Developing a Positive Mindset When Times are Tough
How can you keep a positive mindset during a personal crisis? What’s the best way to shake off the blues or get yourself out of an emotional slump, especially if you’ve been through one crushing disappointment after the other? Let us help you in developing a positive mindset!
It’s a very real question that has happened to all of us. Even the most motivated, positive people will start to ask, “Will life get any better? Will it pay off, is it worth it…or is it easier to just give up?” We are human. It’s normal to feel doubt, fear and disappointment.
But even if it’s hard to keep a positive mindset during a crisis, that’s exactly when you need it the most. If you are able to turn your feelings and thoughts around and find that “unshakeable joy” within yourself, you can turn this problem into an opportunity and learning experience. Here’s what you can do.
Take a walk to your “Happy Place”
Dr. Jarrod Spencer, sports psychologist and author, uses this guided meditation to help his clients become more positive and confident. Close your eyes and imagine the most beautiful place in the world. Make it as sensory and concrete as possible. What colors do you see? What do you smell? What do you feel?
Then, think of key positive moments in your life—when you felt most successful, strong, loved, etc. Remember all the people who helped you get there. Imagine they are talking a walk with you. What are they telling you? How do you feel as you see them, and see yourself in their eyes?
Take a moment to enjoy and embrace that feeling. That is the real, authentic you. Verbalize it in the present tense. If seeing your teacher made you remember how you won art awards in high school, then say, “I am creative.” If seeing your mom made you feel comforted, then say, “I am loved and safe.”
This is just one of many guided meditations that can help you keep a positive mindset when you feel discouraged or insecure. Go back to the moments when you felt good about yourself and your life, and trust that those moments will happen again. This crisis shall pass. You are stronger and smarter than you believe.
Share happiness and kindness
According to Harvard Health, people who volunteer or donate to causes or charities tend to happier than others. It affirms that you can have a positive impact on the world, and can help you feel more grateful. There’s also a real effect on the brain: Time magazine cites research that helping others activates the parts of the brain that are stimulated by sex and food!
But if you’re short on time or cash, there are other ways to share the joy. Give a compliment. Call a friend to ask how they are. Sign an online petition for a cause you believe.
Harvard Health suggests this fun game. When you feel down, flip a coin. If you get heads, do something for yourself. If you get tails, do something for others. Either way, you’ll feel better!
Keep a gratitude journal
This tip is given so often, but only because it really works. Consciously and consistently looking for blessings and writing them down teaches you to “expect happiness everyday” and embrace it in all its forms.
This is very important when things aren’t going your way. While you are understandably disappointed, you are able to keep a positive mindset because the good things outweigh the bad.
Choose the gratitude journal that works for you. You can write your thoughts in a notebook, use an app, or write it down on sticky notes that you put on the mirror.
Celebrate small milestones and rewards
When you are going after a goal, break it down into smaller milestones so you can track and celebrate your progress. For example, if you are trying to lose 50 pounds, you will easily be discouraged if you obsess over that magic number on the weighing scale.
But let’s say you break it into smaller victories, like successfully completing 15 workouts, or dropping an inch from your waistline. That can help keep a positive mindset and feed your motivation: “Yes I did it, which means I can keep on doing it and I will achieve my goal!”
In her book The Joy Diet, renowned life coach Martha Beck says that the first step to a happier life is to “stop and do nothing.”
Martha Beck believes that many people approach burnout, disappointment, or other emotional stress with a desire to fix themselves. However, that’s just as effective as shouting at a tired, crying toddler.
When a child is upset, your first instinct is to hug him and calm him down. That works for adults, too. If you feel that your positive mindset is cracking under the pressure of everyday life, then you have to be kind to yourself and give yourself space and time.
Martha Beck calls it “doing nothing” – spending time alone, writing in the journal, meditating, and just letting yourself be. In other words, practice mindfulness and me time. This can help you recenter yourself and listen to your needs.
Connect with others
You don’t have to struggle alone, or pretend to be strong or happy all the time. It is perfectly okay to call a friend or a mentor and say, “I’m feeling low, and I need someone to talk to.”
Admitting your pain is not a sign of weakness, nor does it mean that you’re “not as positive as you used to be.” It’s actually the opposite. By asking for help, and reaching out to the people you trust, you’re actually saying “I am loved, I am worthy of receiving care and attention.”
That is a very powerful affirmation, and one of the best ways to keep a positive mindset in a crisis. Never be afraid to be honest with yourself, and ask for help.
You can do this! Conclusion on Developing a Positive Mindset
It may be difficult to stay positive when bad things happen. However, when you tune in to your needs, reach out to other people, and focus on your blessings and your strengths, you will find your way through.