bring so much calmness and clarity to your life. You will truly wish you had chosen to practice this ancient art years ago.
10. Start Saying Positive Affirmations
Ok, I know what you’re thinking. It’s Woo-Woo and you feel you should be wearing a kaftan and eating Mung beans (which are really nice BTW). Affirmations can have a super inspiring effect on your mindset.
It’s like trying to change an old behavior pattern. It takes doing your new ‘desired’ behavior regularly for at least several weeks before it forms a habit.
Affirmations are the same. The difference is that they can completely inspire and uplift you to achieve whatever it is that your affirmation is for. It can be about anything.
Be creative and uninhibited in your aspirations. Remember, this is about you. What you want in life, how you want to feel, what you want to achieve. You go for it!
I love life, life is positive and I can achieve anything
I deserve to be happy and loved
I have something special to offer the world
I am at peace with my body
Get the idea? Whatever you feel grateful for, or strive for in life, use this powerful technique and say it to yourself all the time. Your amazing brain WILL help you make it a reality.
Remember…changing your mindset from negative to positive isn’t an overnight fix – it’s something you work on every day.
Similarly, affirmations and meditation take practice, but the rewards are so worth it!
I truly hope that these positivity tips have helped clarify the reasons why Self-Love, Gratitude, and Positivity can be so life-changing.
It will take some soul-searching and a deliberate effort towards self-improvement on your part. But, if you keep working towards changing your perspective, practicing positivity and self-love, you’ll be well on your way to a much happier and more fulfilling life.
So, what about you?
What life challenges have you faced and were you able to overcome them with Positivity? Do you agree that this mindset skill will help you next time life throws you a curve-ball?