5 Ways to Stay Positive During Tough Times
Life is a series of peaks and valleys. Sometimes you’re up, sometimes you’re down. But it’s the difficult times where we need a little more support and guidance.
I’m a firm believer that it’s how you respond in your moments of defeat that really defines the type of person you are.
When you can improve your ability to navigate the difficult times, you not only live a happier life, but you also grow as a person. Here’s how to make getting through hard times less difficult:
1. Stay Positive
“Life is not the way it’s supposed to be, it’s the way it is. The way you cope is what makes the difference.” – Virginia Satir
Now I know this may sound cliche, but the thing about cliches is that they’re typically true. Staying positive is only a small part of getting through the difficult times, but it’s an important part.
When you stay positive, you’re putting yourself in the best position possible to not only make it through those bad times but become a better person in the process.
You can do one of two things when life takes a turn for the worst. You can remain positive and remind yourself that there really is a light at the end of the tunnel and that you’ll make it through, or you can curl up in the fetal position and relegate yourself to being nothing more than a victim of circumstance.
I’m not saying that you can never have a bad day, or get a little discouraged, or shed a tear. But I am saying you have to eventually pick up the pieces and start moving forward.
2. Get Creative
There are times when you can’t do much to change your situation. You just have to deal with it. But there are other times when you can actively work to make the situation better.
The solution won’t be in plain sight, because if it was you probably wouldn’t have gotten in that situation in the first place. But if you can take a step back and see the bigger picture, you may discover some things that can help you.
A great example of getting creative during a difficult time is the story behind Wrigley’s gum. The founder, William Wrigley Jr. was a soap and baking powder salesman in the 1890s and he always offered free gum to all of his clients. With his career as a salesman taking a turn for the worst, he noticed one thing that forever changed his life; people loved the gum he gave away more than the products he was actually selling. It was that one creative insight that got him through that difficult time and made him a monumental success.
3. Learn From the Difficult Times
When I find myself in the middle of an ugly situation, I like to pick everything apart and see what went wrong and what I could’ve done differently. I always end up learning something that helps me and I eventually get a really clear picture of what I need to do to make sure I’m not in the same situation again. Or if I do find myself in a similar situation, I know what to do to minimize the difficulty of the situation.
It’s easier getting through a difficult time when you know the chances of it happening again are slim to none.
4. Change It Up
After you identify the key takeaways from your difficult time, you just need to make a change. If it’s a change you can implement immediately, do it. You don’t want to be in the middle of a difficult situation longer than necessary. If it’s something that you can’t implement right now, take note of it so you can use it when the situation calls for it.
But it’s pointless to learn from the difficult times if what you learned doesn’t directly affect your actions.
I’ve really come to embrace the difficulties and struggles that life hands me because I know there’s a silver lining in each one of them. You’re a lot more resilient than you give yourself credit for.
5. Know What You’re Grateful For
Gratitude means showing appreciation for all the good in your life, instead of focusing on the negative. Get clear about what it is that you’re grateful for.
Write out everything in your life you can think of that you’re grateful for having or experiencing. An even more powerful exercise is to think of the one person you’re most grateful for and write a note explaining why you’re so grateful for having that person. Then give him or her a call and read that note to them.
The difficult time you’re going through will start to seem less significant when it’s compared to everything that’s going right in your life.