How To Stay Positive When Life Gets Challenging
No matter how spiritually advanced or capable you are in life – sometimes life gets a little challenging. You may read about some horrible event in the news or something happens that reminds you of something bad that happened in the past. It’s easy to get distracted and overly engaged in something negative that’s going on. Feeling a little stressed, worried or concerned is very normal, but I try to do my best to not get too caught up in those feelings anymore.
I wasn’t always like this – I was that girl who would get depressed easily, felt anxious all the time and was worried about every little thing going on in her life. I would over-analyze everything and think of all the worst case scenarios. Needlessly to say, I wasn’t very happy. I felt lost, stressed and kind of hopeless about my future. I would watch the news and worry about other people’s lives too. Why were all these horrible things happening in the world? Why was my life so messed up? Luckily, I began to take small steps here and there and slowly started changing my mindset and life for the better. Here’s my advice for when you feel like life gets challenging.
Step 1: Take back control over your life
So here’s a little tough love for you: stop blaming others for your misery. It’s not their fault if you feel stuck, depressed or hopeless in life. If you’re an adult and have your basic necessities met, then you can do the work and take back control over your life. Look I get it: people hurt or betrayed you. I’ve been there. I’ve felt hurt and betrayed and had a hard time letting go. But you don’t have to stay stuck in the past. You don’t have to keep reliving unpleasant memories and see yourself as a victim anymore. You are free to break away from that and move on. If you don’t do this, then your life will remain challenging as you can’t move on.
So take back control over your life. You do this by taking responsibility over how you feel about yourself and your life right now. What can you do today to feel a little better? Go and do that. It may be meditating, choosing to forgive someone or reading a good book. Decide that you are taking charge of your life from now on and stop hanging on to the past. This also means that you can’t obsess over other people’s lives – just focus on yours for the time being.
Step 2: Be aware of what information and entertainment you consume
A couple of years ago I decided to stop watching the news. This means that I no longer watch the news on TV, I don’t read sensational newspapers or magazines and I deleted all the news apps from my phone. I’m still aware of what’s going on in the world – I read the headlines on social media and watch documentaries or interviews that interest me, but I am no longer consumed by it. Why? Because being aware of what was going on in the world 24/7 was emotionally exhausting to me. Plus it heightened my anxiety.
It’s so easy to get caught up in the news and all the horrible things going on in the world. But how are you benefiting from being so aware of all these things? How are you growing as a person and what are you contributing by staying up to date? The news and most entertainment these days is aimed at negativity and only contributes to your stress and anxiety. Do yourself a favor and at least limit your exposure to negative news and sensationalist headlines and videos. Especially if you’re going through a hard time yourself – do not let even more negativity enter your mind.
The same goes for the TV shows you watch, people you follow on social media and the magazines and blogs you read. Focus on entertainment that makes you happy, that is educational or inspiring. So use those ‘unfollow’ and ‘mute’ buttons and try to not click on every sensational headline you encounter. Since I’ve been more mindful about what I consume, I feel a lot calmer and happier!
Step 3: Focus on what matters to you
By taking back control over your life and being more mindful regarding the entertainment you consume, you will probably feel more confident and happier already. But there is one more thing you can do to not get distracted easily and focus on the good in your life. And that is to focus on those things that matter to you. I wrote an article about rising up and making a change a while ago that explains this in detail. I believe it’s best to focus on what you can do, rather than what you can’t do. It’s not your job to save the world – it would be an impossible task. But I’m sure there is something that you can do.
So what matters to you? What can you do to contribute to a better world? And how can you utilize your talents? Do some research, make a plan and then go execute it. This doesn’t have to be a big project. You can decide to spend 2 hours a week on creating something beautiful and meaningful. What matters is that you find something you believe in. This is what you go back to when life gets challenging. By focusing on contributing and spending time on something that brings you joy, you can deal with challenges in life. You will find meaning in this even when you’re faced with challenges.
It may take some work and patience, but you can do this. I know it’s easy to fall back into old patterns of worrying and obsessing over things you can’t change, but with some patience you will get there. Start focusing on the things that you can change and how you can contribute. Every small step you take counts and every little action you can repeatedly take, eventually becomes a habit that will create a real change in your life. Because of these steps, I don’t let negativity get to me anymore like it used to. I can face challenges with confidence and a sense of peace, knowing that I can get through anything. And I know that you can do the same!
ps: I started a new job last week, which means I have to scale back a little on the time I have been spending on Rise with Kindness. My intention is to publish at least 1 article a week on the blog if I can, so I can slowly build up the website and see where it’s at 6 months from now and where I’ll go from there. Because of my work commitment, starting this week I’m only available for 1:1 sessions on Fridays.