Staying Positive

Sometimes, it’s really easy to feel positive about life. Things seem to be happening by themselves, and life is good.

But how do you stay positive in times when life is definitely not good? When problems seem to heap up, the weather is bad, there are delays everywhere and just too much to do? Or worse still, real problems such as loss or big life problems…

I know way too many people who start complaining, get stressed and start wishing for everything to be different.

But that doesn’t help at all! All it does is create a dependence to Chance – you are making your happiness depend on factors that you cannot influence. Your happiness depends on Chance throwing something positive in your way and you actually recognising it as positive.

Again, it’s more about changing your reaction to the situation than about changing the situation itself, which is often not possible. It’s about taking responsibility for your emotional state of mind.

How about trying something like this:

  1. Don’t try to achieve anything impossible. Do what you can, but no more. Often, things solve themselves (e.g. the impossible-to-meet deadline is changed), or people are understanding when you communicate what you can and can’t commit to.
  2. People around you are spreading stress? Spread smiles, it has an immediate effect.
  3. Need time to concentrate? Set a time that you need and communicate it.
  4. Kids are nagging and arguing? Take a moment to breathe and remember what wonderful people they actually are. Give them a cuddle instead of joining in on the frustration.
  5. There is too much to do? Make a list of tasks, and go through them one by one. Then you can delegate or communicate that you won’t get through everything in time.
  6. Everything is going wrong? Things are breaking, etc? Don’t focus on the problem too much. There is usually an opportunity just around the corner, arising out of the original problem.
  7. Carve out a bit of time for yourself every day. Even if you feel you could be filling all 24 hours of the day with non stop activity, this will not do you  any good. I personally do a bit of yoga every day – about 20 mins. It’s not much, but just doing something for myself makes the day feel much more fulfilling than without, and lets me feel a lot more positive about all the other tasks that were tying me down all day.
  8. Dealing with loss? Grief is a hard one. But on the other hand, you were lucky enough to have had what you have lost, and can grow a lot by consciously embracing and treasuring the time that you had before it was lost forever. Imagine not to have been touched by whoever is now gone in the first place! You would be missing out on part of what made you You.
  9. Give. Help others, pay compliments, be nice, do the best you can every day. It always comes back and is a lot more fulfilling than being the opposite.

I try to do all these things. Sometimes I have a breakdown. Sometimes too many things happen at the same time in an impossible order, and I fall into feeling very sorry for myself. In that case, I always try to get out of the negative attitude as fast as possible. I go for long walks, dance, play the piano, dig the garden up – whatever feels best. That usually does the trick and gives me enough strength to be in charge of my reactions again.

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