10 Tips for Keeping Positive During a Difficult Time

Keeping positive and maintaining an optimistic attitude is more important today than perhaps ever before. We all have been struggling to navigate the difficulties of this global pandemic. For some, COVID-19 has taken a toll on physical health, but it has also taken a toll on mental health. For those who may have lost a teacher or grandparent during this time, it can be extremely difficult to grieve. Further, being isolated from friends, classmates, or significant others is also difficult for teenagers who are missing out on the normalcies of high school sports games, dances, and graduation.

However, whatever challenges come your way in life, it is how you respond to it that makes the difference and can determine success or failure. Responding to situations with negative thoughts can be draining and exhausting, ruining your day. However, keeping positive can foster motivation. We have the power to choose positive thinking, to channel energy into finding solutions or accepting the need to pivot to something else. By having confidence in handling the tough times and knowing that there are brighter days ahead, you can successfully navigate life’s difficulties.

Research on Keeping Positive

Modern mental health studies emphasize the significance of keeping positive. As president of the American Psychological Association, Martin Seligman challenged his fellow psychology researchers in 1999 to focus on the “scientific pursuit of optimal human functioning.”

In the illumination of this challenge, the field of positive psychology is now a central part of the mental health landscape. According to a study reported on by Mental Health America, people who were pessimistic had a shocking 20 percent higher risk of dying over a period of thirty years than those who were optimistic. Moreover, when negative people shift their thought patterns to the positive, neurologists discovered that their brain activity changed as well. Further, those who kept gratitude journals had fewer physical complaints than others.

Indeed, keeping positive is essential for not only a person’s mental health, but for their physical well-being.

10 Tips for Keeping Positive

For many, even when things are fine, staying positive can be a challenge. However, in a difficult time, staying positive and maintaining an optimistic attitude is even more challenging. Thus, here are ten small but impactful strategies for keeping positive that you can incorporate into your daily routine.

  1. Don’t Forget to Smile
    Yes, it sounds simplistic, but scientific research shows that positive feedback sent to the brain from smiling makes you feel better by releasing dopamine and serotonin.
  2. Getting Enough Sleep
    People who get a good night’s sleep experience less anger and stress during the day. The hippocampus, a part of the brain that processes positive thoughts, requires sleep in order to function optimally.
  3. Start Each Day on a Positive Note
    The first few minutes after waking can define the rest of the day. Rather than tuning in to negative news reports, read a chapter of an inspirational book or listen to a motivational podcast.
  4. Try Daily Journaling about Gratitude
    At the end of each day, make a list of three things that you are grateful for that day. Even small things like seeing flowers blooming can improve your mood.
  5. Try Different Types of Meditation Practices
    Meditation improves focus and attention while calming the mind. There are many different types of meditation to try out, and it’s great to start by simply focusing on your breath.
  6. Exercising Regularly
    Without a doubt, exercising regularly is key to keeping positive. Building a sweat doing indoor aerobics, jogging, or just taking a walk, you revive positive feelings in the body.
  7. Calling Friends
    Doing your best to stay in contact with friends can provide perspective on any troubles you have. As the saying goes, a problem shared, is a problem halved. Also, speaking to friends provides an opportunity to laugh and share positive news with each other.
  8. Embrace a Positive Vocabulary
    The words a person uses in day to day life programs the way the brain remembers and recalls. Thus, avoid negative phrases like “I can’t,” “It’s impossible,” and “This won’t work.” Instead, use positive phrases like “Let’s do our best,” and “Go for it.”
  9. Avoid Dwelling on Negativity
    Dwelling on negativity makes everything harder. Ask yourself if the issue is worth your energy? Will this issue even matter a year from now?
  10. Experience Nature That’s Easily Accessible
    Even during the current shelter-in-place restrictions, do your best to seek out opportunities to get outdoors. Whether it’s a local park, a stretch of beach, or a patch of grass with trees, experiencing nature energizes the body.

As you can see, none of these positivity tips are very complex. In fact, they are easy to implement for just about anyone. Why not give them a go and see how they can change your mindset? After all, keeping positive can lead to a healthier overall lifestyle.