Ask Away Blog: How To Stay Positive When Things Aren’t Going Your Way

How To Stay Positive When Things Aren’t Going Your Way

Monday, February 24, 2020



We all have days (and weeks or months) where everything just seems to go wrong. Things break, your finances get messed up, your mood is completely shot, and you may have a lot of stress and anxiety about your job or home life. It can at times see impossible to keep our head up, but I promise you that it’s something you can work on. I have always been told that I have such a positive attitude even when my life seems to be in shambles and it got me thinking, what do I do to keep positive when it feels like the world’s against me. I decided I’d share what I do to stay positive and keep going when times are tough and it seems impossible.

Focus on what’s going right.

No matter how many things are going wrong, there are ALWAYS things going right even on a very small scale. When you’re dealing with negative emotions and thoughts it can be easy to become almost infected to the point where you can’t point one positive thing out no matter how hard you try. But if you start practicing positivity and gratitude even on a great day, it can become a habit that makes it easier for you to stay positive in the bad times.

So you get in a fender bender and now your car needs repairs and you will have to get rides to work….but you know what, you’re alive. It could always be worse. Everyday people lose their life in accidents. Sometimes I’ll just stop and take stock of everything that went as it should during the day. I got out of work on time, my hot water in the shower was glorious, our refrigerator still works, and I got to spend time out in the sunshine.

Try this, every morning right 3 things you’re grateful for, no matter how big or small they are. Having a good hair day? Write it down! Had a delicious breakfast at the office? Write it down! This practice retrains your brain to look for the positive instead of the negative.

Compare your problems with those of others.

This may seem strange at first, but it makes you a bit more humble. If you’re feeling really down on yourself because say you’re in a bad living situation and you’re struggling to pay rent each month, consider the people you see on the street without a home. If you have a job that allows you to even barely get by, realize that you have one big thing that many others struggle to find. I know, it’s annoying when someone says “it could always be worse” to you, but really, it’s the truth. Thinking this way can make you come to the conclusion that even though you’re dealing with some crappy stuff, you’re still better off than others. When I’m stressed about having a big vet bill after my dogs get sick, I remind myself that at least I didn’t go into debt over it because I set money aside for vet expenses each month. That’s more than many people do. Once I acknowledge that, I realize the worst thing that I have to endure is building back up that savings fund a little bit. I reflect on a time when I didn’t have my finances together in this way and how much worse I’d feel back then, like I was drowning in debt.

Try this exercise, whenever you feel like you have a load of crap that’s making you upset and bitter, envision yourself at a table with your friends and colleagues. You dump your issues onto the table and they dump their issues too. You take a look around and realize, you know, I’m gonna collect my problems back up because I’d rather have to deal with these than some of the other things on this table.

Look at it as a challenge that you will grow from.

It’s a favorite saying of mine that great healing and growth come after immense pain and struggle. I began to look at my struggles as challenges with the simple goal of being able to say I CONQUERED THAT when I get through it. I look back at all the things I’ve dealt with before and how resilient I was that I got through them, so why would this new issue be any different? Sure things are crappy at the current moment, but it WILL get better and that’s the motivation you need to keep pushing on. You can’t get closer to the light at the end of your dark tunnel if you don’t keep moving forward. The world doesn’t stop just because of one person’s issues no matter how big they are. The sun will continue to rise and set, and life will go on. It’s YOUR choice as to whether you’re gonna sit there and let it pass you forever or if you’re going to conquer this struggle and enjoy the sunshine when you get out of it.

Share with people you trust.

Often, one of the most helpful things to do is to talk about your problems with others close to you. It doesn’t mean you’re trying to get an answer or solution from them, but sometimes just having another person acknowledge “Wow you really are going through a lot, and I would feel the same way”, is enough to make you realize you are not alone. It’s never a healthy thing to hold your feelings and struggles inside. In fact, your biggest problem is often your deepest or darkest secret. If you don’t want to talk to a friend, talk to a therapist. Look for support groups online or in your area of people that are dealing with similar things. It will make you feel much more positive about the whole thing because you’ll find comradery and healing.

Fake it till you make it.

Of course you probably don’t feel like going to work and dealing with customers with a smiling face, but how is it going to serve you OR them if you are miserable. Sometimes, forcing ourselves to smile and keep chugging through is helpful because it actually makes you keep moving forward. You can’t just quit your job because you want to have a meltdown. You have to go and smile and act like it’s all good, even if it isn’t. And sometimes even faking it for a few hours can help you feel better. If you’re smiling as you greet clients, you’re more likely to feel a little better BECAUSE you’re wearing a smile. I will push myself to keep faking it so hard, forcing myself to start conversations with coworkers and giving compliments to strangers in the elevator. You may even notice you are cheering people up and improving THEIR day, which is very contagious and not only spreads kindness and joy through the community but it WILL make your heart and soul feel good as well.

These are just some of the ways I keep my head above water and keep smiling. Please share below anything I have missed that seems to work for you!



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