Pick your poison. There’s always something, right? Whether you’re dealing with heartbreak, health issues or financial troubles, how can you stay positive when it feels like everything is going wrong? Plus, when things get really bad, it’s easy to get depressed and even easier to succumb to a why me mentality. It’s time to think and stay positive no matter what. So stay tuned for 5 effective ways to get you back to your happy place.
When life is good, having a positive mindset comes pretty naturally. But life is not always good. Bad things happen. Illness, disappointment, and challenges can arise at any moment. So who could blame you for indulging in the comfort of why me? When it feels like everything is going wrong in life, the go-to mindset we often shift to is in the negative – plain and simple. Worse of all, it’s highly unlikely to have the superpower to reverse your downs to ups overnight, or sometimes ever, and that can be really discouraging.
When you’re sick, hate your job or say you’re even mentally exhausted looking for a job, it can feel as if positivity is impossible. Keep the faith, if your life seems to be falling apart, you will build it back up. Sure things do go wrong but here’s how to save yourself from not only losing it, but turn things around for the better.
So it’s common to have negative reactive tendencies when life throws us the proverbial wrench. But all is not lost. There is something within your power to stay positive when life if falling apart. It’s time to shift your focus to what you can control and let go of what you cannot.
The best thing you can do is arm yourself with a positive, growth mindset from the beginning. Those are not just words. And, if you’re a little late to the mindfulness party, no worries.
I had a late start myself. Yet I learned that it’s never too late to lift up and throw out the crushing weight of mental or emotional burden.
Harnessing the power of your rogue mind is critical in maintaining a forward moving and positive attitude. Empowering yourself emotionally first is what will afford you the ability to manage your life during painful or uncertain times.
The What’s Wrong With Me Years
One of the most challenging periods of my life occurred as a result of an undiagnosed tumor. The last thing I wanted to even attempt to do was to make any effort to be or stay positive when I was sick. Especially because no one knew what was wrong with me for the longest time. It took over two years to uncover that I was suffering from a pheochromocytoma (pheo to keep it short).
A pheo is a rare tumor that usually develops in the cells of one of the two adrenal glands. Mine was on my right. We have an adrenal gland above each of our kidneys. These glands are vital to our well-being and they play a critical role in producing the hormones that we need, particularly during times of stress. The adrenals also regulate metabolism, immune system, blood pressure and other essential functions.
Pheo symptoms come and go pretty erratically and are seemingly unpredictable; however I eventually picked up some patterns.
Symptoms such as high spikes in blood pressure, occipital headaches, night sweats, frequent urination, trembling and chattering teeth left me in a continued state of anxiety and physical distress. Pheos are challenging to diagnose because the symptoms usually mimic anxiety and high blood pressure. When a pheochromocytoma is suspected, it can be extremely small making it difficult to locate even with the best technology. Hence its nickname: the autopsy tumor.
Sharing my pheo story helps in two ways: to increase pheochromocytoma awareness and inspire you to own your well-being — especially when it is not in a state of well.
During the two years of suffering, I was becoming my own medical mystery. While I felt like something was systemically wrong with me, a variety of doctors wrote me off as a hypochondriac (because I appeared to be healthy) and anxiety sufferer. Eventually, I took medications for anxiety and high blood pressure.
I made little effort to stay positive and just chose to hate my job, feel sick and be depressed. Even though at times it became easier to relent and try to convince myself that they were right, nothing was really wrong. I just would feel like crap (physically and mentally) the rest of my life. Not because I believed them, although self-doubt was growing greater by the week. More so that I was slowly becoming too scared to learn the truth. The road of “what if” is a long and dark dead-end street no one wants to be trapped on.
Truth is, when you’re sick or suffering from chronic physical or emotional pain, it transcends itself in to the nucleus of your well-being — your mindset. Once we succumb to a negative mindset, we stop growing and worse, give up hope. It’s like giving yourself permission to say, “My life sucks, I feel like crap all of the time, so I’m entitled to act accordingly.”
And I did for quite a while. Until I stopped and made a conscious decision to make a positive change, even if it exhausted me to do it.
How to Break the Habit of Excessive Negative Thinking
The best thing I ever did was watch a YouTube video with Eckhart Tolle. Tolle is one of the greatest spiritual teachers of our time. His simple yet profound teachings on inner peace and the power of the present moment shifted my life. I don’t say life-changing, because let’s face it, Eckhart didn’t diagnosis my tumor. I still needed answers. But he did set me on a new and empowered trajectory. One that helped me to take ownership of my thoughts, attitude and resolve.
While this was still an agonizing time, I slowly began to demand more from myself. Proactively and consciously, I opened my mind further through many other positivity and well-being influencers.
I learned that the more I practiced staying in the moment, the less I allowed my suffering to control my mindset. It was difficult enough dealing with the physical effects of an unknown illness, once I gained more control over my emotional well-being, I was able to tap into a lot more strength than I was giving myself credit.
You May Still Feel Like….so how do you stay positive again???
