Mindful Strategies for Staying Positive During Difficult Times

Everyone goes through difficult periods in life, no matter who you are. It is emotionally taxing for many of us when the world gets flipped upside down with several challenging problems. Humans have adapted and found ways to make it through these hard and sometimes unbearable times. We always know in the back of our mind that it won’t last forever, and good days are on the horizon.

For the times that you ask yourself, “Why me? What have I done to deserve this?” here are some tools that you may find helpful in getting through chaotic times.

Limit Your Exposure
It seems like everywhere you look, there is the news or someone’s opinion about the news. It is 24/7 on our televisions, radios, phones, social media, and you can’t seem to get any relief. It’s time to protect our eyes, ears, and minds from too much negativity. Information in our mind acts remarkably like food in our body. When we put junk food in, we feel like junk. As soon as we start putting good stuff in, we feel better.

Try limiting exposure to the junk coming from the news or social media by deciding how much time, if any, you spend looking at your devices. Start by turning off notifications that pop up on your phone. You may also want to take note of the friends who post too much negativity and either “unfriend” or “unfollow” them. Completely unplug and spend time in nature to clear your head from all the negativity energy. Listen to TED talks and learn something new. Start a book. Do something that makes you feel good. You don’t need to always be glued to what’s going on in the world.

Reevaluate Your Thoughts
An effective way to limit the stress in your brain and body is by being aware of your thoughts and reframing your choice of words you use to describe those thoughts. The news may cause feelings of fear and stress on any given day. You must learn how to examine your thoughts and reframe them. Instead of jumping into worrying about what’s going on, take a step back with that thought or feeling. Identify it and then reframe it with an, “Even though___, I am ____” statement.

When you are going through something tough, try to look at the situation from a bird’s-eye view. Ask yourself what you have control over and what you do not. Shift your focus to what you have control over and let go of what you do not.

It Starts With You
To make a difference in the world, it starts with you! We can’t control other’s opinions, thoughts, or actions, so start with what you can control. Focus on yourself and what you can do to stay positive during tough times. Try thinking of acts of kindness to share with others. Check-in with family and friends, buy someone flowers, or smile at a stranger. Doing things that make your soul happy will help get you through tough times. Not only will you make someone else’s day, but you’ll also feel better.

Do you remember sitting in high school history class, learning about difficult times in the past, and thinking, “If I were alive then, I would have…”? Well, you are alive now, in the present! What are you doing to make a difference? Often the smallest acts make the most significant impacts. Create positivity in the world around you, and it will be contagious.

Compassion is deeply rooted in human nature; it is both innate and can be learned. Humans want to ease the suffering of other living beings. We take on many burdens that we should not have to bear and, as a result, become surrounded by negativity. As soon as we start letting go of those burdens and focusing on ourselves, we will start living with a more positive outlook on life.

Final Thoughts
When times get tough, and it starts to take a toll on your mental wellbeing, you need to focus more on the positives in life. So many things are changing, and it’s hard to stay positive when all you see on the news and social media is negativity. Limit your screen time and exposure. You don’t need to know what is going on every hour of the day. Replace that time with something that makes you happy and feels good. Change your frame of mind! Instead of worrying about a situation right away, take a step back and reevaluate if it is going to affect you. If it’s something you can’t control, try not to worry about it. Start doing things that make you happy because being positive in tough situations starts with you.

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