“You never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have.” — Bob Marley. During these difficult times of Covid-19 quarantine, where everything is suspended and put into question, we often feel overwhelmed with negative emotions and stressful thoughts. We can’t avoid facing this latent anxiety, but we can counteract its effect on our lives with positive thinking and doing. Part of going forward, is to do simple things that will help support a healthy lifestyle. How can we keep a positive mindset during tough times? How to stay positive in negative situations? Here are five ways for you to achieve this in your day-to-day life.
- Take a moment for yourself as part of your daily routine.
The way you start every day usually sets the tone for the rest of it: you must get your day off on the right foot and pay attention to how you spend your mornings. Do positive things that make you feel good and happy. For example, to me, it’s making myself a tasty morning coffee. I swear I handle my morning duties and responsibilities as a #mama and #boss a million times better after I have had my morning cuppa. I don’t really know the scientific reasons behind it, I just know that we are creatures of habit, and the mind responds well to daily routine. Of course you should try to keep these morning habits healthy and to benefit without overdoing it. I limit my coffees to maintain the just needed amount to feel alive and kicking, and I try not to overdo it throughout the day. I also like to have at least two glasses of water when I wake up in the morning.
The whole idea is to take some moments for yourself to pause on the full-speed rhythm that we all tend to have. It can be simply:
- Phoning your family or a good friend to have a wholesome, uplifting conversation ;
- Practice mindfulness with prayer or meditation ;
- Writing in a gratitude journal ;
- Doing exercise ;
- Reading a few pages of your favorite book or helpful articles ;
- Relaxing with some soft music, laying down on the couch for a couple of minutes ;
- Listening to inspiring podcasts over breakfast ;
- Helping to share ideas for other boss mamas looking to improve their mindset ;
- Want to help us add to the list? Comment down below with your favorite daily ritual.
These precious moments that you grant yourself with make a big difference for how you live and feel all day. They are the most useful and simple ways to fuel a positive mindset during times of trouble.
- Focus on the present and on the positive (small) things
MARIA IS HERE (Proof-reading)
No matter how dire a situation may be, there are always some brighter sides you can find in it. It is more a matter of our unwillingness to see them, or our incapacity to switch off the stressful voices of future troubles in our minds, that blind us to the positive things in life. There is a way to find peace of mind: it is to focus on the present. It’s called mindfulness. When they say ‘the present’, they don’t actually mean to concentrate on the precise day, hour or time… It’s more about being present in ‘this moment’ and choosing to focus on what is around you in a given moment. A lot of stress comes from memories of recent events, or the anticipation of a potential bad future. To keep a positive mindset, you should try to look for small positive ‘happy’ things to appreciate and allow yourself the pleasure of being happy about these small things! It’s OK to feel happy about something when it’s a difficult time. If we look to concentrate on the present moment, on a small moment of ‘happy’ and this is called mindfulness and it is incredibly powerful! As abstract as this concept can sound, it is indeed a natural state of mind that we all possess. And it’s available in every moment of our lives! Focusing on the present moment helps us to create a space between ourselves and our reactions: it’s a space to be aware, to breathe and to quiet down. You can find simple information and wonderful mindful techniques here or there to implement it in your everyday habits.
- Accept changes and find simple solutions
We are all a bit resistant to changes in our lives. Going through difficult times always comes with fear. Why? Because we don’t know what’s coming next and we end up imagining the worst and trying to cope with it emotionally. This put us into a vicious circle where we prevent changes from happening and sometimes (often!) not for the best. We must accept that continuous change is part of the deal, whether it is good or bad, and find easy solutions to welcome it in our daily life. This mindset helps a lot in being more relaxed and more accepting towards the situation.
For example, if you are facing a business downturn and some financial difficulties because of the Covid-19 crisis, what can you do? Ruminate all day and fight against the wind? Possibly, but this is not going to help. Or you can try to turn this situation into a chance to see the positive side of it:
- Find one positive or good thing about this situation: it could be an opportunity to broaden your perspectives!
- Implement a solution to better your days within this situation: allow this time off to learn some new skills or to diversify your activity with new fresh ideas of development.
It’s all a matter of trying to find an optimistic viewpoint in every negative situation and trying to stick to it by taking an action that makes you feel powerful. I am not going to lie, this can be really hard, especially when facing tragic changes, like death or disease. When I went through my leg operation for suspicion of tumor, I was very scared and I had a lot pain and questioning to cope with. By accepting the temporary changes that it brought in my life (incapacity to move, to hold my baby, to drive, to make my own food…), I found accessible solutions to them (asking good friends to help me out, call my family to get loving support, find natural pain killers…). I managed to fight the negative effects of this hardship and made it through each day with a positive outlook. I constantly thought “What does not destroy us make us stronger”, and that’s exactly what happened! Practice the power of positive thinking every day and you will see by yourself the magic of it: it will change your attitude and the solutions will come by naturally to foster your positive mindset.
- Exercise your body and mind
Exercising is a very effective way to stay positive in tough situations. Why? The reason is purely physical: moving your body releases natural endorphins, the hormones of pleasure, in our brains. They reduce pain and boost the feeling of well-being. The mental and emotional benefits of exercise are proven: it’s good for our bodies and minds! How this will help us to keep a positive mindset during tough times? While your body will be in better shape, your self-esteem will be even stronger as per your self-confidence. And those two are key to a positive mindset. During stressful times, we are very tempted to skip on getting out, sleeping or eating well. This is such a bad habit NOT to take.
Include a small work out in your daily routine and try to keep a good sleep (at steady hours) along with your three daily meals. This is the best way to find a release for your negative energy and to clear your mind in order to stay focused on your next upcoming steps. Personally, I am a big fan of dancing in my living room. I sometimes like to put some good YouTube music on my Samsung Smart TV and start shaking my body around! It just feels so good. Another tip from a very good friend would be to add some yoga or breathing exercises to your healthy routine. For a few minutes, your body and your mind slow down and you can focus on a constructive way of thinking. You must bear in mind that no amount of positiveness can replace daily practice. So: go for it!
- Give thanks where it’s due
Last, but not least: take time to say thank you! Even in very dark times, we all still have things in our lives for which we are grateful for. Think of people who are helping you, supporting you, your family, your closest friends, your support groups… Express your gratitude to them as often as possible. This will help you to stay focused on the good things instead of the bad. It won’t be easy to be thankful in the face of tough challenges. But it is a very effective way of concentrating on what you do have, instead of what you have lost. And here is another secret of keeping a positive mindset: practicing gratitude will put you in a better position to stay strong when bad things happen and to solve problems. The bad will always be there, but it is IF we choose to focus on the good, we make a huge difference in our attitude towards the situation. Think about it: things could be a lot worse! Just as the bad might always be there, so will the good. Always try to focus on that and keep a grateful mind and heart.
To keep a positive mindset during tough times may not always be easy. Now you know some of the best ways to maintain a positive attitude towards life’s challenges: make sure you do all the little things you can do daily to support your global objectives. And you can start at any time: staying positive when things get difficult is uplifting for yourself but also for others. It’s like spreading sunlight over darkness. And the good news is that this strength is lying within each of us. Believe in yourself, start today to practice healthy positivity and witness the magic operating.