Staying positive in the midst of life’s volley of arrows isn’t always easy. And yes, life seems to trying to bring us down sometimes. But simple techniques such as journalling and using affirmations can really help us maintain a more positive mindset.
What life has taught me is that life is not easy. We have ups and downs. When we are on an up we feel great! We are happy, relaxed and have lots of energy. We are motivated to do more at work and at play. But, when are on a down, we feel bad about ourselves, we feel trapped, we experience symptoms of stress like fatigue or sleepless nights and our energy is likely a lot lower. No one likes being on a down. But they are a part of life.
Know Your Stressors
In my experience, a big part of being in a down is stress. Stress does a lot of terrible things to a person, and sometimes you ignore the stress in your life because those symptoms are so ordinary (such as fatigue) and this is why it’s important to know your stressors. For instance, a several years ago now, work become a big stressor for me. I was unhappy in my job. And I wasn’t doing what I really wanted to do. I let that stress get to me for years before finally realizing that the stress I was experiencing wasn’t temporary because of the bullying I faced there, or certain restrictions I was facing in getting the work done as I wanted it done. The work itself was stressful and I needed to start addressing that.
Once I realized that, I began to take steps to reduce my stress (in the form of more conscious self care) and make changes in my lifestyle. I started doing less after work and only ran an errand if it was quick or I really needed to for example. I was also lucky enough to change jobs, though not careers, and that helped a lot too.
Staying Positive in the Midst of Challenging Times
That was an especially challenging time in my life. And yet, I never really felt miserable. There were days of course, I cursed the world and my past and my choices. Days I cried buckets. But there were also days I laughed and felt generally content with life. I learned how to avoid certain people at work, I learned who I could rely on and I actively engaged in hobbies that helped me clear my head and feel better once I was home. Staying positive helps you not to become overwhelmed by feelings of helplessness and worry.
Talk About Your Feelings
When life is challenging, and you are feeling it get to you, it’s always a good idea to talk about your feelings. A best friend can do the trick, or a significant other, but you may also want to seek the help of a professional. They may not be able to fix the problem for you, but they can offer suggestions for self care and also help you with coping with your emotions.
Talking about your feelings is great, but journalling is far more powerful. Journalling for self care is a great way to manage stress and anxiety. I often walk away from writing in my journal with a far more positive outlook.
Stick to Routine
If it’s possible, stick to your regular routine. Don’t skip the gym unless you’re really not up to it. Be sure to eat healthy and not just indulge in easy meals you can grab at a drive thru. Definitely give yourself some slack however (a couple of missed workouts aren’t worth your energy when you’re already drained) but don’t vary too much from your norm.
Give Yourself Breaks
It’s perfectly okay to take breaks, especially if you are going through a tough time. Take an extra day off, work from home if possible, send your kids on an all day play date or sleep in. Lessening things that are stressful, or tiring will help you maintain a positive outlook even when the going gets tough.
Life is hard, and you do your best at it. Give yourself a treat and do something for you never do, whether it’s a spa day or having a delicious dessert. Having something to look forward to, or just because during a tough time makes life a little brighter.
Positive self talk is so important, and you can use affirmations to help you feel more confident and deserving. In fact, affirmations can change the way you feel about yourself entirely over time.
Take Up a Hobby
Sometimes when we are feeling down it’s a good idea to concentrate your energy on something you enjoy. Whatever your hobby is, take some time to reconnect with it, or try out a new hobby. I personally finding creating immensely powerful as when I’m done I feel a sense of accomplishment and that is always a mood booster.
Smile and Laugh
I know this sounds like goofy one, but laughter really is the best medicine. Smiling and laughing actually has a chemical affect on the body that helps with positive feelings. So binge watch Friends, or get together with some friends and just share some funny stories together.
Last but Not Least, Remember…This too Shall Pass
We all go through up and downs. You are not the first, or the only, or the last. And things will eventually turn around because you are not useless, or helpless or trapped. Take steps to improve your situation if you can–cut out that toxic person from your life, ask for help, reduce your hours at work or take a short leave. You will overcome the difficult time you are experiencing. Remind yourself of this when you’re feeling especially stressed or anxious.
Staying positive isn’t always easy, and sometimes staying positive isn’t enough. You should always seek the help of a professional if your mental health is causing your physical health to suffer, or not allowing you to function as normal. Whatever the challenges you are facing, whether it’s an illness in the family, a difficult break up, dealing with toxic individuals or environments, or work related stress, it is important to take steps to foster your mental health. Especially if the stressor is one you are going to be facing long term. Practicing self care will help you with keeping a more positive outlook, but never be afraid to seek outside help when needed. Not sure you need help? Ask anyway. You probably do.
How do you stay positive? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.