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Posted by Maddie Brindley-Slater on 20 December 2021

How to stay positive during difficult times

Your outlook on life can have a huge impact on how you navigate through life and it’s challenges.

In recent years, the pandemic has forced us to drastically change our lifestyle, leaving more and more of us struggling to maintain a positive perspective.

There are lots of reasons to shift your negative thinking however. Mayo Clinic state that those with a positive outlook tend to have longer lifespans, and are less susceptible to many illnesses.

Stressful events like the Covid-19 pandemic are bound to affect our mental health and mood. What if you’re a glass half-empty person? There are steps you can take to develop positive thought patterns. With your mental and physical health on the line, lets look at how you can stay positive during difficult times…

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Be kind to yourself

One of the first places to start is to not be too hard on yourself. Changes in mood are expected during times of upheaval, so ease the pressure slightly by allowing yourself grace to feel the way that you do feel.

Be aware of your mood and keep a look out for signs you’re having a bad day. Once you become aware of the warning signs, you can do things to improve your mental wellbeing. For example, run yourself a bubble bath, treat yourself to your favourite takeaway or binge watch a series – whatever makes you feel better.

Often, we can be our own worst critic, using highly judgmental self-talk when things don’t go the way that we planned. If you’re struggling with a harsh inner voice and crippling self-doubt, ask yourself how you would speak to a friend if they were feeling the same way.

Being kind to yourself is one of the quickest and easiest ways to lift your mood, to reveal a more positive outlook underneath.


Practice gratitude

An excellent way of cultivating a positive attitude is to make a list of all the things you are grateful for in your life.

Grab a pen and paper, or open your notes on your phone. Start to list anything you’re happy with or proud of - there are no rules, you can choose to list some achievements or you may wish to list all of the people you’re grateful for in your life instead.

Don’t put pressure on yourself to create a huge list, just start small and gradually add to it. You can then come back to your list in particularly difficult moments – rereading it offers you a reminder of all the things you have to be positive about.

Once you start practicing gratitude, it becomes second nature and with it comes a natural shift in your outlook on life.

Remember that nothing is permanent

During difficult times it can be easy to feel overwhelmed, like you will be stuck in your current situation forever.

Try telling yourself that nothing is permanent and every situation (good or bad) will eventually pass.

We live in a dynamic world that is constantly changing, sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse. By remembering this, you liberate yourself of the need for control your current situation, which helps negative feelings to subside.

Look after your physical health

When you’re feeling drained mentally, one of the best ways to look after yourself is to take good care of your physical health. This includes staying physically active, getting enough sleep, drinking lots of water and following a balanced diet.

It can be easy to neglect your diet or sleep routine during times of stress, however good health and mental wellbeing go hand in hand.

Start by following a free yoga routine on YouTube, then browse healthy recipes online that you’d like to make for yourself. Once you get moving and filling your body with nutrients it’s easier to stay in a positive mindset.

Take time away from social media

How much time do you spend on your phone? It’s no surprise that phone usage has increased by 39% over the last year due to the pandemic. Spending too much time on social media however, can be detrimental for our health.

Ever spend the afternoon aimlessly scrolling your feeds, only to come away from it feeling drained and low?

No matter how much you try to remove all of the accounts that lead to unhealthy comparisons or anxiety, social media algorithms often lead to you seeing more unwanted content any way.

Instead of connecting with friends on social media, arrange to catch up over a call or in person instead.

Work with a life coach or mentor

If your negative outlook is caused by uncertainty in your life direction, you may want to consider getting additional support from a life coach or mentor.

Embarking on a coaching or mentoring programme can help you highlight your goals as you decide which direction you want to move forward in. Through their experience helping others in similar situations, an expert can help you become the best version of yourself.

Don’t even know where to begin when it comes to getting support from a coach or mentor? Use our handy expert matcher tool, which provides a list of the best experts to support your needs in a few clicks.

Seek medical support

Finally, if you are experiencing long periods of negative thinking, it is recommended that you contact a medical professional for support. The NHS offer lots of information on mental health support, which can be found here.

Get more self help tips on our blog here, plus explore our range of wellbeing experts, life coaches & mentors here.

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