How to Stay Positive When All Seems Lost
Does the following scenario sound familiar? You think to yourself, I can’t do this. My skills aren’t good enough. I have no idea what I’m doing. Today stinks. I am a failure. During the day, does doubt fill your mind? Do fear and negative thoughts pervade at every turn? If so, relax, you are human. Sometimes, we all fall prey to negativity’s alluring trap. When we do, we are too hard on ourselves and settle into a gloom funk. If now is one of those tough times, remember that what matters is how you recover. Your positive attitude will determine your next move and how you grow. It isn’t always easy to stay positive, but with these 10 strategies (and some positivity enhancing quotes), you’ll always know how to stay positive when all seems lost.
Hope will prevail!
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Stay Positive by Helping Others
To start, smiling is the simplest way to boost your positivity. If that fact wasn’t enough, Dale Carnegie decreed in How to Win Friends and Influence People that smiling is also one of the easiest ways to make someone like you. When you smile, it triggers their nervous system to return the favor. The idea seemed simple enough so I decided to experiment and for one day, smile at every person I met. As I walked about my day, I beamed my biggest smile and, almost universally, received a large grin in return.
While Mr. Carnegie correctly predicted how people would react, he forgot to mention how smiling and seeing it returned would make me feel. Each encounter left me with a small zing of pleasure. By smiling and seeing someone else’s happiness reflected made me happy. Since I see people all day long, I received a small jolt of positivity many times throughout the day. Sometimes all you need to do is smile.
Because of your smile, you make the world more beautiful.
Thich Nhat Hanh
When dealing with life’s tougher blows, many throw themselves into their work. Instead, why not throw ourselves into helping others when we are down? For example, when I’m upset, I find that helping someone else with their plight lightens my internal rain cloud. Generally, by the time we’ve solved the problem, my issues seem smaller or less significant. Try it. You might just find that brightening someone else’s day sweetens your own.
Motivating Yourself to Stay Positive and Stay Away from Negative Thinking
In this section, we discuss various ways to motivate yourself to stay positive.
Consistent Good Habits
As mentioned in Flab to Abs: How Fitness Consistency Can Change Your Life in 1 Month consistency can revolutionize your life. Not only in the physical fitness realm, but also in the mental arena. Your consistent good habits will reinforce themselves and allow you to rid yourself of negativity. To build consistency, start small. Set easy-to-attain goals that build upon themselves and help you gain confidence in yourself. One day will snowball into the next and soon you’ll find that the momentum of good habits will lead to a healthy and more positive lifestyle.
Consistent Good Habits How-To
To start, try allotting 5 minutes for positivity. During those five minutes, state the following: I am awesome. My body and soul radiate beauty. I am worthy of all the good that comes my way. I will succeed in all aspects. Negativity has no place in my day. Positivity flows through me. Let me be a light for others. I am amazing.
It may sound hokey and you will feel silly at first. I giggled the first time I tried positive reinforcement. As much as you may feel ridiculous, you deserve to be reminded of your worth and beauty.
You are beautiful and you are enough. Don’t let you tell you anything differently.
Once you have mastered mental positive reinforcement, move onto small acts of kindness. Help others and spread goodness. Everyone deserves a little extra sunshine. Below are the three items I use every day to ensure that when I go to bed, I have left the world a better place.
- Did I make someone smile today?
- How did I help someone today?
- Did I teach someone today?
- Bonus! Did I learn something today?
After these two steps, you determine your journey. All of us show love and positivity in different ways. You know what works best for you.
To chronicle your successful habits, consider detailing them in a planner like the ones below.
Once you replace negative thoughts with positive ones, you’ll start having positive results.
Set Goals For Yourself
Goals give you a purpose and help you focus when the going gets tough. Your prize motivates you when you have doubts. The vision and goals you set will allow you to prioritize and stay on track. You will realize that doubts are normal parts of rational thoughts. Then you’ll kick those nay-saying thoughts to the curb and continue striving towards achieving each and every one of your goals. For those of you whose goals include improving their fitness, read Strengthen Your Resolve + Achieve Your Goals as well as sign up to receive my freebie: How to Set and Achieve Your Goal In 3 Steps.
To help with your goals, try journaling them in a goal planner. I use a similar one to ensure that I stay on track to achieve all my 2019 goals.
Pep talks! When you are happy, write a letter or record a podcast for yourself. Then seal it and save it for a particularly bad day. You’ll know when you need it. At that time, create a small occasion by settling into a comfortable chair with your beverage of choice (wine, coffee, tea, water, beer, juice, no judgment here). Make sure you wear comfortable clothing. Once ready, open the letter or start the recording. Listen to yourself tell you all the reasons why you ARE fabulous, strong, and Superman/Superwoman. Let the self-love flow over you. Rejoice in you.
You are important and beautiful.
Remember, these letters and recordings don’t have to be lengthy. You could write a paragraph or pages of affirmation. Completely up to you. Write what feels comfortable to you. Below are some topics to help you start.
- Read me if you’re having a bad day.
- Listen to me when your boss yelled at you.
- Listen if you got into a fight with ____.
- Read this letter if you want to give up.
- 10 Reasons Why I’m A Boss.
- Read if you’re feeling lonely.
- Listen if you’re doubting yourself.
- Angry? Calm down with this podcast.
- I need help believing in myself today.
- Listen to me if all seems lost.
- You are beautiful.
To help you with your positivity quest, I recommend using one of the voice recorders and stationery below!
This is a wonderful day. I’ve never seen this one before.
