Tuesday, July 12, 2016

How to Stay Positive When Life Sucks


I've had people tell me that I'm always positive. And, for the most part, I am. At least I try to be. Some have asked me how I do it. I wasn't sure if I should write about it. But I saw a recent tweet in which someone asked, "How do you stay positive?" (not to me, just in general), so I decided it might be helpful. But, keep in mind that I'm not a psychologist. This is just how I deal with things.

I'm an easy going guy. I don't get stressed out often. A lot of times, that's by choice. Years ago, I heard a quote (it may or may not have been in an episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer):
There's another version explaining how a positive attitude is a spark for extraordinary things. The point is that big things happen to everyone. What defines you is what you do when those events happen. That idea has always stayed with me.

I try to take a second to think before reacting to things. I try to think of the aftermath of the reaction. There aren't many benefits to getting stressed out or pissed off. Don't get me wrong. I'm not a saint and I do have emotions that come out. But, if they're negative, I try to keep those thoughts in my head or move on as fast as I can to positive actions.

Taking a positive attitude helps your brain work at its best. You can control your brain to be more positive. Your prefrontal cortex allows you to focus your thinking on coming up with solutions for your issues.


The following tips help me keep my situations in perspective. One or more of them may help you too. 

Understand Things Can Always Be Worse

I know it's a cliché, but it's true. I got into a car accident a few weeks ago. It was my fault. It came at a time when money was a bit shorter than usual. Oh, and it was the day before my wife's birthday. Sounds bad, and it wasn't great.

The first thing I thought was that no one got hurt. That was the main thing. The car damage was only to the body and headlight (nothing structural or mechanical). It was in the shop for a couple of weeks, but it was only a minor inconvenience. I had to get up a little earlier than normal to take my wife to work on the days I needed a car. Certainly not the end of the world. As far as car accidents go, this could have been much worse. Knowing that made the ordeal less stressful for me.

Look At the Bigger Picture

Life always has ups and downs. But when you look at the bigger picture, most of us have a lot more ups. So, if you're going through a hard time, understand that it's just a blip on your life journey.

It's not always to realize it when you're dealing with it. But, once everything is back in order, you can look back and chalk it up to a life experience. I'm also willing to bet that you come out of it better than before. Adversity builds character, right?

Reframe Your Situation

Sometimes changing the way you look at a situation allows you to see things in a new light. If you're in a miserable job or in a job search (like I currently am), use the experience to realize that there may be a better job out there. A better position, a better company, better pay - turn it into an opportunity. Changing your outlook will help you realize you have the chance to improve yourself and your life. Don't get discouraged if you can't see the outcome yet or don't know what it will be. Trust yourself that it's there and that you'll be ready for it.

Fake It 'Til You Make It

Yep, another cliché, but applicable here. I know that sometimes it's hard to be positive. In these cases, it's ok to fake it. Tell yourself to be positive and act like you are. Just like forcing yourself to smile can boost your spirits, acting in a positive manner will help you feel better. Pretty soon, the positive feelings will be genuine.

Exercise

Exercise offers great benefits for your mental health. It reduces stress by releasing norepinephrine, which helps your brain manage stress. It also releases endorphins that make you feel happy. Not to mention that exercise helps you feel better about yourself in general. 

To steal a line from the Tesla song, "So What!", "Life's beautiful, and life sucks." We all go through hard times. Sometimes it seems like you can't catch a break. But, by following these tips, you can keep a positive attitude and get back to where you want to be before you know it.

What do you do to stay positive? Tell us in the comments below. Thanks for reading and please share this post with your friends.

Think Like a Proton image via Zazzle.    
Fix-It Felix, Jr. image via Wikia.

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