Have you ever heard the phrase “think like a proton and stay positive”? It might be a nerdy joke, but it’s good advice.
Sometimes though it can be REAL hard to find the positive in a negative situation.
As someone who has struggled with anxiety and depression my whole adult life, and is constantly working on self care strategies for my mental wellness, I know how difficult it can be to stay positive.
I thought today would be a good time to share some of the ways I try to cope and stay positive in a negative situation.
While this applies to any negative situation you might find yourself in, I think it’s especially helpful for this weird global situation we’ve tumbled into over the last month.
How to stay positive when things get tough
Let’s dive right in to some actionable tips that have helped me get through some of the darkest times in my life.
Find your tribe
Find a group of people or even a single person who understands you and supports you. Ideally this would be someone in your home, but if that is not an option look to your friends, extended family or a professional therapist.
Teledoc options like Amwell and Doctor on Demand have tele-therapist options now that will allow you to get help right from your home.
Learning how to open up and discuss what you’re feeling is going to go a long way to helping you cope with difficult times.
Practice an attitude of gratitude
No matter how terrible things are, there is always something to be grateful for. It can be difficult to find that positivity when you’re wedged in a negative situation, but if you look for them, I’m sure you’ll find something!
Even if it’s looking at the small things that we take for granted like “I had clean water to drink today” or “I did not go to bed hungry, I am grateful that I was able to have food in my belly for today”. Even if things are feeling unbearable, you have much to be thankful for.
Try to list out a few things that you are grateful for. That gratitude will go a long way to improving your outlook.
Focus on things you can control
This is one of the hardest things for me personally, but with SO MUCH that is not in our control right now it can be easy to slip into a negative mindset.
Instead of letting that cloud your outlook, focus on things that are within your control in order to keep positive in a negative situation.
For example, you may have lost your income or been furloughed, which were out of your control and super frustrating. But focusing on that isn’t going to help.
What you CAN do is look for work from home options, practice self care, go for a walk, do other things that will help you stay positive with everything going on.
Look for ways to get out safely
This can include going for walks, enjoying time in your yard or garden, and other safely socially distant activities.
I had a socially distant bonfire with two of my coworkers the other night, just the three of us, seated 6+ feet apart around a firepit out in a back yard. While it was different from our normal time spent together (we used to go out for coffee and donuts every few weeks), the good it did for our mental health was super important.
Get in touch with your higher power of choice
For some people this means praying, for others meditating. For me it often means laying in my hammock and watching the clouds pass and the sun set. It connects me to the earth and reminds me that things will always be okay!
Whatever you need to do to connect to the spiritual world (and disconnect from the virtual one) can be super helpful in these trying times.
What do you like to do to stay positive when things get rough?