7 Tips For Staying Positive When The Going Gets ToughMarch 19, 2021
Everyone deserves to be happy, and not just on the International Day of Happiness itself. However, be it our work or personal life, there are bound to be good days and bad days. Sometimes, the bad days will seem to drag on forever, and you may find yourself struggling to get out of a mind funk as it begins to drain away at your mental and emotional well-being.
If you’ve been in this situation before or are currently in one, here’s what you can do to help yourself feel better, and move on from a negative headspace.
1. Know what’s in your control
When you’re in a bad state and have been stressing out for a long time, it’s easy to delve into endless rumination, which will lead to more stress and start a vicious cycle. The moment everything gets overwhelming, take a step back and remember that not all things are within your control, and no amount of worrying or being harsh on oneself can be of real help. Instead, focus on what can be done to turn the situation for the better, and if there is nothing, then it is better for your own mental health to simply leave things be.
2. Keep gentle reminders
If you find it hard to stay in a positive mindset, try noting down small reminders and looking at them whenever you start to feel down. Take note of what you did best, remind yourself that worrying and regrets do nothing, list down what you are grateful for in life, and write a list of encouraging words for yourself as if you were writing for a close friend. The next time you start to feel in over your head and are feeling at a loss, use these little notes to keep yourself in the present and stop yourself from falling into negativity.
3. Seek help
The first step to helping yourself is to accept help from others. If a problem is simply too big to handle, or you are feeling confused and frustrated on what to do, don’t keep things to yourself or drag it out for too long, as over time, it will only worsen the situation and take a toll on your mental health. Talk to a trustworthy friend or family member, and if they are not available, there are always online helplines, forums and counsellors you can turn to.
4. Find the way to cope that works for you
Some people respond well to keeping themselves preoccupied with activities such as yoga, while others like to indulge in a hobby such as gardening, gaming, reading or watching a good movie with friends. Whether it is the practice of mindfulness, going for a walk and enjoying nature, reading up self-help resources, or doing simple breathing exercises to calm down, do take note of what helps you and keep at these tactics until it becomes second nature.
5. Know what coping mechanisms are unhealthy
While learning to cope with stress and negative feelings is good in itself, anything excessive is bound to turn bad. For example, if you are indulging in a coping mechanism that if done in excess, harms you instead of healing you, such as a developing addiction to drinking, shopping or eating. The sure-fire way to know when things are going wrong is if you find that no matter what you do to cope, at the end of the day you just feel worse and nothing has truly changed for the better. When this happens, it is important to put a stop to things and get someone else’s perspective and advice.
6. Remember self-care and monitor your mental or emotional health
Besides our physical health, our mind and heart need care as well. Use a mood diary app to understand what triggers your stress, and also to track how well you are coping. As for self-care, keep a routine for even the small things such as eating a meal, showering or going to sleep at a certain time. It may sound unnecessary, but it will help to keep you grounded and ensure your body is taken care of at least, when your mind is too stressed to be bothered with doing things.
7. Take baby steps
A lack of motivation will also come with stress and when we are feeling down. To deal with this, take time out to recover, and if you are feeling overwhelmed by everything, try breaking down your to-dos into smaller to-dos and focusing on them one by one. Reward yourself for small accomplishments, focus on the journey not the end result, and give yourself time to bounce back.
Remember, practise makes perfect. Just like how we need to repeat something to get good at it, our mind is also like a muscle and needs practice to learn how to filter out the bad and retain the good. No one can be happy all the time, but we can lessen the burdens on us when met with a bad situation with the right help and coping mechanisms.