You’ve hit a rough patch in your life that you didn’t see coming.
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You’re afraid to open up to even your closest friends and relatives about just how much you’re struggling for fear of judgment or pity.
Every day, you try to put on a brave face and maintain that stiff upper lip.
You live and die by the saying, “Tough times don’t last, tough people do.” Try as you may to maintain a protective exterior, the cracks are starting to show and you realize you’re not fooling anyone.
I get it. When my back is against the wall, the last thing I want to be is vulnerable.
I just want to fight back and show ‘em who’s boss. But what if all this fighting is costing you the life-giving benefits afforded by intimacy and connection?
What if your willingness to engage the negativity around you is causing you to become negative yourself?
What if it were possible to stay positive in tough times, even thrive?
If you’re tired of fighting and would rather be happy than tough, here are 5 tips that can help you do this in a big way:
1. Get Over Yourself
It’s natural to want someone to host a pity party in your honor when things go wrong.
And if you have trouble finding a host, you probably don’t have a problem hosting your own party.
Honestly, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that per se.
The problem is that we keep these parties going long after the wine has run out and all the guests have left.
If you want to stay positive in tough times, you must train yourself to move through the “Why me!” phase as fast as possible.
Give yourself two or three days to wallow, to cry, and even blame other people for why your life is the way it is.
But as soon as the contracted period is over, let go of all blame and self-pity. Look inward to explore your own role in the problem and begin to brainstorm positive solutions.
2. Surround Yourself With Good Company
In times of stress, it’s important to be very intentional about the company you keep.
If you only surround yourself with people who enable your self-pity or blaming, you’ll almost certainly not be able to summon the strength to maintain a positive outlook.
Instead, seek people out who see the half-full glass in every situation.
Seek people who are solution oriented. Most importantly, seek people who have the courage to walk with you in your struggle, even if just for a short while.
This will help you not feel alone, which can make all the difference in tough times.
By the way, some of your positive friends can be virtual. Listen to or watch positive media.
Follow the blogs and social media accounts of people you admire. Read the stories of inspiring people who overcame difficult circumstances.
You’d be amazed by how contagious the positivity of others can be.
3. Be Vulnerable
You may be going through tough times, but you don’t have to be tough to get through it.
Because the truth is, we cannot get through our tough times if we’re unwilling to open up to others about our struggles.
Yes, it’s risky to do so even with the people we trust most, but the benefits far outweigh the risk of rejection.
The sense of connectedness you feel with others when you share more deeply of yourself will not make you weak. On the contrary, you’ll discover that you’re much stronger than you think.
4. Connect With Something Larger Than Yourself
You may think that your failing health, your dwindling income, or your boss at work may be the enemy during hard times.
But the real enemy is your own mind because of all the negativity it can generate when you’re feeling threatened or unsafe.
That’s why it’s so important to connect with something larger than yourself so that you can see a world of goodness beyond your own mind.
You can do this through prayer, meditation, or volunteering.
Try to find someone who is hurting just as much as you or more and offer them a helping hand. Watch the goodness you offer, come back to you a hundredfold.
5. Explore The Possibilities
Tough times have a way of narrowing our vision so we can focus on the immediate concern or crisis.
In a way, this can be useful but it also blinds us to the possibilities and opportunities that become available during hard times.
One way I try to expand my vision when times are tough is to repeatedly ask myself this question:
What does this make possible?
If you’re dealing with job loss, this may be the perfect opportunity to pursue the career path you’ve always wanted.
A rough patch in a marriage can be an opportunity to deepen your relationship with your spouse.
A health scare can provide you the motivation to finally start eating right.
Tough times don’t last, positive people do.
So what will it be?
Will you choose to allow tough times to bring you down or will you choose to take your emotional health into your own hands by finding ways to stay positive?
If you choose the latter, these tips will help you maintain a positive outlook during tough times.
And remember, the tough times won’t last forever. Hang in there, do all you can to maintain your positivity, and you’ll be perfectly poised to be even better off than ever before.