How do people stay positive when things are really rough? I know we can’t be the only family struggling to keep our heads above water. Could you give us any tips for getting through the discouragement? How can we stay happy in the face of huge setbacks and problems?
I’m so glad you asked this question because you are definitely not alone. Most families are experiencing some fear and stress about their situations right now.
Here are nine tips for surviving rough times with a smile.
1. Understand that even if you can't control outside circumstances, you can decide how you want to experience them. Since negativity will get you nowhere, choose a positive attitude even if it’s ridiculously optimistic. Refuse to dwell in fear.
Consciously choose to trust that you will make it through and gain strength and wisdom from this experience. Every situation makes you a better person and this one will serve you in some way. Choose to believe good things are coming. They might be – you don’t know what’s around the next corner and it’s more enjoyable to expect the best than the worst.
2. Remember this won’t last forever. Life is cyclical and you will always have your ups and downs. Life is a beautiful mix of blessings and challenges. Whether things are good or bad, it won’t last forever. Decide to accept the impermanent nature of life. Those who expect it to always be easy will always be disappointed. Try to embrace the difficult times as a perfect and inevitable part of your journey.
3. Hang out with positive people. Avoid negative people who wallow in their stories of woe. Misery loves company but it doesn’t have to be yours. Choose to associate with people who think positive. Make friends with people who are problem solvers and motivated to create good things in their lives. It will rub off on you.
4. Read encouraging, uplifting books and listen to upbeat, happy music. Choose books that give you a fresh perspective on life and music that makes you want to dance. A library card and listening to the radio are both free. The personal development author and speaker Og Mandino wrote about the night his life fell apart. He thought about killing himself but decided to go to the library instead. He read every book he could find on positive thinking and it changed his life. It could change yours.
5. Start a gratitude journal. Focus on what you do have. Enjoy even the smallest of blessings and treasure every simple happy moment. Take time each day to write down five things you are grateful for. You’ll be amazed at how blessed you really are.
6. Work on your spirituality. Research shows that those who practice faith and maintain a relationship with God live longer and more satisfying lives. Turn your worries over to a higher power and practice faith.
7. Laugh as much as possible. Laugh together as a family. Watch funny movies, read joke books and keep your sense of humor alive. Watch "Wipeout" or "America's Funniest Home Videos." For some reason watching other people fail really cheers you up. When we were struggling we often laughed about just how bad off we were. We had nothing more to lose so we just had to laugh at it.
8. Reach out to others who are worse off than you. Get your focus off your own problems. Perform acts of service. Find a place to volunteer. Service will change your perspective. You will feel better right away.
9. Get some help. A little professional help could make a huge difference especially if you are feeling depressed. You are in charge of your destiny so get some help to change the course of your life. There are many life coaches, counselors and therapists in your area to call on.
"A great attitude does much more than turn on the lights in our worlds; it seems to magically connect us to all sorts of serendipitous opportunities that were somehow absent before the change. Our attitude toward life determines life's attitude towards us." - Earl Nightingale
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Kimberly Giles is the president and founder of Claritypoint Life Coaching and 12 SHAPES INC. She is an author and professional speaker. She was named one of the top 20 advice gurus in the country by Good Morning America in 2010. She appears regularly on local and national TV and Radio.