How to Stay Positive in Difficult Times?


What a year 2020 has been so far. One disruption after the other has turned our everyday upside down. Just when we thought we’d gotten used to the new normality, the next interruption appeared. 

In a word: It’s been a challenging year.

With so much uncertainty and disruption, it’s easy and natural to feel helpless and overwhelmed. Yet, that doesn’t make it easier to bear all the confusion and chaos; quite on the contrary. Rather it increases the chaos. 

But how do we keep those disruptions from throwing us out of balance? And how do we even make the most of those disruptions and turn them into opportunities? 

Practice Gratitude

One strategy to spread positivity in your life is by practicing gratitude on a regular basis. Although every day is full of positive events and happy moments, we often tend to focus on those small negative details. To let go of this bad habit, we need to rewire our brains towards positivity, and the best way to do this is through gratitude. 

Thinking of 3 to 5 things every single day that you’re grateful for helps open your eyes to all those beautiful things and joyful moments that your days are full of. An inspiring conversation with a friend, a privileged opportunity you’ve been taken for granted or an unexpected act of kindness. Becoming aware and celebrating those moments makes a huge difference in how we experience the world. 

Keeping a gratitude journal is an extremely powerful tool. In fact, keeping a gratitude journal can help you to:

  • Reduce your stress level: As a result of giving negativity less energy, you will have less to worry or feel anxious about. 
  • Increase the overall positive mood: Regardless of whether you’re facing struggling times or not, you will be more likely to feel okay. 
  • Improve your self-care: As you focus on what’s positive in your life, you will develop a natural tendency to invite even more positivity into your life. 

Focus on learning

Another strategy to shift the focus towards positivity is asking yourself what you can learn from a situation or experience. Maybe someone betrayed you, maybe a virus completely disrupted your work life, or maybe you lost someone close to you. What do you do? You learn to judge people more accurately, to make use of online offers in completely new ways, and to grow stronger and more independent.

There is a learning opportunity in every situation, but it takes willingness to see them.

Trust me, keeping the focus on learning from everything can help you to stay positive.

Practice forgiveness

As the last way to cope with negative situations, the practice of forgiveness must be mentioned. The benefits of forgiving a person a day are incredible. To forgive can take some time. And that’s ok. Many people view forgiveness as something that helps the person being forgiven. It certainly can make them feel better, but forgiveness benefits you most of all in these ways:

  • peace of mind: When you stop holding a grudge, you are more likely to feel at peace and hopeful about the future. 
  • conflict management skill: Often it’s because we take things personally and refuse to meet others with empathy and understanding that conflicts arise and get out of hand. 
  • emotional intelligence: It takes a lot of empathy and understanding to forgive someone who has hurt you. The more you practice it, the greater your empathy level becomes. 

Forgiveness does not mean being okay with being treated badly. It just means letting go of the bad behavior of someone and moving on. If we stick to our hurt feelings, we are not going anywhere. On the contrary, we commit ourselves to needless suffering. 

Be mindful with your media consumption

Sure, your inbox and social media feed must be flooded with all the breaking news. Every minute, you are hearing about all the new Covid-19 cases, how the economy is going down, the disastrous situation with global warming, new terrorist attacks…

Of course, you want to stay informed, and it’s important to know what you can do to help. But it turns out that taking in a constant stream of alarming news increases your stress and anxiety. And this certainly can have consequences on your physical health, too. Therefore, it is important to be more selective about your media consumption and use it to promote more kindness, connection, and inspiration.

Find out more about how media consumption can affect your health in one of our older blog posts.

You can also follow The Happy Broadcast that shares anxiety-free news from around the world that are good for our mental health. 

The time to stay positive is now!

We suggest you start practicing already now. It’s still 2020 and no one knows what’s coming next. So here’s a little exercise for you. When you go to bed tonight think about:

  • 3 things you feel grateful for today
  • 1 person, you should forgive
  • and – if you’ve experienced something unpleasant – try to see what you can learn from it.

There is sure to be something, no matter how small. 

Enjoyed reading this article? Ever invited a pirate for a coffee? Now’s your chance.

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