I was recently asked the following question about how to stay positive in a rough situation and I thought I’d post the answer here as I’m sure there are others going through the exact same thing.
The question was,
“I am doing everything I can to remain positive but it seems like my personal life is becoming harder and harder every day. I know it’s important to focus on the positive and not the negative so what should I do to keep thinking positive thoughts?”
Here are 7 actions you can take to stay positive when it feels like your life is falling apart:
1. Be Grateful
Even if it seems everything is going wrong, there are things that are going right. Every day, write down all the things you are grateful for having happened to you today. Be descriptive of each item. Feel the joy those things bring you. Even if it’s something really small like your car started this morning. Be grateful for it. This will help you to stay focused on the positive.
2. Look for the Silver Linings
Sometimes events that initially look bad turn out to be really good things in the end. I can’t remember the saying but it was something like every black cloud has a silver lining. Here’s an example, maybe you need to look for a new job because your company is downsizing. If you look for the silver lining in that, you can see that it’s making you leave a job you didn’t like that much anyway. You can now find that job that you really want to do or pursue a lifelong dream or even just take some time off to enjoy life before going back to find another job. By looking for the silver lining then bad things can actually become really good things.
3. “Often the Greatest Doubts Occur Just Before a Breakthrough”
This is a quote by Lama Surya Das from his book, Awakening the Buddha Within: Tibetan Wisdom for the Western World
If you can think of your difficulties as being necessary to make a breakthrough to the new life you want to lead, it will make it easier. You’re breaking free of your old life on the way to your new, more exciting life.
4. Look at the Big Picture and Focus
Decide on what direction you want your life to head. Think about what areas you want to explore, what experiences you want to feel, what do you want to accomplish in your life? What kind of person do you want to be? Then start taking steps towards those goals. Even if it’s just tiny steps every day, stay focused on where you want to go, and keep moving forwards. Then the little things you’re going through right now won’t matter as much because you have an exciting new direction to focus on instead.
5. Discouragement is Just a Trick
Here’s a quote I really like about not letting yourself get discouraged.
“Discouragement is a negative emotion with more than one trick up its dark sleeve. It tricks you into mentally or emotionally dwelling in the very place you want to leave. Drop all such sorrow permanently by daring to see through this deception of the unconscious mind. You have a destination far beyond where you find yourself standing today” – Guy Finley
Keep this in mind as you continue to take steps towards your goals. You do have a destination far beyond where you are today.
6. Keep Reading Inspirational Articles and Maybe Join a Forum
If you keep reading inspirational articles and books, it will motivate you to stay positive. You will see that everyone goes through rough patches but that they do make it through. It will be worth it in the end. Also, there are some good forums you can join where even just reading the other posts can motivate you to stay positive. Or, if you want to make a posting, you can gain support from others as well. Who knows, you may even be able to answer some one else’s post and help them out too.
7. Take a Break
Forget about your problems and just go out and do something fun. Go to a movie, go out with some fun, positive thinking friends, go to a play, go for a bike ride, just do something. Get out and just enjoy yourself for a little bit. Sometimes, we just get so wrapped up in our problems that we forget to have fun. Taking a break will re-energize you and you may find that things aren’t as bad as you thought.
So, there’s at least 7 things you can do to help you remain in a positive frame of mind when your life seems to be falling apart. I hope it helps. I also want to say, good for you in recognizing the need to stay positive when it can be easier to just go with the negative flow. It shows you are on the right path and you will make it through your current situation with flying colours. Hang in there. This will pass and you will soon be experiencing your new, more positive life.