Staying positive in tough times can be incredibly difficult. Let’s face it, we live in a stressful world. We face plenty of challenges and have numerous obligations. It’s no wonder it can be hard to put on a smile and think optimistically sometimes.
However, no matter how difficult, it’s crucial to keep trying and never give up.
Going through periods of highs and lows is a part of life. But sometimes, things feel like they are spinning out of control. A crisis comes out of nowhere and leaves us feeling completely without hope, regardless of whether it is a personal or professional crisis or something that affects the whole community or even the whole world.
At times like these, it is more important than ever to keep a positive outlook.
Staying positive through the tough times is what will help you stay sane through the crisis. It is key to reducing stress levels and warding off illness so you can be there for your family who need you now more than ever.
If you are struggling to stay positive in tough times, these tips will help you stay hopeful. When you scroll down, you will find 3 actionable steps you can take right away and a list of suggested reading if you are looking for even more information.
Top Tips for Staying Positive in Tough Times
Remember – This Too Shall Pass
When you are in the midst of a crisis, it is nearly impossible to keep things in perspective. But no matter how bad things seem, you have to hold on to the thought that everything is temporary.
You have to believe that ‘this too shall pass. Everything in life in temporary
Just being able to see the light at the end of the tunnel and knowing that a difficult period will eventually end can help get you through a rough day, week or year. and that you’ll come through the crisis so much stronger.
Focus on Things You Can Control
When your world seems like it is spinning out of control, you may feel helpless. This just adds to your stress and sends you in a loop of despair and helplessness.
One way to address this and stay more positive is to focus on the things you can control. Instead of fretting about things out of your control, focus on making sure you do your best job on the things you can control.
First and foremost on making sure you maintain a healthy lifestyle, with special emphasis on a nutritious diet and participating in some physical activity every day. It’s more important than ever to stay healthy during stressful times.
Make a Plan
One of the single best things you can do to maintain positivity during tough times is to make a plan on how to deal with it. When you focus on the solution rather than the problem, you will naturally feel more positive. You will feel like you are rising to the challenge.
The key is to think one step at a time. Trying to find an overarching solution can leave you feeling completely overwhelmed and more likely to give up. A better way to proceed is to take it one day at a time, one step at a time. The sense of accomplishment will leave you feeling motivated to keep going.
Focus On Things You’re Grateful For
Even during great personal turmoil, we all still have things you are grateful for. When things get tough, it is vital to remember that there is good in the world, and more importantly, in your life. When you are struggling, take some time to list the things in your life you are grateful for.
Starting a gratitude practice is a powerful tool in staying positive during tough times. You can write out what you’re thankful for in any notebook or you can get a gratitude journal. I like using a gratitude journal because it acts as a lovely keepsake.
Remember, you don’t have to write down a long list every day. Just write down three things you are grateful for and a line or two about why you chose those three particular things. It could be a supportive spouse, healthy kids, loving parents, or friends who are there for you through thick and thin. Just remember, it’s not enough to merely name the person or think you’re grateful for. You must write down why you’re grateful for them.
Check out these fabulous Gratitude Journals that you will want to write in every single day. All of these have received rave reviews by people who have used them and benefited from writing in them.
Reach Out for Support
Support in and support out! Reach out to loved ones who are feeling the stress and offer your support. And don’t hesitate to reach out if you need assistance too.
When things are dire, it is always reaffirming when e everybody pulls together and helps each other.
Read Motivating Content
The content you read can influence your entire outlook. When you read an inspirational book, it can uplift your spirits by encouraging you to interpret things more positively. Reading motivational material can inspire you to overcome limitations, make better choices, and take positive actions more often.
Here are some recommendations for motivational books to read:
Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life… And Maybe the World, by William H. McRaven. This is available as an audible audiobook, hardcover book, audio CD and Kindle, and this is a beautiful journal that complements the book Make Your Bed: A Daily Journal: A Daily Journal
You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life, by Jen Sincero – More than 7,900 users have raved about this book and that’s just on Amazon. You can choose from multiple formats – hardcover, paperback, Audible Audiobook, MP3 CD, digital and Kindle.
Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff and Its All Small Stuff. Simple Ways to Keep the Little Things from Taking Over Your Life by Richard Carlson. This is part of the hugely popular Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff Series and is available in paperback, hardcover, audio CD and Kindle.
Girl, Stop Apologizing by Rachel Hollis. This is another hugely popular motivational book with over 4,100 reviews. It is available in paperback, hardcover, MP3 CD, Kindle, and Audiobook.
The Power of Positive Thinking by Dr. Norman Vincent Peale. The original positive thinking book that has sold millions of copies around the world starting in the pre-digital era. You can now find it in multiple formats including paperback, hardback. Audio CD, Mass Market Paperback, and Kindle.
Journal Your Feelings
Journaling is a powerful tool in so many ways. By simply giving you a place to express your fears and concerns, a journal helps you maintain positivity outside of its pages.
Do you know how good it feels to vent to a friend? Well, consider your journal as your best friend.
Take it one step further and get yourself a motivational or inspirational journal. These journals have a daily positive thought at the top of the page for you to mull over every day.
Distractions are usually the worst. We are often trying to learn how to avoid or deal with them. They aren’t that bad when you are struggling to stay positive in tough times, though. No matter how silly they seem, you should embrace distractions that bring you joy in tumultuous times.
Go ahead and catch up on those comedy shoes. Nothing like some laughter to keep you in good spirits and staying positive during those tough times.
Strive to Develop Good Habits
Trying to bread bad habits is always challenging and even more so when you are already stressed. It only adds to your stress, which is the last thing you need.
