How to Stay Positive in Difficult Times
When people ask: “how are you?” my wife Judy is fond of saying “We’re having a good moment.” It’s not that Judy is negative, if you’ve ever met her you know she is quite the contrary. But she knows that there will be times when we face difficulties and challenges. It doesn’t matter who you are, what you do, or how successful you are, you will have trials.
The big challenge is to stay positive and productive during these times. Here are 5 things you can do to stay positive in difficult times.
1. Keep Perspective
When problems arise it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and crushed by them. The tendency can be to exaggerate the problem, turning a minor problem into a huge one. When in the middle of a problem it’s important to keep it in perspective.
Mark Twain once said: “There has been much tragedy in my life; at least half of which actually happened.” Look at the bigger picture. Don’t let the problem take on a size and magnitude greater than what it actually represents. Even in the most difficult times, there are positive aspect in your life. Ask yourself if this will matter a year from now, three
years from now. It’s helpful to remember that you’ve gotten through issues and challenges in the past, and you will get through this one as well. Finally, don’t be surprised by difficulties, rather, expect them. They are part of life.
2. Don’t Beat Yourself Up
When you are facing problems the last thing you need to do is beat yourself up, but that is often what people do. Nothing good comes from chastising yourself or wallowing in self-pity and guilt. Taking a “guilt free” approach will allow you to respond with your best self. Your thinking will be clear, you’ll have more energy and you will see options
and possible solutions that just are not visible when you are steeped in blame and shame. You can’t change the past, but you can learn from it. Every problem is an opportunity to learn and grow.
3. Focus On What You Can Control
It’s important to know what you want to make happen in the situation – your ideal outcome. It’s equally important, perhaps, even more so, to know what you can and can’t control. You don’t control outcomes. So, while knowing what the ideal outcome you desire is important, you will need to focus your energy on the things you control, your actions. If you put too much emphasis on the outcome it can become paralyzing. Know the outcome you desire but focus on the actions you can take to bring about the best results.
4. Start & End Each Day in Gratitude
One of the best routines I began years ago was to start and end each day in gratitude. Whatever you focus on, whatever you think about, magnifies. Be intentional about magnifying the positive. Use a daily activity to trigger your gratitude. As an example, every morning when I step into the shower I state what I’m grateful for as I begin my
day. Every evening as I set the alarm, I again state something that happened in the day that I’m grateful for. It’s important that you fill your mind with positive and pleasant thoughts, especially in difficult times.
5. Stay Connected to Your Vision & Goals
When you are in the middle of problems and feeling stressed, it is difficult, but necessary, to not let go of your dreams and aspirations. You need to force yourself to think about a better future. You can’t wait until you feel like engaging with your goals. When you are in the middle of some serious challenges you won’t feel like it. It doesn’t matter how you feel, now is precisely the time to connect with your best self. Mentally visit your vision and your goals. Remind yourself that the problems you are currently experiencing are temporary, and that they will not hold you back from your destiny.
There you have it, 5 things you can do to stay positive in difficult times. We all face challenges. Learning to stay positive in the midst of problems will position you for not only a faster, more productive recovery, but also a more joy filled life.