Staying upbeat and positive when all seems bleak is the underrated skill we could all do with sharpening.
The ups and downs of life are inevitable. We cannot always feel happy, but on the other side of the coin, we cannot always be in the depths of despair either. It may add a twinge of sadness when you find yourself completely elated, to realise that this will not last. But we can also find comfort in the fact any dark period or low mood we are experiencing is also only temporary.
So How Do We Stay Positive?
1. Know that Moods and life situations are as changeable as the weather
We may not particularly enjoy a rainy day – but we know that it isn’t permanent. We aren’t sure when, but we know that the sun will inevitably come out again. And although we can give ourselves permission to remain indoors or wrap up while the storm persists, we can do so while comforted by the knowledge that one day, we will enjoy the sun on our skin once more.
In essence, the world may appear to be a frightening place at times, but as it is ever-changing, the key is in how you react and respond to it. Since most things in life aren’t permanent, the permanence must come from within. In other words, we must build a stable foundation of emotional strength that will not be shaken by any of life-s storms – even if you do still feel the cold and rain at skin-level.
As discussed in my article about the power of positive thinking, we must bear in mind the ancient and yet ever-relevant stoic way of thinking that although you can’t always control what goes on outside of yourself, you have full authority over what happens within.
If you are distressed by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing itself, but to your estimate of it; and this you have the power to revoke at any moment.
― Marcus Aurelius
2. Share your fears with others
You’ve probably heard the sweet saying that “a problem shared is a problem halved.” Often, the simple act of opening up to a close one about our worries makes them seem instantly more manageable. And the person you tell doesn’t need to be a trained counsellor for this to work. Simply having someone listen to you and be there for you emotionally can be just the reminder you need that people care about you. And often, once spoken out loud, your fear already seems to shrink in significance.
3. Be your own best friend
If you’re not ready to share what’s on your mind just yet, or simply don’t have anyone you feel you can tell, then remember that inner-strength comes from within. I am sure that you have comforted loves ones on countless occasions when they were going through tough times, so you already know what to do. What would you say to someone else who just opened up to you about the very issue you’re facing?
Maybe you would reassure them that they are not to blame, that things will get better, that they can face any obstacle that comes their way. Well, darling, it’s about time you also directed this compassion towards yourself. You already have the answers, it’s about time you started listening to them yourself, and learn to comfort yourself for the ultimate level of self-love.
4. “this too shall pass” – Yes, it really will!
Cliché, I know. But it is crucial to remember during a darker period of your life that this situation – however bad it is right now – will not be as bad forever. Even if it is the very worst-case scenario, such as the loss of a loved one or serious health problem, with time, you will either begin to heal or come to terms with the bad situation. It may feel like it will never get better, that you will never feel the same, but we humans are made of strong stuff, darling. And we have all already come through great struggles – so just look to your own past as evidence that you can get through this, whatever amount of strength it requires.
Remember how terrible you have felt in the past – how you really thought life as you know it was over and you were on the edge of despair? Well, you’re still here somehow. And I am sure that you have experienced many joys between then and the present. So if you have ploughed through and come out the other side, then you can do so again – even if it feels impossible right now.
5. Take lessons from this time
Finding the lessons you can learn after a dark period is crucial for your ability to handle the next tricky time – so take this present struggle as a valuable opportunity for self-development. Remember how you’re feeling right now and take a mental note of it. You don’t want to hold onto your sorrow forever – of course not. But even when things are good again, don’t completely forget the bad times. This way, you can learn to be more mindful and grateful for your higher points, and also get to grips with the impermanence of all our emotions, encouraging us to be more present, and less emotionally volatile.
“What really frightens and dismays us is not external events themselves, but the way in which we think about them. It is not things that disturb us, but our interpretation of their significance.”
What are your tips for staying positive even when life gets hard? We would love to hear your ideas in the comments so we can all help each other get through our personal battles.
Stay positive, darlings xx