How I Stay Positive in Trying Times

About a month ago, I woke up to some really loud banging coming from outside my apartment.

It was 7:30 AM and some workers were outside making the stairs next to our apartment accessibility-friendly, which apparently involved dismantling the step grips with a crowbar and a power-sander. After going to sleep late the previous night because of road work outside my apartment, this was…less than ideal.

But that morning, instead of being annoyed that my routine was disrupted, I decided to make a change and took myself out to get my morning coffee and work instead.

What a difference that change in attitude made! I found a parking spot at the cafe immediately. I got all of my work done in one of my favorite not-home offices, and I came back to my apartment ready to tackle an interview and a work day at the mall. I truly felt refreshed and happy that day. Even crazy customers at work couldn’t keep me down.

In today’s trying times, it can be easy to let negativity overwhelm you. But I’ve found that a positive mindset can make day-to-day life more bearable and the bigger problems more manageable. Here are some of the methods I’ve learned to help build a more positive mindset:

Positive Mentality

“Positive mind, positive life”. How many times have you heard that catchphrase? If your answer is a lot (like mine is), there’s a reason why. It works! Choosing to have a positive outlook on things, even when things feel challenging does miracles for improving your quality of life.

Whether it’s something simple like my example from the intro to this post or tackling a bigger problem like the health of our environment, there is almost always a way to create a positive mentality. In my example, I decided to find a way to make my day better instead of letting one problem ruin my day. For bigger problems, your impact and decision to make a change can influence others to do the same, thereby creating a much bigger change.

Something to try: Creating positive experiences for yourself. If you catch yourself focusing on a failure or something negative, find an activity you can do over the course of your day to reward yourself. My favorite bad day treat is taking myself to my favorite local coffee shop and doing some reading. Find what feels good for you and incorporate is as needed.

Gratitude Journaling

If, like me, you struggle with wanting things you don’t have, gratitude journaling is a great practice to try. It might sound a little cheesy in theory, but in practice can be absolutely life-changing. Imagine kicking the “grass is greener” mentality to the curb, making what you have enough. Doesn’t that sound amazing?

Make gratitude a bigger part of your life by adding gratitude journaling into your daily routine. Take time at the beginning or end of every day to document things you’re grateful for. Things you’re grateful for can range from a roof over your head down to a nice compliment you got from a boss or a coworker. You can even write down a joke that made you laugh. Everything that made you smile can count as something you’re grateful for.

Something to try: Write down 3-5 things you’re grateful for every day for a month. It shouldn’t take you more than 5 minutes a day. This small push to find things that make you smile every day will not only boost your creativity, but also boost your positive mentality.

Paying it Forward

My favorite way to stay positive is actually through helping others. There’s nothing that puts a smile on my face faster than knowing that I made someone else’s day by doing something nice. Sometimes this looks like buying someone else’s coffee when I get my own. Other times it just means complimenting someone’s outfit.

The little things we do to share goodness with others have bigger impacts than we might realize at the time. You never know when someone was having a really bad day and you genuinely asking how their day is going might help. Paying it forward is a great, selfless way to not only improve your own mood, but someone else’s.

Something to try: Listen to the Good News Podcast. This podcast shares examples of good news every two days, including ways that people give back (both big and small). Plus, it covers the stories in 10 minutes or less every day! It’s a manageable way to inspire good actions and remind you of good things going on in the world.

What are some of the ways you stay positive in your everyday life? Share with me in the comments!