We all go through the ups and downs of life. There are times when things work perfectly well for us and life’s a breeze, and sometimes we are tested when things don’t seem to go as we desire or expect. Knowing how to stay positive during such difficult times can shift our entire experience of life.
When we face a particularly challenging phase of life, we must go through it anyway so why not approach life a bit proactively and make the journey easier by cultivating some positivity into our lives.
Often the biggest barrier standing between us and happiness is our own limiting thought patterns.
Many people consider it foolishness and delusion to feel positive during difficult times and challenges. That is nothing but a disempowering belief that keeps people away from happiness and fulfillment.
The fact is, when we are in a good state of mind, we can think better and come up with resolutions to our problems, which enable us to overcome challenges faster.
Knowing how to stay positive in the worst of times is a skill in itself that must be developed deliberately. It can feel a bit weird and out of the mental comfort zone as you push yourself to shift your mental and emotional state.
But once you learn to shift your state at will and train your mind to operate more proactively during hard times, it will become one of your greatest skills through you can empower yourself no matter what the situation.
In this quick guide, we will look into 16 habits that’ll help you stay positive and enable you to take on life as a Victor, rather than a victim.
Before we begin, let me just mention that all the following tips/habits come from personal experience and not just goody goody positive talk.
These are some of the most valuable lessons I learned during the toughest years of my life. I hope it will benefit you as well when you apply it to your life.
1. Find Higher Meaning In Difficulties & Challenges
Our brain tends to focus on negative events more than the positive ones.
You won’t take as much notice when someone is being kind to a person on the street, but you definitely will divert all your attention towards a nearby car accident.
If someone says something nice to you, it might not stick for as long as if someone has been mean to you.
No matter how much your brain tries to tell you about all the downside of things, you take charge of your thoughts and your attention by consciously seeking the positive side to whatever bad experience you’ve had.
If you are going through a difficult phase of life, ponder over what is the higher purpose of all this.
What does God want you to learn from this?
What are these circumstances trying to teach you?
How is it making you grow stronger and wiser?
You can’t control other people or the circumstances, but what you can control is your reaction and approach towards it. How you choose to perceive it and what meaning you take from it.
2. Be Curious
Being curious in the face of problems and challenges shifts how you perceive the happening of life.
Nobody desires to go through challenging times. And letting these tough phases of life make you feel stuck, is the last thing you would want.
To avoid getting stuck and stay positive during difficult times, it is crucial that we approach life with curiosity and look for possible solutions for problems and ways to improve our life.
This is one of the most important things that helped me get through tough times. I consider curiosity as a blessing of God.
I don’t know how I would’ve survived if I wasn’t curious in those times. Curiosity is what sparked hope and pulled me to find answers and solutions instead of giving up.
No matter how difficult or challenging it gets, always be curious to seek solutions, even if you can’t seem to find any at the moment.
It a big world with lots of knowledge, wisdom, and solutions out there. Sometimes certain things might seem impossible to us, but often that is just the limitation of our knowledge.
When you stay curious and keep seeking, eventually you’ll find answers and solutions that might never have crossed your imagination.
3. Get Up Early In The Morning
Getting up early and making efforts to enjoy the peaceful morning hours is yet another thing that helped me stay positive through challenging times.
Early morning, especially dawn is the best time of the day to connect with yourself, with nature, and with God. It’s peaceful, it’s quiet, it’s slow and gradual.
If you usually have busy mornings because you have to go to work, send kids off to school or both, sleep a bit earlier at night and wake up an hour earlier than you usually do, to get some time for yourself.
Utilize this time by reflecting and pondering over the blessing of life. Cultivate gratitude by counting your blessings and thanking God for them.
Take a calming walk or just watch the morning sky, listen to the chirping of birds, and experience the stillness.
4. Exercise And Eat Right
A Research conducted by University of Toronto shows exercise not only treats but prevents depression. Moving your body also gets your brain juices flowing and mentally gets you in a more active and positive state.
Plus the quality of fuel – the foods we eat – also greatly affects our mental state. Make sure to avoid junk foods and avoid binge eating. It will only make you feel worse in the long run.
Instead, include more fresh vegetables and fruits in your daily diet. Foods that’ll cleanse and detoxify your system, and make you feel great about yourself when you eat them.
5. Write Your Learnings Down
Earlier, as we talked about finding higher meaning and getting curious during difficult times, it helps greatly when you take a few minutes to write down your reflections and learnings.
You’ll notice how much you are learning and how much wiser you are growing with every passing day. When you write your learnings down, it will help you organize your thoughts and clear your head.
Writing will also help you connect with your deeper self and tap into your inner wisdom.
If you are not in the habit of writing or journaling, it might take a little bit of extra thinking and some effort to get in the flow as you write.
As you get into a habit, you’ll notice how naturally your thoughts flow through your hand as you write and how articulate your thinking will become.
6. Let it go – Don’t Take It Too Personal
A lot of negative emotions come from what other people do or say to us.
Often times people do not necessarily have ill intentions towards us, they are just caught up in their own thoughts and occupied with their own problems. They might be going through a stressful phase and don’t know how to deal with it.
If they did not act or speak wisely and appropriately, you be the wiser person and give them some benefit of the doubt.