So this isn’t a quick fix. But if you’re looking for that place where what you fear no longer controls who you are, then it’s crucial to practice inhabiting the present moment. Not, “life was so much better last year at this time,” and not, “I dread what’s in store for me tomorrow.” Even if you feel you are perpetually stuck, remember that so much in life that is happening to you is temporary. Yes it’s damn hard to stay positive when you hate your job or when things go wrong, so start practicing already.
Focus. On. The. Now.
If you truly want to know how to stay positive when you’re depressed or sick, or whatever your circumstances may be, then start being in the Now…now. Becoming an expert present moment liver doesn’t happen overnight. (Okay or maybe not at all.) But to benefit from being present, commitment to practice is critical. I do promise that with a heightened level of self awareness, you will become better and better at it…and more positive no matter what life throws at you.
Are you entitled to feel any way you chose? Sure, of course you are. However, the goal is to rest in the knowledge that negative thinking will not move you forward. It doesn’t solve a damn thing, except add more drama to life. Negative thinking robs you of emotional abundance. If you can accept this reality, then you will empower yourself with the great superpowers of staying positive and balanced.
No matter what there are ways to stay positive and remain present when you’re depressed, sick or feel like you’re being relentlessly tested. It’s not a one-size fits all technique, so keep dipping your feet in to one or more streams until you find things that work best for you!
Take on some of these widely suggested and manageable ideas and explore what they have to offer.
|Self-Help Books||Positivity Podcasts||Healthy Diet||Empowering Mantras|
These are all highly effective ways to help you tap into a positive and empowering mindset when you need it most. But wait, there’s more…next is the overarching message that will help you stay positive no matter what…
#MindsetIsEverything is Really a Thing
Choose activities, above or not, that truly resonate with you. Just know that with any positivity seeking strategy, commitment to a proactive, healthy, growth-mindset is everything. So here are 5 pieces of advice to keep in mind as you work hard to maintain an optimistic, positive outlook (because I know it’s not easy):
|Stop carrying the burden alone: Find your courage to ask for help. You’d be surprised how many people in your life don’t offer it but really want to. Maybe they fear you’ll feel inadequate or insulted. Maybe they just don’t know what you specifically need. Tell them. By reaching out, you will allow others the gift of giving support and friendship.|
|Know you’re not an expert: So if you need one, get one. No one has all of the answers but there are plenty of people out there with the tools and knowledge to help you cope and navigate through your journey.|
|It’s okay to not be okay: Be gentle with yourself. Gift yourself with the compassion you deserve. This peace of mind will help you open a new space for things that will serve you so much better than negativity.|
|Be teachable: Again, since we agree we are not experts at everything, make room for those who can help you nurture your strengths and grow in ways you never thought possible. You were born capable.|
|Help others: Studies show that volunteering in some form is beneficial in a variety of ways. Making a difference in someone else’s life raises confidence, improves physical and mental health, allows you reflect on what matters — these are to just name a few.|
No more permission to allow toxic inner dialogue in to your sacred mind space. Only you can decide when to stop beating yourself up.— 𝓞𝔀𝓷 𝓨𝓸𝓾𝓻 𝓑𝓮𝓼𝓽 (@OwnYourBest) October 24, 2018
Here’s a start:
✨Know your triggers (stress, nerves, lack of sleep, self-confidence) pic.twitter.com/AOpsN7yrA9
Staying Positive Is A Labor of Love
I was lucky. In my persistence, I eventually found a doctor that connected with my determination. She listened, did some research and kept digging (and testing) on her hunch that I had the pheochromocytoma. Even my doctor’s superior advised her to discontinue testing — “it’s so rare, the odds are 8-in-1-million-slim.” All that time of not knowing, stressing and worrying, staying positive was the last thing on my mind. That is until I made that conscious choice to nourish my mindset.
My experience left me with one less adrenal gland, some physical and emotional scars, and a handful of lessons. It may sound cliché, but my story continues now as a forward moving journey of self-awareness. And I’m also armed with some grit and perspective. I value the fact that others know more than me and I want to know more about that. And I’m so much more aware of and humbled by the silent struggles of others and that I may never be privy to them, even possibly by those of whom I am closest.
A Stay Positive Pursuit
When it feels like life is falling apart, the most critical thing you can do to stay positive no matter what is going on is to continually work on practicing self-awareness. By the way, that goes for when things are pretty damn good too. Don’t underestimate the value of mindful self-awareness in your happiest, most joyful moments.
Learning how to stay positive at school, work, home or anywhere else all require the same strategies of mindfulness. Do your best to recognize when you are drifting into a negative mindset. You’ve allowed that to enter your house, so you control how long it’s welcome to sit on your couch and occupy your sacred space.
The power and influence of wallowing in negative thinking must not be underestimated. You have no choice but to turn that power and attention over to self-care, hope and positivity. Do this and you take back your life.
A positive mindset may not eliminate feeling like crap all of the time, I get it. But it is the only thing you can control. So once you grab hold of it, don’t let go.
You are strong for getting out of bed in the morning when it feels like hell. You are brave for doing things even though they scare you or make you anxious. And you are amazing for trying and holding on no matter how hard life gets. – Unknown
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This article also published in part at Elephant Journal.