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Mental Health

5 Ways to Stay Positive When Things Aren’t Going Your Way

Disappointed and frustrated because life isn't going the way you planned? We’ve all been there at some point in our lives. Everyone faces adversity, but the only difference is that some can bounce back, while others struggle with even getting out of bed. While it might feel insanely difficult to stay positive when things aren't going your way, it doesn’t have to be that hard. Sometimes all that's needed to overcome stressful moments is to prioritize yourself. If you want to find a way to grow and achieve your fullest potential in the hardest of times, read on. Here are 5 ways you can push through stressful moments with a smile on your face.

Embrace adversity

Many people go through stressful moments, even though they might not show it, but enduring pain is an inevitable part of growing up. Adversity can sometimes be viewed as a blessing in disguise. Encountering painful moments and discouragements allows you to learn from your mistakes. It allows you to self-reflect in ways that could potentially help build stronger, healthier relationships. As humans, we're prone to making mistakes and having poor judgments, however, these actions, when viewed with a positive mind, can be life-changing. 

When there’s a sudden shift from good to bad in your life, don't hide from the trauma, but rather, embrace it. Take the time to ask questions such as “Why is this happening?” and “How can I change what’s happening?” By embracing adversity and viewing tough moments as a blessing in disguise, overcoming hardships can become a lot easier. You're so much stronger than you give yourself credit for, so don’t let adversity stop you from accomplishing your fullest potential! 

Get in touch with your thoughts and emotions

Journaling is no longer an old-fashioned activity. It’s something that everyone should try to do at least once in their life. Writing in a journal is much more than recording your good memories — it's a way to improve your mental health. Journaling allows you to dive deeper into your emotions without having to fear what others might say. Bottling up emotions, whether it be positive or negative, takes a toll on your mental health, and journaling can help solve this.

Keeping a journal allows you to create order in a chaotic world. By evaluating yourself on a personal level through writing, people are able to reduce stress levels, manage their anxiety, and cope with traumatic events. As you continue on in this chaotic world, designate 15 minutes (or more) a day for journaling. Take this time to de-stress and wind down. Grab your favourite drink, sit in a cozy room, and do something good for your mind and body. If you’re stuck on what to write about in your journals, check out this website for some journaling ideas that will kickstart your road to success.

Give yourself a much needed break

Though we all dream for progress and success to come quickly and easily, it rarely does. In all aspects of society, it's crucial to stop and take a step back before moving forward. Taking a step back from a problem or stressful situation allows you to evaluate yourself. For many, the answer to dealing with adversity is to immerse yourself in more work with the hope that whatever you were initially stressed about will simply disappear. However, this only creates overwhelming stress and worries. Sometimes taking a step back from everything and giving yourself an actual break is all that's needed to rejuvenate. 

Distance yourselves from your emails, your schoolwork and your to-do list. Try doing something you enjoy, like taking a walk outdoors to clear your mind. Take this time to figure out what you want to achieve and what pathway you’re going to take to get there. Designate an hour or more each day for yourself. Here are 15 stress-busting activities that you can try doing when you need to clear your mind. Our future is transformable and that transformation occurs within us, so don't deprive yourself of a great future.

Surround yourself with positive people

Life is tough, and there will always be obstacles in the way of success. During those times, having positive people around you is sometimes all that's needed to overcome hardships. People who help take out the negativity are those who are worth keeping in your life.

The renowned phrase “time flies when you're having fun” best represents the moments you have with these people. Whether it be through a group of friends/family or even through one person, having a good support system is what will keep you smiling. These are the people who have your best interest at hand and will uplift your spirit to help you achieve your goals. So, go and find those people who can turn that frown upside down. After all, there's no room for negativity in such a small world.

Appreciate what you have

Feeling overwhelmed can often lead us into forgetting to step back and appreciate everything we have. The saying “it could have been worse” is the best way to describe the appreciative feeling people should have towards life. By acknowledging this, we adopt a positive perspective towards tackling a negative issue. By viewing life in this manner, adversity is seen as a step that must be taken towards achieving an outcome. 

Encourage yourself to believe that no matter how difficult or stressful a current situation might be, it could be worse. Everyone has the right to smile no matter what turmoil occurs in life, and by appreciating everything that you have, addressing feelings of being overwhelmed can be easier. While we can’t always control what issues arise in our lives, we can most certainly control how we deal with those issues. 

When you approach life with a positive attitude, that renders you superior to everything else nothing can break you down-- not even adversity. I know it might seem difficult to see beyond your sadness and discouragement, but thinking on the brighter side allows you to see the light at the end of the tunnel. When bad situations arise, deal with them with a smile knowing that it could have been worse.

I'll admit, staying positive when things aren't going your way is difficult. But, with the right methods, overcoming adversity with a smile on your face doesn't have to be complicated. Don’t let adversity stop you, let it strengthen you. Though I won't promise that things will automatically change overnight, with these 5 simple, yet effective methods, prevailing through struggles with positivity can make life seem a lot better in that moment.
Natasha Khan

York U '23

Natasha Khan is an avid reader and writer who loves expressing her viewpoints through captivating and informative articles. She is a second-year student majoring in the Honours Law and Society program at York University and enjoys advocating for social justice issues. When Natasha's not reading or writing you can find her in the kitchen experimenting with a combination of sweet and savoury treats.
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