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  • Writer's pictureKate Bradshaw

Staying Positive

It can be difficult to stay positive when challenging situations present themselves, but a positive outlook is often key to overcoming adversity.

It’s not uncommon to feel frustrated or helpless while caring for a loved one who is suffering, however positive energy is often a much more effective strategy when it comes to playing a supportive role.

Positive thinking can also greatly benefit your emotional health, it has a way of energising you and helping you through the day. Here are some tips to help re frame some of that negativity and get you back on track.


Talking to friends or family members you trust, it can help to relieve the stress of your situation. Not only can it be a cathartic experience, the person you’re talking to might offer a fresh, inspiring point of view. The internet can also be an anonymous gold mine for seeking out people going through similar experiences to you. There’s nothing like talking to someone who’s dealing with the exact same situation to make you feel less alone and overwhelmed. Positive thinking thrives on positive experience


Acceptance plays a pivotal role in positive thinking. Fighting or denying a challenging situation can often make matters worse, so relax your mind and observe what’s in front of you exactly the way it is. Creativity can often spring from a relaxed state of mind and staying calm can provide the space for a solution. From acceptance and relaxation comes clarity. So, breathe, and try to accept the situation.


Doing things that bring you laughter and joy can be a great way to refresh and rejuvenate. Positive thinking thrives on positive experience, whether it’s going for a swim, watching a band you love or collecting light globes, make sure you put aside time for activities that give you pleasure. It’s important to take a break as it helps to relieve the feelings of stress and exhaustion that many people deal with every day.


Self-talk involves the things you mentally tell yourself. Think of this as the inner voice inside your mind that analyses how you perform and interact with the world around you. If your self-talk centres on negative thoughts, your self-esteem can suffer. Keep an ear out to the kind of thoughts that are running through your head. Are they mostly positive or negative? It’s easy to slip into a negative thought pattern during times of adversity, but it can be helpful to challenge those thoughts by asking yourself questions like ‘Is there another way I could look at this situation?’ or ‘Is this way of thinking helping to solve the problem?’ It takes practice, but mastering this technique is well worth the effort.


Learning to think positively is like strengthening a muscle; the more you use it, the stronger it will become. Researchers believe that your explanatory style, or how you explain events, is linked to whether you are an optimist or a pessimist. Optimists tend to have a positive explanatory style. If you attribute good things that happen to your skill and effort, then you are probably an optimist. Pessimists, on the other hand, usually have a negative attributional style. If you credit these good events to outside forces, then you likely have a more pessimistic way of thinking. The same principles hold true for how you explain negative events. Optimists tend to view bad or unfortunate events as isolated incidents that are outside of their control while pessimists see such things as more common and often blame themselves.


It can be tough to stay optimistic when there is little humour or light-heartedness in your life. Even when you are facing challenges, it is important to remain open to laughter and fun. Sometimes, simply recognising the potential humour in a situation can lessen your stress and brighten your outlook. Seeking out sources of humour such as watching a funny sitcom or reading jokes online can help you think more positive thoughts.

There is no on-off switch for positive thinking. Even if you are a natural-born optimist, positive thinking can take effort in the face of challenging situations. Like any goal, the key is to stick with it for the long-term. Even if you find yourself dwelling on negative thoughts, you can look for ways to minimise negative self-talk and cultivate a more optimistic outlook.

Finally, do not be afraid to enlist the help of friends and family. When you start engaging in negative thinking, call a friend or family member who you can count on to offer positive encouragement and feedback. Remember that to think positively, you need to nurture yourself. Investing energy in things you enjoy and surrounding yourself with optimistic people are just two ways that you can encourage positive thinking in your life.

We know it can be difficult to stay positive especially at times of stress or pressure. The tips above may help you to adopt some strategies that may assist you to re-frame your thinking and focus on positive things, if not, you may benefit from talking things through with a professional. Check out our page here if you need extra support.

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