If you are feeling overwhelmed with everything that is happening lately, check out this guide for how to remain positive in difficult times.
One-third of the world’s population has been in the Covid-19 lockdown. The social, economic, and health implications for everybody are huge. Looking after mental health is especially important.
It’s easy to become overwhelmed with everything that is happening lately. We all need some help to cope from time to time. Read on to learn how to remain positive in difficult times.
How to Remain Positive in Difficult Times
There’s a natural tendency to dismiss positives when our attention is taken up with difficulties. It’s easy to be positive when there are no difficulties to face. Preserving your positivity with resilience in the face of difficulties needs some wisdom and the recognition that you need to practice.
- Reasons to Be Cheerful
Counting your blessings sounds like a rather lightweight and dismissive piece of advice. Nevertheless, it can be a constructive and valuable way of re-balancing your mind in difficult times.
Start by making a list of the positives in your life. If you have got into the habit of focusing on the negatives in your situation it may be difficult to think positively. Stay with it and don’t stop until you have at least ten items on your list.
A list of positive things in your life might help you gain some balance, but what about the remaining negatives. Aren’t they still going to drag you down?
Reframing is a mental technique that addresses the negatives by first acknowledging them. Face up to the problems you have. By doing this you can begin to change them from problems into opportunities.
Ask yourself, “What else is possible?”
Will the changes you are having to cope with, bring opportunities for new experiences and new relationships? Will you learn the importance of some things you used to take for granted?
- Natures Helping Hand
Spending time in natural surroundings is proven to help lift a low mood. A walk in the country, a park, or some other natural space reduces activity in the prefrontal cortex. This is the part of the brain that is active when we turnover negative thoughts.
Even bringing nature into your home can have benefits. Listen to recordings of natural sounds has been shown to be therapeutic.
Negative thinking can be a habit. Breaking the habit of negative thinking maybe a way to more positive thinking. Having distractions that help stop you from slipping into a low mood can be helpful.
The distractions you chose depend on your own interests and taste. Try watching an amusing movie, baking bread, or learning a new skill. Take up an absorbing hobby such as knitting.
Write a poem a day or paint a picture every day. It can provide you with a regular time to refresh your emotional batteries.
- Help Others
If your mind is constantly turned in on yourself it can tend to become somewhat negative. Turning your attention to others can help you be more positive.
Realizing that others have needs, perhaps greater needs than you have can make you feel better about your situation. Helping others feels good too.
Find an organization that needs volunteers and offer your services. Call a friend or relative who may be feeling low and be a good listener. Make your neighborhood more pleasant for you and your neighbors by picking up litter.
- Focus on What You Can Control
The stoic philosopher, Epictetus who was born in AD 50, taught that you should not worry about things you can’t control. Focus your attention on what you can change. The main thing you can change is how you respond to your circumstances.
This ancient philosophy served Epictetus well. He was born a slave but in later life was friendly with the Roman Emperor, Hadrian. His teaching is valued to this day.
- Connect With Others
Social contact is a wonderful way of staying positive. See these best friends quotes for inspiration.
If you can’t make contact directly there are many ways of doing it remotely.
Technology-enabled ways of connecting include social media, email, and video conferencing. Sharing time with others on Zoom or FaceTime helps you feel like you are not isolated. Others are sharing the same experiences you are.
- Take Exercise
Exercise is good for your physical health. Did you know that it’s also good for your mental health? Taking exercise should be part of your regime for staying positive.
Physical exercise helps relieve stress, improves cognitive function, helps you sleep better, and lifts your overall mood. It does this by improving your brain function and health.
Taking exercise also releases powerful chemicals in your brain. These chemicals, called endorphins, make you feel good. Take exercise regularly and you’ll find that you want to keep coming back for more to get the endorphin reward.
- Be Mindful
Meditation has been practiced for thousands of years by people all over the world. It’s practiced by Buddhists that are influenced by ancient eastern traditions. It’s also practiced by hi-flying corporate executives whose mindful practice is as modern as their hi-tech consumer goods and Instagram influenced food fads.
Simple breathing exercises can be a good way to start. Sit quietly and focus on your breathing. Notice your breath as it passes in and out of your nose.
This calming activity is restful. It also helps to quieten the brain. The everyday concerns of the day that can seem like an inner monkey chatter are consigned to another time.
Action Plan for Staying Positive
Choose a few of these ideas and make them part of the way you live. Be persistent and resolve to give them a chance. Develop your resilience and you’ll have found how to remain positive in difficult times.
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