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5 tips for trumping tragedy with positivity

When you're going through a true tragedy, the kind of life-altering heartache that can take a lifetime to recover from, one of the last things you want to be thinking about is staying positive. In times of tragedy, the word positivity can sound like a foreign concept, the kind of fantastical notion that only naive children believe in. It may be unbearable to consider being positive when tragedy strikes, but it is one of the best ways to rise above whatever pain and hurt you are facing and move forward with your life. Being positive in general can be a challenge and it's even more difficult when you find yourself in a terrible situation. For this reason, it's important to deal with using positivity in times of tragedy from a unique perspective. It's not enough to say "look for the good in everything" or "spend time laughing." Regular positivity tips and tricks won't always work when dealing with a particularly heartbreaking or disturbing scenario. For times of tragedy, things are a bit different and this is why I've put together a list of the top five ways to use positive thinking to improve your outlook if you're facing a tragic situation.
5 Tips for Using Positivity to Trump Tragedy
1. Be open to gratitude. One of the very first things you can do when faced with tragedy is open your mind to grateful thinking. It might seem like one of the last things you want to do when you're going through a particularly hard time, but it's one of the first things you should turn to when you're struggling. While an "attitude of gratitude" might sound terrifically cliche, focusing on the elements you're grateful for when things aren't going well is one of the quickest ways to bring your mind back to a positively present state. If you can focus on what you have to be grateful for in your life right now, you can steer your mind in a positive direction. Even the most basic things -- like being alive -- are worth considering. Even during the absolute worst of times, there is something to be thankful for.
2. Keep yourself busy. When tragedy strikes, the last place you want to find yourself is sitting alone with nothing to do but dwell on your own thoughts. If you don't keep busy, you'll find yourself hopelessly replaying the moments and emotions in your mind, plunging yourself further and further into the black hole of negativity. You don't want to do that now, do you? No. You want to be strong, be positive, and recover from whatever tragedy you're facing. And, if that's what you're aiming for, you need to get up off your bum and get moving. Recruit friends and family and get moving. Take up a hobby, join a group, host an event. Even if it's the last thing you feel like doing, get moving. The busier you are, the less time you'll have to dwell on the negative thoughts you may be experiencing.
3. Seek professional help. One of the most important things to consider when a tragedy strikes is whether or not you need to seek professional help. Seeking positivity is all well and good, but some situations require some serious professional attention. If you're struggling with what you think might be depression or you're battling addiction issues related to the tragedy you've experienced, it's essential that you seek professional help. It might seem expensive or time-consuming, but the investments you make in your personal well-being are always worth it. You deserve to rise above whatever tragedy has happened to you, and one of the only ways to do that may be to seek outside guidance from a true professional. Make sure to do your homework when seeking someone to help you and, if the relationship doesn't feel right, know that it's okay to move on to another professional if necessary.
4. Surround yourself with love. Loving yourself and surround yourself with people that love you is great advice for anyone, but it's especially important if you're facing a tragic situation. Love is one of the greatest solutions to almost any problem. If you find yourself in a tough spot and need help, turn to love. First and foremost, be kind and loving to yourself. Give yourself a break when things are really hard and refrain from judging yourself. Loving yourself is one of the most important things you can do for yourself, but it's also one of the hardest. While you're working on that, be sure to surround yourself with people who love you, care about you, and support you. Remember: almost nothing is more important than being around those who love you during a tragedy.
5. Stay in the present. Though it might seem like the present is where you're suffering and you might wonder, "Why would I want to stay here?", the present is actually the best place to direct your thoughts when you are faced with a deeply tragic circumstance. Most likely, you are struggling in the present because you are thinking on what has happened to you or your imagining what will happen based on the tragedy you've experienced. Stop. Instead, focus on what's happening in this very moment. Use your five senses to really pay attention to the world around you in this moment. Don't waste time looking back or making predictions about what's next. Stay in the moment, stay present, and slowly but surely you'll be able to make progress in a positive direction.

Being positive in the face of tragedy is tough. It's one of the hardest things you'll probably face in your life. It can be all too tempting to give into negativity when you're in a difficult situation -- but don't! Life is way too short to be miserable and, by letting negativity take hold of you, you're setting yourself up for an unhappy existence. When tragedy strikes, remember the five tips I've listed above and know that you, like so many who have faced tragedy and grown stronger from it, can overcome whatever heartache you're facing.


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Thank you Dani.

Tricia - You're welcome. I hope you found this article useful. Stay positive!

Thank you for this lovely post. It's just perfect and the advice is right on the mark! Positivity can shape our lives if we choose it!

This is exactly what I needed for today, Dani! Thank you for these helpful tips and thank you for agreeing to contribute to iaam. You truly are an inspiration!

It's amazing how much we can change our quality of life, by changing what we surround ourself with.

Dandy - You're welcome! Positivity can definitely shape our lives -- even when it seems like the hardest thing to do.

Grace - Though I'm not happy to hear you're going through a tough time, I'm so glad this post resonated with you. No matter what -- try to stay positive! And thank you so much for introducing me to IAAM. I'm very excited to be a contributor and I really appreciate you facilitating the introduction.

J.D. - It's so true. What we surround ourselves with really does shape the way we live our lives, which is why it's so, so important to fill our lives with things that inspire us and bring us up, not down (especially in times of tragedy!).

It always comes down to #5, doesn't it? Nice post! Presence keeps it real.

Derrick - Yes it does! If we can do that, almost any situation becomes easier. Thanks for the comment!

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