Staying Positive When Times Are Tough

 (photo credit: INGIMAGE)
(photo credit: INGIMAGE)

It can be tough to stay positive when life is throwing obstacles in your way. However, maintaining a positive attitude can help you better manage the challenges of life. Paying attention to your self-talk, taking positive action and avoiding negative people can all improve how you handle adversity.

Notice Your Self-Talk

How do you talk to and about yourself? If it's negatively, ask yourself if you would talk to and about your best friend or a beloved family member in the same way. A constant litany of negative feedback, even if it is coming from you and not anyone else, can grind down your attitude and make it hard to feel positive. For example, if you make a mistake that you have made before, you might say to yourself you’re so stupid, you can't believe you did that again, you’ll never learn. 

When you start to notice how often you say things like this to yourself, you will begin to see that it's no wonder you feel so negative. Instead, replace your negative talk with affirmations like you made that mistake again, but caught it quicker this time, you’re learning, and you’ll try to do better next time. You may also want to consider a gratitude journal. Many people find that taking the time at the beginning or end of each day to write down three things that they are grateful for has huge benefits.

Take Positive Action

Talk matters, but so does action. A small positive action in the right direction can be a big help in turning your attitude around and can restore the sense that you have some control. For example, perhaps you are struggling with spending and debt. This can feel overwhelming, so rather than try to tackle it all at once, identify one small action you can take to improve your situation. If you have debt from multiple student loans, you may want to look into a private student loan consolidation. You can review a guide that will explain your options and what you need to know. You'll feel better once you have taken this step, and that will make it easier to take additional ones.

Feel Your Emotions

Positive thinking shouldn't be about repressing your emotions. It's important to allow yourself a full range of healthy emotions, including sadness and anger. The difference is that you don't allow yourself to spiral into increasingly negative thought patterns. For example, if you are upset because you did poorly in a job interview for a position that you really wanted, you might say to yourself you’re angry at yourself and sad that you didn't perform better, but you won't feel like this forever. Some people find it is helpful to give themselves a time limit in which they are allowed to indulge in feeling bad. Afterwards, they have to start working on a solution.

Avoid Negative People

When you are around people who constantly put a negative spin on things, it can affect you even when you are doing your best to remain positive. Negative people can't always be avoided when you work with them or they are part of your family, but if you can minimize your exposure to their negativity, it can go a long way in boosting your mood.