7 Habits to Stay Positive When You're Feeling Negative

February 16, 2021

7 Habits to Stay Positive When You're Feeling Negative

With the pandemic going on for a year now, it can be easy to develop a pessimistic outlook to life and of people. So how can we climb out of the ditch and improve our outlook on life? In this article, I'd like to share 10 healthy habits that can help you sty more positive and constructive during difficult times.


1. Look for the Good in the Bad

This is a very simple but most effective habit to improve your outlook of a situation. When you are in a negative situation, try asking yourself questions such as:
  • What is one good or positive outcome from this situation?
  • What opportunity does this situation offer?


This way of thinking may not work well right away, so take sometime first to process the situation and then try incorporate this optimistic thinking.


2. Surround Yourself with Positive People

Who you choose to spend your time with, whether it's a person or our choice of entertainment, can have a huge impact on our mental wellbeing. In order for us to become more positive, we need to spend time with those that have an overall good influence on us, support us, and lift us up instead of dragging us down. So think hard about what you allow to affect your mind. Ask yourself:

  • Who are the top 3 most negative people in my circle of friends?
  • What are the top 3 most negative source of information I spend time on?
  • What are the top 3 types of entertainment that leaves me feeling worse about myself?


Take time to consider your answers to those questions and think of ways you can spend less time with those people or entertainment that doesn't impact you in a positive way. Use the time you've freed up from those negative associations and fill it up with those that are positive sources in your life.


3. Don't Make a Big Deal

When we are stressed or going on a negative streak, it is very easy to lose perspective. Here are three simple ways to handle the situation:

Tell Yourself STOP

As soon as you start having those negative thoughts in your head, shout in your head, "STOP!".

Breathing Exercises

Once you've interrupted your negative thoughts, take some time to do breathing exercises. Focus on your breathing. For about two minutes, breath in deeply and exhale to calm your mind down.

Re-Align Yourself

Talk about your thoughts with someone close to you to get a more rational perspective on the situation. Venting it out to someone may also help you to realize that the situation isn't as bad as it seemed. Or ask yourself: Will this really matter after 5 days? 5 weeks? 5 years? That can usually help us realize that the problem may not be as big of a deal as we made it seem a few minutes back.


4. Add Positivity to Someone Else's Life

There's a saying, "There is more happiness in giving than there is in receiving." When you take time to spread positivity to others, you tend to get it back from them as well. How well you treat others can really have how you think of them which in turn can have a huge effect on how your treat and think about yourself. How can you spread the positivity?

Help Out - Know a friend that needs help? Don't just tell them, "Hope it goes well." Be proactive and lend a hand!

Listen - There are some days where our friends may just need someone to be there and listen to them vent. Be that person for them. They can do the same for you in your time of need.

Boost the Mood - Smile often. Give hugs freely if possible. Play some upbeat music. Give sincere commendation to encourage others.


5. Exercise + Good Diet

This is a no-brainer, but seriously take time to keep your overall wellness in check. Exercising can have a huge impact on our energy throughout the day and it can make us feel better about ourselves. Make sure that you don't neglect your sleep health either. Staying up late binge watching your favorite shows may make you feel happy at the moment, but the next morning you will take the blow for it. It can affect our mood and cause us to be more sensitive and cranky throughout the day.

Don't skip meals! When we make sure to eat our meals on time, it can help us to think more clearly about a situation or a problem that arises than when we are on an empty stomach. Have you heard of being "hangry"? That's hungry + angry. So let's avoid any triggers that can lead to negativity.


6. Learn to Accept Criticism

It never feels good to be criticized. In fact, most people fear it. It hurts. So although it may be impossible to avoid criticism completely, we can learn to handle it in a healthy way. How can we do that? Here are some step I like:

Don't Reply Right Away

When we are emotionally charged after hearing a criticism or something that doesn't rub us in the right direction, don't say the first thing that comes to your head. Take time to calm down a bit by first taking a couple of deep breaths and spending some more time to process what they said.

Try to Understand the Criticism

Be open minded and try to think how this criticism can help you. Ask yourself: What is one think I can benefit from applying this criticism? Is there some fact about the criticism? Is there something that could help me become a better person?

Be Empathetic

Sometimes it's good to remember that the criticism or negative remark isn't always related to you. We all have our bad days and those bad days can cause anyone to lash out and say something hurtful that they didn't really mean about the person. So try to be understanding and think, maybe this person is actually not feeling good about themselves right now.

Always Opt to be Kind

No matter how insulting the criticism is, responding in the same manner back or retaliating will never solve the issue, but make it worse. Trying to reply level-headed and kind never hurts, but can even soften the tension. At times, we may have misunderstood what they intended to say, so ask a simple question or two to make sure you understood correctly what they said. Or, if the situation is just getting worse, just letting it go and walking away may be the next best move.


7. Start Your Day on a Positive Note

How you start your day really helps set the tone for the rest of your day. So make sure to delegate time for some self-care in the morning. Waking up early enough so that you don't need to rush through can significantly affect your mood for the rest of the day. Have a relaxing bath, dress up in a way that makes you feel good about yourself, have a meaningful uplifting conversation with a friend or family, listen or read an up-building book, or take time to really enjoy your breakfast.