How To Stay Positive When Life Gets You Down
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Some people know how to stay positive no matter what life throws at them.
Whatever happens, they manage to find something good in it. And they make the most of that something.
What do they know that you don’t?
What could they teach you about becoming a more positive person and staying that way?
And how will staying positive change your life for the better?
15 Ways to Stay Positive In Life
Staying positive is about staying happy. The 15 tips that follow are all about bringing more happiness into your life and keeping it there.
And the better you are at staying positive, the more of that happiness you can share with others.
If you’re reading this, I’m willing to bet that matters to you.
1. Express gratitude every day.
Whether you write it down or say it out loud, get used to the words “I’m grateful for” followed by the people and things you don’t want to live without.
You know that life may take them from you. But until then, get into the habit of reminding yourself of your gratitude for them. Every day is not too often.
If they’re people, be sure to remind them, too. Gratitude is contagious.
2. Let it out.
Whether you vent your feelings in words or in other ways, don’t keep them bottled up inside — or trapped in little boxes.
Those boxes tend to grow until they take up too much space in your mind.
Give yourself the chance to grieve and to put your pain into words — written or spoken.
Only then can you unburden yourself and process what you’re going through.
A daily journal gives you a safe place to write things out. A friend who’s a good listener is even better. And having both is ideal.
3. Practice mindfulness.
A daily mindfulness habit makes you more aware of the present moment and all that it holds for you.
It encourages you to experience more fully all that your senses are trying to tell you about your environment.
That awareness alone can make it easier to acknowledge and deal with your emotions and the pain behind them.
It can help you live in the present rather than in the past.
Mindfulness makes you more conscious of the good things around you right now. And it makes more room in your life for gratitude.
4. Don’t take things personally.
Taking every criticism and judgment personally means you’re in defense mode.
And with this mindset, you’re too preoccupied with protecting yourself to empathize with others – let alone see the good in them.
But other people’s hurtful words and behavior are more about them than about you.
Keeping this in mind makes it easier to see the whole picture.
And with the right mindset, you can respond in a way that benefits you both.
5. Focus on self-improvement.
Rather than focusing on the things that bring you down or keep you feeling stuck, focus on what you can do now to further your own personal development.
These can be small but purposeful daily actions that give you a sense of accomplishment.
The more you take action to develop your strengths or to address your weaknesses, the more progress you’ll make.
Choose to focus on that progress and on your continued growth.
Don’t worry about how you compare with someone else or with an ideal.
And celebrate every step forward.
6. Take care of yourself.
If you value your personal growth, you won’t neglect your self-care needs.
This can be as simple as making sure you get adequate sleep or making time for regular hygiene and dental care.
It can also include taking time out for a refreshing walk or stopping to celebrate a finished project with a friend. All work and no fun leads to burnout.
Whenever you honor your own legitimate needs — as well as those of others — you make it easier to focus on the good things in your life and to feel genuinely happy.
7. Separate fact from fiction.
When things go wrong, it’s tempting to focus on and exaggerate the negative.
When that temptation comes, stop a moment to separate the facts from your conditioned responses.
Most of the latter are based on assumptions you’ve come to believe, and you’re better off without them.
It takes an effort to question your automatic responses to painful situations.
But the more you do so, the better able you’ll be to see what’s true and disregard what isn’t.
8. Spend time with positive people.
The company you keep (and that includes the books you read and the podcasts you listen to) can help or hinder you in your efforts to stay positive.
More positive people make it easier, and more negative people, well . . . they don’t.
And the happier you are (even when not-so-great things happen), the more you influence others for their benefit.
You may not be the average of the people you spend the most time with at the outset, but over time, you will feel their influence. And they’ll feel yours.
9. Exercise your body and mind.
Exercise promotes growth. You probably already know what lack of exercise leads to.
Atrophy and decay. Fatigue. Restlessness. Depression.
You have a right to want better for yourself. You have a body and a mind, and both crave exercise.
And when you put them to work, the endorphins produced help you feel more positive.
Staying happy is tied to self-care.
And one the best ways you can care for your body and mind is to give them the exercise they need.
10. Look for the silver lining.
Once you’ve separated fact from fiction — putting that active mind of yours to work — this is where you look for something to be grateful for.
This can be hard to do (especially when you’re in pain), but healing happens more quickly when you’re feeling grateful than when you’re anxious or angry.
So, look for the silver lining on every dark cloud. And if you don’t see it, create one of your own.
Allow your gratitude to steer your thoughts in a more positive and healing direction.
11. Slow down.
When was the last time you saw a gravestone with the words “He was the most productive person I’ve ever known.”
Gratitude and generosity make people happier than hustling ever could.
It’s hard to stay positive when you care more about staying busy.
So, slow down enough to appreciate and enjoy the good things in your life right now.
Slow down enough to admire the beauty around you, to have more meaningful conversations, and to notice when someone needs your help or your attention.
12. Cultivate a more positive environment.
The music you listen to, the state of the room you’re in, and even the clothes you’re wearing contribute to your overall environment.
Ask yourself how you want your living and working spaces to make you feel.
Then ask if it makes you feel that way — or if it makes it harder for you to feel positive. Be honest.
Then make a list of things you can change about your environment to make it easier for you (and others) to stay positive.
13. Stop. Breathe. Refocus.
When you feel overwhelmed by negativity, give yourself the gift of time.
Stop what you’re doing (if you can safely do so). Or remove yourself from the situation.
Take a deep breath, and let it out. Then take another breath, and release it.
Breathe in and out as many times as you need to feel calmer.
When you do feel calmer and better able to control your thoughts, separate fact from fiction, and refocus your thoughts on what is true, good, and beautiful.
For extra credit, help someone else do the same.
14. Step out of your comfort zone.
Just as you need exercise to keep your mind and body healthy, you also need to challenge yourself in order to grow.
Muscles don’t grow until we push them to the point of exhaustion. It’s not comfortable, but they need that stress in order to grow.
The more you push yourself to do better, to learn new things, to face your fears, the more satisfaction you feel with your life and the direction it’s taking.
Continued growth is the best antidepressant.
15. Be a positive influence on others.
Being someone else’s positive influence can’t help but make you feel more positive, too.
You should be glad if something you said or did helps someone look at their situation with a more positive outlook.
If you can continue to influence their thinking in a more positive direction, their mood and their day will improve as a result.
If you help them develop a daily habit of staying positive, their lives will change for the better.
And that’s something else you can be grateful for.
Make Today Happier
Now that you know how to remain positive — whatever happens — you know how to remain happy.
You know it’s not about how much you get done or how many toys you can buy.
You know happiness is something no one can take away from you.
And you want others to know the same peace.
So, it makes sense that you’d want to be able to give a good answer to those who ask you, “How do you stay so positive?”
Because if you follow the tips in this article, you’ll hear that question someday.
And maybe you’ll also remember asking someone else the same question — before you learned what you know now.
It’s a good thing you’re out to make the world better.
May your resilience and compassion influence everything you say and do today.