Recently I’ve noticed that it has been challenging for me and many people I talk to and work with to stay positive. With the volatility of the economy, the negativity of the upcoming election, and fear of the unknown, it seems easy to get stuck in the “doom and gloom” of the world around us.
At this moment, even though it may be difficult, it’s important that we stay positive for the well being of our families, companies, relationships, communities, and especially for our own peace of mind. But, given all that has been going on recently, how can we stay positive genuine way?
While there’s no “quick fix” and we want to make sure we’re not avoiding what’s going on around us and within us, there are three things I believe we can do to help us stay positive in the mist of this current adversity, and adversity in general.
- Be Honest – Whenever we’re facing challenges, obstacles, or “difficult” circumstances, it’s important for us to be honest about how we truly feel. The most common feelings that we experience at these times are anger, fear, and shame. We get angry that something “bad” has happened or because we feel powerless. We get scared that it may get worse or that other people or circumstances may continue to perpetuate the issue in a way we can’t control. And, we feel shame that maybe we did something “wrong” or could have done something to avoid the situation all together. These three emotions are ones we often don’t like to admit or express. However, like all emotions, when we acknowledge them, own them, and express them – they have a way of dissipating and in the process we can free ourselves from their negative impact.
- Be Conscious – Pay attention to what you’re feeling, how you’re thinking, what you’re saying, and the actions you’re taking. Without judgment, see if you can be very aware of everything that is going on within you and how you’re reacting to what’s happening. In the midst of stress and adversity we have a tendency to think, say, and do things that don’t actually make things better and in many cases we make things worse. We complain, we worry, we speak negatively about life, others, and ourselves, we watch too much TV, we over eat, we drink too much, or we do various other things in an unconscious way that don’t serve us. The more conscious we can be about our feelings, thoughts, words, and actions – the more likely we are to stay positive and to move through the adversity in a way that we can actually learn and grow from, not just survive.
- Be Grateful – Although it’s often counter-intuitive to be grateful in the face of adversity, it’s often the most important time for us to focus on what we appreciate – about ourselves, others, and life in general. Even and especially when things go “bad,” we’re often given an opportunity to take inventory of the good stuff in our life that we may not have been paying attention to as we were rushing our way through things. Take some time right now to think about some of the things you’re grateful for. Adversity can remind us that while things may be tough, we have so many blessings – health, a job, a place to live, people who love us, and much more. And, there are also many things we can appreciate about the difficulty itself – we may realize we’re stronger than we thought we were, we have more support around us than we knew, or we’re able to learn some important lessons about ourselves and life. There is always a lot for us to be grateful for, if we choose to pay attention. We can’t feel grateful and victimized at the same time!
Without trivializing the impact of current state of the economy or other things going on around you, it is possible for each of us to remain open, optimistic, and positive in the face of any and all adversity or uncertainty. This doesn’t mean we’re somehow super human or always happy. It does mean, however, that we choose to be honest, conscious, and grateful in the midst of what’s going on. And, if we choose to do so, we can have this be a time of reflection, rejuvenation, and transformation for us and those around us.
Be kind to yourself and see if you can be present in as many moments as possible. And, it’s important that we always remember, “this too, shall pass.
Gwen Douglas says
Great Article and sound principles. I have forwarded to my friends.
Deborah Zeni says
You are so right. Too many people are borrowing worry and fretting about what may come, losing their jobs, reduction in pay, loss of home or health insurance. It is important to be as prepared as you can for crises situations, however in the midst of “potential” bad times, we forget to appreciate and relish in the now and the fact that we are still working at full pay, we have health insurance, we are making the mortgage, have families that loves us and good people like you to remind us of just that ! Thanks again- DZ
Cheryl Cummins says
I wanted to share with something that has come up with me with the great losses in my 401K money recently. I don’t make a lot of money, but have always been blessed to make enough to share with groups that I believe in. When I found that my retirement fund was going South, I could not resist the impulse to sit at the computer and send More money out that ever before. Somehow, I feel freed up, am not worried about what will come and Love that what I have can be spread around.
Good, good work that you are doing.
Margaret Dittinger says
I am sitting at my desk looking out at an absolutely awesome sunrise and thinking how lucky I am to be able to see this. A co-worker was at my desk enjoying this with me. I feel very fortunate to be able to work and see this wonderful display of God’s handiwork. It puts the 401K loss in a different perspective. Sure, I’d like to have the money back but God is still there for me and I will focus on the beauty and not the ugliness. Also, a friend’s brother just found out he has cancer and not long to live. How can anything be worse than that? Thank you for your columns and reminding us of what is really important. Friends, family and faith. All the rest takes a backseat.
Gina Guzzo says
I think it is true that in harder times, keeping focused on what is good is even harder, but heres the pearl in that, if you can stay focused and happy despite all the worries and concerns around you then you will make greater growth as a human being, it is like meditating in the middle of Times Square hard yes but what an impact on your consciousness if you can do it. And we are at a crucial point in humanity when the message of appreciation has to sink in, or else it will get harder, so do the work appreciate the moment and the beauty of it, NOW is all there is. I have kept a gratitude journal for a year and a half and wow has my outlook on the world and life changed. Cant wait to hear you again Mike at our company!
Your style is very unique compared to other people I have read stuff from.
Many thanks for posting when you have the opportunity, Guess I’ll just bookmark this
lisa smith says
What triggers your emotional reaction to an event is the way that you perceive the event, or what you say to yourself about yourself in relation to it, rather than the event itself. A simple shift in your perspective about the importance or meaning of a particular event, or a shift in your belief about your capacity to cope with it positively, can change your focus and your emotional reality. Nothing changes except the way that you perceive yourself, interpret the event, or view your capacity to cope with it, yet that simple positive change in focus can give you inner strength and confidence, release you from stress, and free you to live, perform, and contribute more joyfully. You can choose the perspective that you carry into your daily life and your performances.
MONICA PAUL says
Reading this in 2020, with the pandemic it’s still reassuring.
Grateful for what you put out Mike.