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5 ways to Stay Positive in a Negative Situation

How we handle a situation can be a true testament to our internal capabilities. We are constantly confronted with negative situations and people. When we listen to the radio, watch TV, or read the newspaper, we are constantly bombarded with negative news. This has the potential to generate negative energy around you. 

Does that mean we are going to shut ourselves off and hide ourselves from it? That’s not really possible. What we can do is counteract the effect of these negative energies on our life and our attitude through the power of positivity. 

Before I continue, I’d like to clarify that when I say “power of positivity” or “staying positive in negative situations,” I don’t mean that you’ll always be happy or stay positive. That is not practical.  You can’t stay positive all the time. I have my own demons that I deal with in my own way.

Besides, Not all bad situations are created equal. A grief caused by separation or death is not comparable to a failed math test. Every human mind has a psychological makeup unique to them. What sends one of us into a tailspin may not cause another person to even flinch. Moreover, there are times when it is totally unacceptable to seek out anything positive.

In this article, I’m going to suggest some practical ways that are based on rationality, keeping the shades of grey that our lives are made of in mind, that are 100 percent achievable if you set your mind to work on them.

What is positivity and what are its benefits?

Many of us wrongly think that positivity is staying all rainbows and sunshine 24×7– meaning that you’ll totally disregard all the unpleasant situations that cause you discomfort or negativity. That is a toxic approach and not at all how you should harness positive energy in your life. Rather it’s about how you tackle those unpleasant and uncomfortable negative situations in a more positive and optimistic way. 

To say that the benefits of positivity enrich our lives is an understatement. Not only does it contribute to having a thriving mental health, it significantly improves our physical well-being, too. A study found that people who scored higher in optimism were less likely to die from heart disease, stroke or respiratory diseases. Other important benefits include, becoming more productive, more resilient, efficient and a better manager of stress. 

So, if you want to reap all of these amazing benefits and learn how to positively deal with negative situations, here are some ways (all of which are very actionable, too!) to do so.

How to stay more positive in a negative situation

  • Remember that any negative phase is temporary: When you’re an optimist, it means you’re very aware and mindful of all the obstacles that life throws at you, that they’re only temporary and that you have the ability to overcome them. What sets apart positive people apart from the ones who struggle with it is the ability to acknowledge. When you learn to accept that bad things happen and that they will pass in time, you will gain enormous strength to deal with difficult situations.
  • Breathe out your stress: When confronted with a bad situation, your breathing is one of the first things to consider. It can help you regain your composure and allow you to think things through. So, close your eyes, place your hand over your heart, and inhale for four counts, then exhale for four counts. Repeat this for a few minutes before deciding how to respond to your situation. This will make it easier to adopt a positive mindset.
  • Focus on the solution, not the problems: When faced with a problem, our mind’s defense mechanism often attempts to go into autopilot mode and focus on the severity of the problem rather than considering possible solutions. You see, when you focus on the problems, they will only seem to grow further fueling your frustration, unhappiness and pessimism. So, focus your energy on finding the alternative solutions. You can start by asking these questions.
  • Do you need to find a solution to a problem?
  • Do you need to prioritize your own health?
  • Maybe it’s time to ask someone for a favor?
  • Perhaps it’s time to tap into your emotional support network?

The point is, don’t waste your energy by trying to control situations beyond your control. Rather focus on controllables.

  • Get Moving. Exercise! I understand that exercise might not be for everyone but it  can be a great mood booster, stress reliever and clarity enhancer. Exercise releases dopamines, a chemical neurotransmitter that aids in your mood regulation, pleasure and learning abilities. Release of dopamine would mean that your mind would be more inclined to exhibit a positive response in a situation. If you’re not an exercise person, you can slowly introduce it to  your routine. 

Begin small with gentle exercise such as yoga, stretching, or walks. Choose meditative exercises that will make you feel at ease rather than stressed. Once you get into gear, then perhaps slowly move towards more high-intensity exercises. 

  • Retrain your mind: Are you someone who constantly criticizes yourself? Do you constantly second-guess your actions? When you fail or face difficulties, do you become pessimistic and lose hope? It’s okay.  Believe me, everyone at one point of their life or another, has been there. But, what you need to do is retrain your mind to stop doing that to yourself. One technique that you can apply is to quickly replace your negative thoughts with a positive affirmation. Practice it religiously. At some point, this will become more natural as your brain automatically turns a negative into a positive. There are numerous other techniques and tools via which you can train your mind to react more positively. If you wish to learn more, feel free to check out my recorded training course “Mind Training” which is currently open for enrollment.

Wrapping Up

Training your mind to react positively isn’t an easy task. Neither can you achieve this in just a day. It takes immense practice, consistency and determination on our part. Like I have said, not every situation requires positivity from us, in fact, a positive response can be downright inappropriate in certain negative situations. The key is understanding which situations demand positive energy from you and act accordingly. 

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