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  • Writer's pictureKate Bradshaw

Staying Positive-Even When Times are Hard

People often ask for advice and one of the most common questions we get asked is about remaining positive.

Recently a mother who we have been supporting at home asked:

"I am doing everything I can to remain positive, but it seems like my personal life is becoming harder and harder every day.

I know it's important to focus on the positive and not the negative so what should I do to keep thinking positive thoughts?”

We know that being positive won't necessarily make things easier, however, we strongly believe that adopting a positive attitude, can assist you to better respond to your situation and give you the confidence to ride out the storm. Here are 8 actions that we believe can assist you to develop a positive mindset, even when life is challenging:

Be Grateful

Even if it seems everything is going wrong, there are things that are going right. Every day, write down all the things you are grateful for. Be descriptive of each item. Feel the joy those things bring you. Even if it's something small like, the sun is shining, be grateful for it. This will help you to stay focused on the positive.

Look for Silver Linings

Sometimes events that initially look bad, turn out to be really good things. It is sometimes true that every cloud really does have a silver lining, but it's just not ready to show itself yet. If you look for the silver linings in life, you can begin to see the opportunities that are created by your misfortune or bad luck.

Often the Greatest Doubt Occurs Just Before Breakthrough

This is a quote by Lama Surya Das from his book, Awakening the Buddha Within: Tibetan Wisdom for the Western World. If you can think of your difficulties as being necessary to make a breakthrough to the new life you want to lead, it will make it easier. You're breaking free of your old life on the way to your new, more exciting life.

Look at the Big Picture and Focus

Decide on what direction you want your life to head. Think about what areas you want to explore, what experiences you want to feel, what do you want to accomplish in your life? What kind of person do you want to be? Then start taking steps towards those goals. Even if it’s just tiny steps every day, stay focused on where you want to go, and keep moving forwards. Then the little things you’re going through right now won’t matter as much because you have an exciting new direction to focus on instead.

Don’t Let Discouragement Discourage You

Here’s a quote we like about not letting yourself get discouraged.

"Discouragement is a negative emotion with more than one trick up its dark sleeve. It tricks you into mentally or emotionally dwelling in the very place you want to leave. Drop all such sorrow permanently by daring to see through this deception of the unconscious mind. You have a destination far beyond where you find yourself standing today" - Guy Finley

Keep this in mind as you continue to take steps towards your goals. You do have a destination far beyond where you are today.

Seek Inspiration

If you keep reading inspirational articles and books, it will motivate you to stay positive. You will see that everyone goes through rough patches but that they do make it through. It will be worth it in the end. Also, there are some good forums you can join where even just reading the other posts can motivate you to stay positive. Or, if you want to make a posting, you can gain support from others as well. Who knows, you may even be able to answer some one else’s post and help them out too.

Take a Break

Forget about your problems and just go out and do something fun. Go to a movie, go out with some fun, positive thinking friends, go to a play, go for a bike ride, just do something. Get out and just enjoy yourself for a little bit. Sometimes, we just get so wrapped up in our problems that we forget to have fun. Taking a break will re-energise you and you may find that things aren't as bad as you thought.

Stay in the Present

When you spend your time in the present, then it becomes so much easier to access positive emotions and to stay practical about what you can actually do, in response to your situation. When you get lost in the past or future like so many of us do, then worries and fears can take over. When we replay past mistakes over and over again they can easily drag you down into pessimism.

By moving slowly through your morning and hopefully through much of the rest of your day, it becomes easier to mindfully stay in the present. Another simple way to reconnect with the present and stay in the moment, is to focus just on what is going on around you right now for a minute or two with all your senses. See it. Hear it. Smell it. Feel the sun, rain or cold wind on your skin. It might sound like a small and insignificant thing to do. But this simplifying re-connection with the moment can have a very positive effect on the rest of your day.

So, there's at least 8 things you can do to help you remain in a positive frame of mind when your life is challenging. Hang in there. This will pass and you will soon be experiencing your new, positive approach to life.

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