Staying Positive During Difficult Times

Whenever we go through hard moments in our lives, we tend to let those moments bring us down. It is important that we try to not let these feelings drag on. Of course, it is crucial to feel our emotions and try to cope with them, but eventually we need to continue living our lives so that we continue to strive towards our goals. When it comes to positive thinking, it is important to start with the basics. One thing to try out is to first identify what is causing you to experience the negative emotions and/or thoughts. Once we identify those things, then we can begin working on maintaining a positive mind. 

Having a more positive approach on life situations has been shown to help with stress. In fact, there are studies that demonstrate how positive thinking can increase the ability to deal with stressors in life more effectively. [1] As previously mentioned, positive thinking doesn’t necessarily mean that we just avoid or ignore our life problems. However, we can attempt to shift our thought process so that we change our outlook on certain situations. Whenever we can learn to control those thoughts, then we can learn to better handle stressful situations or other situations that would normally bring our emotions down. 

There is research out there showing how prioritizing certain thought processes or behaviors can help with overall satisfaction. For example, there is research showing how prioritizing positivity in your life can result in experiencing more positive emotions and fewer depressive symptoms.[2] We may come across an obstacle during our lives which will cause distress. For example, getting into a mild car accident. You’re on your way to work, having a pretty decent day so far and out of nowhere someone crashes into you. You realize you’re not hurt, and neither is the person in the other vehicle. A normal human response would be to immediately get upset about the situation and the damage it’s caused. You realize you’re now going to be late to work, you have to call the police and then deal with the insurance companies. However, if we stop and think about the positives out of this, it may end up helping a bit. You realize that you didn’t get hurt and neither did the other person. Thankfully, that was avoided and now it’s just a small inconvenience you have to deal with. When you prioritize positivity in situations like this, it may help with the overall stress gained from the situation. You have to try to say “this is in the past, and I will move on from this.” 

Aside from just looking at the positives in negative situations, we as humans can attempt to magnetize ourselves more towards happy thoughts and positive situations in life. For example, we can try by engaging in more pleasant activities in life and try to maintain that rather than just letting the positive thoughts float away. We can try reconnecting with nature, reconnecting with friends and family, focusing on ourselves, engaging in acts of kindness, etc… It is easy to start off by doing these things to help your mental health and experiencing positive thoughts and emotions, however maintaining happiness and positivity is the hard part. The important takeaway is to maintain and continue with this paradigm shift. Once we incorporate certain thought processes and behaviors in our daily life situations, then we can continue to better ourselves and even share this with other people. It’s never easy dealing with major life events in the future, but if we start by slowly changing these things, then we can honestly start to see a difference in our lives and overall satisfaction. 
[1] Naseem, Zarghuna, and Ruhi Khalid. "Positive thinking in coping with stress and health outcomes: Literature review." Journal of Research & Reflections in Education (JRRE) 4, no. 1 (2010).
[2] Catalino, Lahnna I., Sara B. Algoe, and Barbara L. Fredrickson. “Prioritizing Positivity: An Effective Approach to Pursuing Happiness?” Emotion 14, no. 6 (2014): 1155–61.

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