Today's post is part of Find the Good February, a month dedicated to finding the good in your life (and in yourself!). Each week features a unique theme, and this week's theme is TOUGH TIMES.
Happy Leap Day! :) And happy last Monday of Find the Good February! I've so enjoyed focusing on striving to find the good all month long. It's been a tricky month for me (as February often is for some reason...), and having the goal of finding the good has really helped me stay focused on the positive aspects of life.
I've saved the best (and hardest!) Find the Good February topic for last: finding the good in really bad situations. Obviously "tough times" or "bad situations" are very general statements and these tips and tricks might not all apply to whatever difficulty you're facing, but there are actually a lot of ways to find the good in bad situations, regardless of the situation. Here are some of the best ways I've found to conquer tough times...
This might sound like the opposite of what you want to do when things are bad, but so much of our personal struggles come not from the actual negative experience itself but from worrying about it before it happens or reliving it over and over again once it's already happened. To avoid additional pain, focus on what's happening right in this moment. Pay close attention to your five senses in particular, taking note of what you can see, hear, taste, touch, and smell. This will keep your mind from wandering into worry territory.
MAKE A GOOD THINGS LIST
One of the best ways to stay optimistic when times are tough is to focus on what you have instead of what you lack. If, for example, you're going through a really difficult break-up, instead of focusing on the things you're going to miss about your ex, make a list of things you have in your life right now: good friends, a steady income, unique talents, a cute pet, etc. Gratitude is one of the best tools for overcoming any difficulty and it's particularly useful when things aren't going well.
CONSIDER THE BENEFITS
When you're in the midst of hard times, it's certainly a challenge to see the benefits of your situation, but there's almost always something good that could come from the bad. For example, if you just lost your job, maybe this means you're going to find a career path that's even more fulfilling for you. Or, to use the previous example, maybe the loss of a partner means an opening in your life for a new partner, new friendships, or a greater understanding of yourself. Almost every difficult situation has a silver lining, but most of them you won't be able to see unless you really look closely and focus your attention on finding it.
NOTE YOUR MINDSET
Why is it when one bad thing happens, it starts to feel as if everything is going wrong? It's because, as the quote above says, we see things not as they are but as we are. Everything we experience is filtered through our own internal dialogue and perspective. When things are great, we tend to see the whole world through rose-tinted glasses. When times are tough, a darkness tends to tint everything. The wonderful news is: you have the power to control how you see the world. Take note of how you're viewing things and make the choice (even when it's hard!) to seek out the good rather than the bad.
It's one thing to stay positive and present when things are going well, but it's really challenging when times get tough. If you're going through a tough time, I hope these tips help you and I hope you continue to remind yourself that things will get better. No matter how bad it seems now, life has a way of changing (both our circumstances and our minds) in ways we might never expect. If you're struggling, hang in there. If you're currently in a good place in your life (yay!), keep these tips in mind for tough times or bad days. And, whatever you situation, always remember that, though there are a great many things you can't control in life, the one thing you have power over is how you think about a situation and how you react to it.
Want to explore how to have a more positive, present life? Pick up your very own copy of my book, The Positively Present Guide to Life. The book is all about how to stay positive and present in various areas of life including: at home, at work, in love, in relationships, and during change. I've turned back to it often this year as I've gone through major changes and it's been tremendously helpful. The book is filled with inspiring images that make it even easier to stay positive and present. You can learn more about the book and find out where to buy a copy here. (You can also get a sneak peek at the book, access a free download, and watch the book trailer!)