How to Keep a Positive Outlook in Tough Times
We are no stranger to how frustrating and challenging life can be. The past couple of years, we’ve experienced this collectively. The easy response is to curl into a ball and never speak to anyone. (But we already did that during lockdown and moving on from that space would be wonderful.) The other option is to look up, let our eyes meet the sky, and find a new perspective. Here are our five go-to ways to stay positive during tough times.
Breathe through the stress.
Stress is feeling overwhelmed and unable to cope with mental or emotional pressure. Our bodies are equipped to handle small doses of stress. Overtime, stress gets stored in our bodies and shows up as tense muscles, clenched jaws, teeth grinding, headaches, stomach upset, shortness of breath, panic attacks, and many other horrible, very stressful things.
We can take charge by choosing how we respond to stressful situations. It’s not easy, and it takes a lot of practice and intention. Breathing and moving your body are two of the best ways to release stress.
So here is your daily reminder to unclench your jaw, relax your shoulders, take a deep breath, and shake it off. As you pull into your breath and as you move with the present moment, remember: Everything is temporary.
Take a moment.
Remember where you came from. Look at how much you’ve grown. Acknowledge the changes that happened — in a month, in a year, in a decade. You are an ever-changing force of nature, always evolving. This isn’t going to last forever.
Take a moment to remember the tough spaces you’ve found yourself in before — the impossible moments that turned out to be a bump in the road. Trust yourself and believe in your ability to work through the situation you find yourself in. You are powerful. You are enough. You are a badass and even if this is kicking your butt, you can do it.
Feel your feelings.
Don’t gaslight yourself in the name of being positive. Feel your feelings and feel them as deeply as you need to. It’s okay to cry. It’s okay to be angry. It’s okay to not love the space you’re in. Don’t be afraid to talk about how things are really going.
You can be authentic and true to yourself, and you can still move forward. Actually feeling your feelings is a part of moving forward. Don’t deny yourself a good cry or pillow scream. But don’t sit in your own sh*t either. It’s a fine balance. You’ll find it.
Focus on good things.
After you’ve had a good cry and you’re ready to pull yourself up, shift your focus to what brings you joy and use gratitude as a way to move forward. When stress is getting the better of you, do something for someone else. Donate to a cause you believe in. Go out for a walk with someone who feeds your soul with the intention of feeding their soul. Pass out compliments. Intentionally bring your awareness to the good things that are happening around you. And watch as the magic of goodness brings new ways to problem-solve.
Be with nature.
Let Mama Earth take care of you. Go for a walk. Sit by water. Get out on water if you can. Find a patch of earth to put your bare feet on. Be the person in the park laying in the grass, looking at the sky. Wherever and whenever you can, connect yourself to Mama Earth. When our internal world is spiraling, She is holding us up. We are floating through space on a ball of glorious dirt and green. It’s easy to forget the magic, but it’s there waiting for us to look and marvel.
Whatever you’re going through, may you know your power, crush limiting mentalities, and rise in the strength of who you are.
Jade is a writer, potter, and gardener living in a sleepy town in Northern Ontario. They love growing food, creating functional stoneware, and hermiting with a book as much as possible.