Rather than trying to break bad habits, focus on developing and strengthening some good habits. As you do so, you may find yourself doing less of the bad and more of the good.
Start with developing these simple habits that are good for you and not at all difficult to maintain.
- Start each morning with a smile
- Meditate for a few minutes every day
- Stretch for a few minutes after you wake up
- Focus on the good in things
- Clean the clutter a little at a time
- Eat healthier
- Exercise more
- Spend quality time with your family and friends
Banish the Negativity
While eliminating all the negativity in your life is a rather lofty goal, you can certainly identify a few that you can shed. Taking some time to reflect on the things that cause you the most stress and coming up with a plan to solve or get rid of them is a worthwhile exercise.
For example, one thing that causes a great deal of stress for a lot of people is clutter. You can probably relate to this one. Seeing clutter in your home, at work or in your life can distract you from focusing on the positive things around you.
Have you heard of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo? Yes, it’s a decluttering how-to book, but it also lays out a plan for banishing negative clutter and finding joy in your life. The premise is to go through your belongings and identify the ones that spark joy. The things that spark joy, you keep it. The ones that don’t, you get rid of it.
Also, surround yourself with positive people. It is so important to protect your mental space at this time.
Take a Break From the News
Sometimes our circumstances are so dire that we are forced to think about our problems constantly. It is OK to take a break. You can take a break from the news, social media, or other people. It might not be easy but taking a break from external stimuli can help keep you positive.
And definitely do not watch the news right before bed. Most news channels tend to sensationalize events and this can leave you feeling anxious and unable to sleep. Even when you do fall off to sleep, it will be a restless sleep that will leave you feeling tired when you wake up.
Instead of listening to the news, pick up one of those inspirational books listed above so you end the day on a positive note.
Don’t Ignore the Reality
No matter what you are dealing with, ignoring it is rarely the answer. While ignoring problems might feel good in the short-term, it will sap your long-term positivity. Plus, many of the other tips listed here require you to acknowledge your circumstances first. So stay informed but use your better judgement about where to draw the line and stop. Don’t let the bad news engulf you.
Before getting to the actionable tips, here’s why staying positive in tough times is so important.
Why Staying Positive in Tough Times is So Important
When you’re in a stressful situation, your gut reaction can be one of either optimism or pessimism. By definition, if you’re optimistic, you have hope and confidence about the successful outcome of the situation, whereas if you’re pessimistic, you have a tendency to believe that the worst will happen.
That negative thinking and lack of hope can lead to unnecessary stress. Switching your attitude and eliminating negative thoughts can keep stress at bay.
“If there is no solution to the problem then don’t waste time worrying about it.
If there is a solution to the problem, then don’t waste time worrying about it.”
– Dalai Lama
Decreases Anxiety and Depression
Similarly, positive thinking can lower signs of anxiety and depression. When you feel anxious, you feel worried, nervous, or uneasy and when you feel depressed, you have feelings of dejection, sadness, or despondency.
Turning off the negative thoughts going through your head and replacing them with positive talk can leave you feeling safe and less worried.
“Don’t worry, be happy.” – Bobby McFerrin
Boosts Your Immune System
Thinking positively not only offers you a mental boost it also gives you physical benefits as well. Researchers have shown that happiness can boost your immune system.
If you’re in a stressful situation, thinking optimistically can boost the cell-mediated immune response in your body, whereas thinking pessimistically can weaken your immune system.
“The most powerful force to maintaining a good immune system is the power of positive thinking and not allowing yourself to be unnecessarily drained emotionally by worries and fears.” – Frederick Lenz
Prolongs Your Life
Negative emotions are natural, but if prolonged, your risk for developing disease can increase.
Looking at the effects of negative thoughts on your immune system again, you can see that a weakened immune system can raise your susceptibility to contracting an infection which can lead to illness.
Also, a study in the Women’s Health Initiative showed a link between optimism and health. Optimistic people tend to engage in positive health behaviors such as staying active, avoiding smoking and following their medical advice. Living this way can lead to a lower mortality rate.
“I have decided to be happy because it’s good for my health.” – Voltaire
Attracts Other Positive Thinkers
No one wants to be around a Debbie Downer for too long. If you’re typically a happy and optimistic person, others with a similar disposition can find that attractive.
And keeping Negative Nellies out of your life can help prevent others from bringing you down.
“Like a magnet, we draw in what we constantly think about. If you’re always thinking positive, happy, joyful thoughts, you’re going to be a positive, happy, joyful person, and you will attract other happy, upbeat, positive people.” – Unknown
3 Actionable Steps for Staying Positive In Tough Times
#1 – Write down your feelings. Think about everything you are dealing with and how it’s affecting you and write that down. Don’t worry about grammar or spelling; just focus on getting your feelings out of your head and onto paper.
#2- Make a plan. Think about what your biggest struggle is right now and devise a plan to tackle it. Set some goals and deadlines. You will feel more positive by just having the plan, and even more positive if you act on it.
#3- Reach out. Whether you are reaching out to offer support or request it, reaching out will help you feel like part of a community. When we all work together, we can overcome anything.
You may also be interested in reading these inspirational books:
Most of the books listed above are available in several formats. You can choose from Kindle, paperback or hardback if you love reading. If you prefer to listen, most of the books are also available in the audio format through Amazon Audible. You get the 1-month trial period free of cost so you can even choose one of the books above and listen to the audiobook for free during your free trial period.
Do you have any tips for staying positive in tough times? Please share in the comments below to inspire others.