July 9, 2024
5 Ways To Stay Positive In Hard Times

When faced with hard times, many struggle to stay positive. The faintest silver lining can help support your physical and mental health but finding one can be difficult. Discover ways to remain optimistic while working through life’s problems.

How To Stay Positive During Hard Times

People from all backgrounds experience difficulties in life. Building an optimistic look on life is key when you hit a barrier. With the right support and mindset, you can navigate through tough times and find strength and resilience within.

The majority of people—more than 2/3rds—experience positive psychological growth after experiencing difficult times. We gain a deeper understanding of ourselves, greater appreciation for life and loved ones, and a desire to act for the greater good. Those who adopt positive coping strategies tend to navigate future challenges more effectively and come out stronger.

How To Stay Positive

1.   Be Aware of Negative Thoughts

Who you surround yourself with can significantly affect your mindset during challenging times. Positive, supportive individuals uplift you, while negative ones drain your energy. Seek out friends, family members, or colleagues who encourage and inspire you. Negative people can be challenging to work with. Learn effective strategies to manage their impact on you. If you find yourself around negativity, steer conversations toward a more optimistic perspective. Set personal boundaries to protect your emotional well-being by limiting the time you spend with them. Practice empathy and try to understand their perspective. Empathy can allow you to respond with compassion rather than frustration.

Be mindful of the information you consume on the internet. How does your social feed affect your mood? Are you often frustrated, angry, or defensive? To limit your exposure to a negative news feed and reduce the stress from social media, consider deleting the app or tailoring your feed to focus solely on content that brings you joy. Try to unplug occasionally and engage in activities to help you feel relaxed. Consciously choosing to surround yourself with positivity can lead to a more optimistic outlook, even when nothing else seems to go right.

2.   Have A Set Routine

A structured routine provides a sense of stability and control, which is comforting when life feels unpredictable.

  • Set a consistent schedule for waking up each day. Consistency will help your body establish a natural rhythm, improve sleep quality, and raise overall energy levels.
  • Make your bed in the morning to provide a sense of accomplishment. Feelings of satisfaction can boost productivity and improve mental health.
  • Scheduled and planned mealtimes can support you in consistently choosing foods rich in vitamins, minerals, and fiber. A balanced diet supports both physical health and mental clarity.
  • Incorporate regular physical activity, such as a morning walk or yoga, to boost your mood and reduce stress through the release of endorphins.
  • Make time weekly for leisure activities for yourself. We often prioritize fun for the other people in our lives, but what about what you want to do? Solo or in a group, carve out time dedicated to what you find enjoyable.
  • Set small, achievable goals to give yourself a sense of accomplishment.
  • End the day how you started: with a consistent bedtime. Avoid caffeine and other stimulants to foster better sleep hygiene. Quality rest is essential for emotional resilience and cognitive function.

3.   Be Kind to Yourself and Others

Embrace kindness to discover a powerful anchor to your own confidence. Pride in yourself will empower you to remain resolute in challenging moments.

  • Adopt a personal saying to remind you of your talents, abilities, strengths, and worth. This affirmation can reinforce your positive self-image. Repetition is key to recalling your true value when circumstances in life cause you to doubt.
  • Treat yourself to small acts of kindness to significantly improve your mental health. If you are short on ideas, consider ways you would try to cheer a friend up on a bad day. Remember, it is okay to take breaks and allow yourself to rest and recharge.
  • Helping others will enhance your own positivity. Acts of kindness, no matter how small, create a ripple effect, benefiting the giver and receiver. Volunteer your time, offer support to a friend, or simply hold the door open and compliment a stranger. These actions foster a sense of connection and purpose to lift your spirits.

4.   Imagine a Brighter Future

When reflecting on events that caused you grief, a good way to stay positive is to shift your concentration away from the discomfort caused by transition. Limbo, or the space between life before the disruption and life after, is full of unanswered questions and unpredictability. Remember, if life was good once, it can be again. Adopt a perspective of all things working in your favor toward an unknown good (this is also a great personal motto). Even in the worst times, consider how the eventual outcome could be better than your original plan. Trying to see a positive future will build resilience and equip you to face future struggle with determination.

5.   Start A Gratitude Journal

Embarking on a journey to express gratitude can significantly shift your mental well-being by guiding your focus towards the positive aspects of your life.

  • One effective method for a gratitude journal is the “3 to 10” approach. Write down three to ten things you're grateful for each day. Your first three ideas come with ease: friends, family, stability. As you continue, generating new ideas becomes increasingly challenging. Gratitude exercises encourage you to look deeply at your life and notice the small, often overlooked, blessings. As you concisely identify these positives, you'll begin to focus on what is going right in your life.
  • Another method is the “Daily Highlights” approach. At the end of the day, write down three specific moments you are grateful to have experienced. Simple pleasures, such as savoring a warm cup of coffee or putting a smile on your friend's face, can be noteworthy moments to record. You’ll find yourself being mindful of your mood and eager to identify the three moments to record later in the day. The more you look for the positive, the more you will find.

However you choose to capture the happy moments in life, the goal is to remember to focus on life’s positives. Appreciate the little things to significantly alter how you perceive and cope with difficult situations.

Get Support When You Struggle to Stay Positive

There are some moods we cannot break on our own. If you feel hopeless, like there is no way out of your trouble, we urge you to seek help immediately. You can call 911 if you are in immediate danger to yourself or others. Alternatively, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available 24/7/365 at 988 for support. If necessary, go directly to an Emergency Room; your local hospital can provide immediate assistance and connect you to further resources.

Support from Your Doctor

For chronic, negative thoughts and feelings you just can’t shake, your primary care physician can assist you in finding strategies, treatments, or services to support you in feeling better.

The medical team at Connected Health takes time with every patient to ensure their health needs are addressed, especially mental health needs. Evident in our relationship-based model of care, doctors have a genuine desire to get to know you without being rushed or multi-tasking in the treatment room. Our patients have their PCPs full attention. Respect goes a long way to foster an atmosphere of trust. Connected Health primary care doctors, medical team members, and all the staff go out of their way to ensure you are comfortable asking for the care you need.

Experience the added support of concierge primary care at Connected Health by scheduling a risk-free meet and greet with a provider. Reach out online or call us to schedule at 724-933-4305.

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