How to stay positive no matter what. A guest article by Kate Taylor.
It can be easy to stay positive when skies are blue, luck’s on your side and everyone thinks you’re gorgeous and amazing. It’s a different story when storm clouds loom, you can’t catch a break and nobody likes your Facebook posts.
Life can lift us to the stars, but it can also knock the most upbeat among us to the pavement. Loss, injury and stress can turn our lives inside-out and darken our thinking. Indeed, most of us know at least a few people permanently embittered by painful experiences.
Yet there are ways to keep our positivity despite life’s harshest blows. Consider survivors of tremendous loss or violence who go on to help those going through a similar experience.
Of course, keeping a positive outlook doesn’t mean smiling through tragedy. It’s appropriate and vital to mourn great loss or disappointment. But we don’t have to let those experiences poison our hearts and minds.
If we can abandon the idea that we’re victims – that a pink slip, break-up or failed exam has ruined our lives – we can view change as something positive, according to Michael Singer, author of The Untethered Soul, a book about happiness and self-realization.
“The natural ups and downs of life can either generate personal growth or create personal fears,” he says. “Which of these dominate is completely dependent on how we view change.”
Regaining positivity can take time and hard work, but it can help us view the loss of a job or relationship as the door to something new and better. It can help us accept a loved one’s death and begin healing. It can help take back our happiness while overcoming just about anything.
The next time life tries to knock you down, try some of the tips that follow. They offer spiritual and practical wisdom that will help you stay positive, on your feet and keep to the sunny side of the street.
Harness the Power of Intention
It’s impossible to overstate the power of intention.
If you haven’t committed to being happy and positive, you won’t be. Simply deciding that you want to remain happy no matter what happens is powerful medicine.
“People tend to burden themselves with so many choices,” says Michael Singer. “But, in the end, you can throw it all away and just make one basic, underlying decision: do you want to be happy, or do not want to be happy? It’s really that simple. Once you make that choice, your path through life becomes totally clear.”
Be Kind to Someone Else
When your life is crazy and you’re drowning in stress, the last thing you want to think about is helping someone else. But stepping out of your own madness to bring someone cookies or patch their roof could be exactly what you need. Helping others gives us a major mood-boost while fostering friendships and building community. Even stopping to have a conversation over the backyard fence can help us put our own problems in perspective.
Put it on the List
When you have so much going on that you can’t bear the thought of one more task or commitment – that’s the time to reach for a pen and pad of paper.
Just writing down all to-do’s — from building a suspension bridge between your house and your mother-in-law’s to filing your nails – offers relief because it gets the information out of your head and onto the paper. It’s also easier to prioritize (and even delegate) when you can see all your tasks written down. After that, you can look forward to the pleasure and satisfaction of crossing them out as you go.
Teens seem to have this technique down. As soon as they’re mad, frustrated or overwhelmed, their bedroom door slams, the music thunders on and they dance until they’re exhausted.
As we age, we seem to forget what a relief that can be.
The next time your inbox is exploding, your phone’s ringing off the hook and another solicitor is at the door, crank up your favorite tunes and dance it off. You don’t have to be a good dancer. In fact, you’ll probably have more fun if you do some silly dancing (i.e., hairbrush-microphone and couch-jumping like Tom Cruise).
Chances are when you’re finished, you’ll feel a lot better, your work will look more manageable and that guy who wants to sell you a new roof will be long gone.
No More Multi-tasking
In the past, multi-tasking was hailed as a way to get more done in a shorter period of time. Yet recent studies show that multi-tasking is in fact a way to simultaneously do several things poorly. More importantly, multi-tasking isn’t fun. It’s stressful.
It’s peaceful and more fun to do one thing at a time. That way, you give that one task your full attention, and do it well.