How to Stay Positive in a (Sometimes) Negative World

Woman in trees

Let’s face it—most people have at least a few things they can legitimately complain about. From a boss who doesn’t appreciate you to those minor-but-annoying things your spouse does from time to time, life can be challenging. Of course, some people have even more serious issues to contend with, including illnesses, job loss or a looming divorce or separation.

While you might not be immune to the challenges in life, you can decide how to deal with and approach each one. Although it might be easy to focus on the figurative half-empty glass and dwell on your troubles, it can be incredibly empowering and uplifting to make a conscious effort to focus on the positive. The following four tips can help you to rid your life of as much negativity as you can, and refocus your attention on the positive:

Realize that being positive is a choice

Being positive is actually something that anyone, even the most dyed-in-the-wool pessimist, can achieve. The first step is choosing to look on the bright side. Instead of venting to anyone who will listen about your car that’s in the shop for an expensive repair, try adopting an “it is what it is” attitude and take control of your negative emotions. Remind yourself that car maintenance is a part of life, that you have the money set aside to pay for it, and that many other people don’t have the funds for a vehicle.

Spend time every day doing something you enjoy

It is so easy to get bogged down in the day-to-day to do lists we sometimes forget what it feels like to do something that is actually fun. A great way to get rid of your negative attitude is to engage in hobbies or other activities that you genuinely enjoy. Knowing that you will be spending your evening tinkering in the garage or going out for a relaxing walk with your family will also give you something to look forward to each day. This alone can help you get through the most tedious meetings at work.

You might also try taking up a hobby. If the motorcycle you owned in college is still sitting in your garage, you could fix it up so it’s ready to ride. Or reward yourself with something relaxing, like an aromatic soak in a hot tub.

Seek positive friends

Sure, it can be fun to have a major vent session with another person from time to time. But as Huffington Post notes, these venting partners might be adding to your stress. The more you interact and talk with those who are negative, the harder it will be to stay positive. In order to boost your own good attitude, seek out friends and co-workers who tend to look on the bright side of things. Happiness is more than an emotion — it is truly contagious. Being around those who are cheerful will help you maintain your positive mental attitude.

Be thankful for the good

When you are feeling thankful and appreciative, it’s virtually impossible for negative feelings to work their way into your brain. Focus on the many blessings in your life every day, and try writing down one positive thing every day on a slip of paper. After a month, or when you are having a bad day, go back and read what you wrote — it will be a tangible reminder that your life, while challenging at times, is far more positive than you might realize.

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