Try Something New
While trying something new may scare you, conversely, it may open up a new avenue to you. The stretching of your creativity will force you to spend less time dwelling on unhealthy thoughts. Your new activity may be as simple as trying a new book genre. Additionally, starting a new craft gives you the opportunity to create something with your own hands. With those types of activities, you will gain immediate satisfaction of seeing the fruits of your labor. Below is a list of various crafts you can try.
- Crafts (knitting, latch hook, crochet)
- Cooking or baking
- Start a blog
- Fashion design
- Graphic design
- Painting, sculpture, or pottery
- Play an instrument
- Learn a new language
Try something new like journaling.
Cloak Yourself in Positivity
You are the sum of the 5 people closest to you. The next time you feel down, look around. See with whom you spend most time. You may find that one or two of them aren’t exactly positive. Maybe they complain or only focus on the negative in their (and your) life. Maybe they subtly undermine you or cut you down. Or, maybe, they just don’t spend their time productively as you do.
Your time is important. Ensure you use every available moment to boost yourself up, not bring yourself down. Your time is an investment. Treat it as such. In order to use your time wisely, choose to hang out with people with whom you admire or from whom you want to learn. When surround yourself in positivity and a transformation will occur. Spend time with those who radiate positive energy. You’ll find that positivity already surrounds you, but you have to harness its energy.
Note: A simple way to reduce time with negative nancies is to hang out with them less by saying you’re busy. You do NOT need to be rude or abruptly end your friendship. Instead, choose to spend smaller amounts of time with them and/or create group events where positive people outnumber the negative. Maybe they’ll become more positive too.
Positive people = more positive energy!
Stay Positive Through Self Care
This section is all about self-love. By taking care of yourself, you show yourself respect and this love will shine outwards inspiring a more positive outlook.
Find Your Outlet
One way to rid yourself of negativity is to immerse yourself in an activity that causes the world around you to fade. Into what channels do you vent your frustrations and anxiety? Personally, running and reading transport me to a different sphere. The outside world ceases to exist or cause me stress. I live in the moment and nothing matters except for the path in front of me and the air I need to move. The movement causes endorphins to fire and for these times to fill with happiness. You deserve to feel good as you shed stress.
In addition to its relief, these outlets allow you to cultivate a community from the people you meet. For me, I have running partners as well as I am part of running groups, book clubs, and online book forums. These groups become communities that can further bolster your positivity or lend support when you need it. While you may also find running or reading therapeutic, I challenge you to try one new stress-relieving activity from the list below, just for kicks.
- Paddleboarding/ surfing
- Crochet, knitting, latch hooking, crafting
- Mechanics (car engines, motorcycles, etc.)
- Racing (cars, bikes, motorcycles)
- Art (drawing, sculpting, painting, etc.)
Painting can help relieve stress and encourage positivity.
Invest in Yourself
You are important. Furthermore, your body is important. Your body holds your entire existence within its skin. As such, you should treat it with care, respect, and dignity. This investment in your health will reap dividends in regard to your mental and physical being.
Body care divides into 3 categories: skincare, diet, and exercise. Number one, APPLY SUNSCREEN. While you are young, your skin will not reflect the sun’s abuse. In a few decades, however, your skin will reveal its pain with wrinkles and sunspots. Save yourself the angst and protect your skin with sunscreen when you traverse outdoors. Additionally, start a morning and night routine in your twenties. Research your skin and products that will enrich its natural beauty. Don’t let blemishes ruin your day. If you look good, you feel good.
As with skin, your body requires nutrients and water to survive. Instead of surviving, however, why not thrive? To maximize your precious time here on Earth, eat well and hydrate often. As you clean up your diet, you will find that you have more energy, feel better, and engage in more positive thinking.
Eat clean and drink water.
Lastly, exercise will boost your mood. Working out induces endorphins as well as the more you engage your body the better you will feel. Sweating helps with reducing stress and allows you to work through your negativity (see Find Your Outlet). Hard bodies = sharp minds.
In addition, to your physical body, your brain requires continual food and development. To sharpen your brainpower, challenge yourself with sodoku, learning a new language, listening to podcasts or reading articles contrary to your own beliefs. Furthermore, hone skills you already possess. These improvements in addition to your new skills will result in a boost of positivity.
Take care of your body and it will take care of you!
You can’t hear what your body needs or what your mental state needs if your thoughts drown in the blare of social media. Step away from the phone, computer, and television. Breathe. Remove social media and take a break from the constant updates and comparisons. Unfocus from what the rest of the world is saying and instead, focus on yourself. Use this time to breathe and relax. Take a walk around the block or a park. Better yet, take a forest bath. As Samantha Shmurak from Eartheasy elegantly describes, a forest bath will allow you to reconnect with yourself via nature. Sometimes, once removed from the situation or stressors the negativity fades away. Even if it doesn’t disappear completely, the break can soothe and refresh your mind for whatever comes next.
Unplug and just breathe!
Gratitude/ Appreciation Journal
It’s hard to be sad when you’re feeling grateful. One way to exude gratefulness is to catalog all life’s greatness in a gratitude or appreciation journal. What is a gratitude or appreciation journal? A gratitude journal is a journal in which you write every day a number of things for which you are grateful. The number depends upon you. I choose to list 5 items that I am thankful for daily. The items cannot be repeated during that week.
As for an appreciation journal, you describe things that you appreciate in your daily life. You’ll see that as you describe the positive sides of your life your thoughts will redirect towards a more positive path. While you can choose to journal in a pretty gratitude journal, all you need to complete your daily journal are a pen and paper. However, I couldn’t resist so I bought the ones below. Click to start your gratitude journey today.
So much has been given to me; I have no time to ponder over that which has been denied.
With these strategies, you won’t lose focus and will be able to find positivity when all seems lost, no matter what! Remember, you ARE important and beautiful. You radiate positivity. Be the light.