I know it can be hard sometimes, but pushing yourself to do so liberates you from negative thoughts.
We tend to keep thinking about the negative remarks and mean behaviors over and over again. It’s almost like replaying a recorded video clip.
When we replay the clips of negative experiences, it gives our brain signals to produce the negative emotions associated with that memory once again.
Whenever you find yourself rethinking about the negative experiences with people, imagine a “delete” button in your mind and push that delete button real hard!
7. Surround Yourself In Positivity
Indulge in as many positive and productive things as you can. Surround your life with positivity by:
- Connecting with positive and growth-oriented people
- Healthy hobbies like sports, gardening, art, etc.
- Productive habits like reading books on personal development, prayer, meditation, planning ahead, goal setting, listening to podcast or watch videos that’ll uplift you and help you grow.
- Spending time in nature.
8. Limit Social Media Use
Too much social media use can often leave us with feelings of deprivation and inferiority.
People only post their highlights of life and because of that we unconsciously begin to believe that everything is going so well for everybody, except for ourselves.
While using social media, we often tend to focus on what others have and what we don’t have. Clearly, that’s not healthy and empowering for our minds.
Cut yourself off a bit from social media. Reduce its use to just a couple of times per week.
If you want to know more about the use of social media and how it affects our psychology, check out the article in which I’ve shared my experience of quitting social media for 600+ days and how it impacted my life.
I Quit Social Media For 600+ Days | Here are 8 Lessons I’ve Learned.
9. Become A Seeker Of Wisdom
Develop your identity as a seeker of wisdom. Why did I mention “identity”? Because when you identify yourself as a seeker from deep within, rather than just seeking wisdom as a superficial act, wisdom will begin to flow into your life naturally and effortlessly.
You’ll begin to see perspectives that most people could never see. You’ll begin to pick wisdom and life lessons from almost everything, big or small.
Seeking Wisdom is directly related to Healthy Curiosity, which we looked into earlier. They go hand in hand.
When you identify yourself as a seeker of wisdom, you’ll automatically cultivate a healthy curiosity. When you develop a healthy curiosity, you’ll naturally want to seek wisdom.
10. Set Visions – Have Something To Look Forward To
Create a compelling future in your mind. Something that will keep pulling you forward towards growth, improvement, and higher possibilities.
Take a couple of hours on a weekend, and sit with a pen and journal. Write down in rich detail what you want your life to be and want kind of a person you see yourself in the upcoming future.
Set clear visions for each area of your life, and then some specific long term and short term goals that might lead to the manifestation of each of the visions.
Take your time and thoroughly think it through. After you’re done, begin living your life in accordance with those visions and goals. You’ll create a new spark and excitement in life through this.
11. Observe People Who Are Less Privileged Than You
We often get so immersed in our own problems that we lose perspective and overlook our blessings.
Make it a point to interact or just observe people who are less privileged than you in any sense. Physically, financially, intellectually or familially.
You might begin to see certain blessings that you never considered a blessing before, as we tend to take so many things in life for granted.
12. Develop a Simple Gratitude Practice
Every day when you wake up, start your day off with gratitude. Feel deeply grateful for another day, another opportunity.
Make it a practice to count and deeply meditate on any 3 of your blessings for a few minutes. Consider different blessings each day.
13. Focus On Doing Your Part To Make Things Better
We might not be able to control circumstances or people, but what we can control is how we handle them, and how we process them in our minds.
We can either get into the trap of self-pity or we can approach things proactively and focus on what we can do on our part to make things better.
When you take charge of yourself and do your part, it will empower you and over time your influence will expand over your surroundings. Eventually, things will begin to fall in to place.
14. Have Faith & Trust God
As we talked about taking charge of what is in your control and doing your part, the other things/circumstances/people that are not in your control, leave them to God.
When you do your part with sincerity and the right effort, God will align other things in your favor. God’s delays are not God’s denials.
Have faith that everything has a purpose to serve. If you are going through a difficult phase of life, God wants to push you to grow and become stronger.
Trust His Wisdom. He knows what is better for you and what isn’t. Sometimes what apparently seems as trouble might actually be a blessing in disguise.
15. Focus On Your Strengths
During difficulties, our attention tends to gravitate towards our weaknesses and the things that we don’t have. We tend to overlook our strengths, abilities, and the resources around us.
The truth is, we are more capable than we give ourselves credit for, or at least we have the potential to be.
If we focus on our weaknesses, all we could see is what we can’t do. But when we focus on our strengths, we tap into limitless potentials of what we CAN do.
16. Do Good For Others (In Your Own Capacity)
A self-centric life is not a very fulfilling one. Deeply fulfillment comes when we contribute and add value to other people’s lives.
Spread positivity into other people’s lives, help them out with something, ease someone’s burdens in some way. All you give and any good you do will enter your life manifolds in mysterious ways.
“To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived, this is to have succeeded.”Ralph Waldo Emerson
When you are positive during tough times, you are able to come up with creative solutions to problems and figure out empowering ways to deal with life’s challenges.
Include these habits into your life so you are well equipped to face challenges proactively.
How do you usually stay positive during difficult times? Share your experiences in the comments below.