Last Updated May, 2020
We all go through times of uncertainty and moments when life seems unpredictable. During those times, staying positive and motivated is a challenge.
Like now. Our world is going through a big change. We worry too much, we overthink too much and we don’t know how to stay positive no matter what the circumstances are.
All of us have our own reasons to worry. But have you noticed how some people stay positive and happy even if their personal world is falling?
Learning to think positively no matter how hard life is, is not art. We can all master it and make a habit.
If you landed on this blog for the first time, let me tell ya. I am usually writing here about the slow travel lifestyle, our digital nomad life, how to move abroad and how to see the world with a travel job. But lately, I wanted to do something different.
I was eager to start writing posts that will be aimed to inspire and help you make a change. Why? Because I personally went through a lot of tough moments and know how cruel life can get. At the same time, I know how important it is to get emotional help and support when things go in the wrong direction.
So today, I want to share a bit of my personal experience on how to stay positive no matter what is happening around. This is what I personally do and what helps me very well. If you are somewhat stuck in life or need words of encouragement for tough times, this post will give you a few practical tips.
The only note, if you want to see a change, you should start using these tips every day. So here they are:
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1. Start Cleaning Your Home and Life From Old Things
You know, I am a big fan of the Chinese Feng Shui theory which says: “if the old will not go away, the new will not come.” You’ve probably heard this saying too not even knowing it originated from China.
By Feng Shui and by a lot of authors who write about positivity and law of attraction – for new things (or events) to come, you need at first to clear a place for them. Which means that you have to learn how to get rid of the old. Otherwise, the Universe (God, as you wish) will not be able to send you what you want.
If we turn to the theory of Feng Shui, then – old things (like old clothes, receipts, kitchen supplies) are considered trash and they don’t allow a free life-giving energy flow, and bring new changes in life or new objects. They also block us from thinking positively. Why?
Because when you wear old clothes, use old perfume or listen to music from the past, you literally return yourself to that very past. With everything old that we use, we automatically reproduce specific events or moments in our minds, either they were good or bad. If they were bad, then emotionally you will be experiencing them again just on a smaller scale.
Those things, clothes or accessories that brought you joy in the past can subconsciously make you feel bad if right now you are going through tough times. Feeling bad now but remembering how happy you were before can cause self-pity which as a result creates more sadness.
Solution: In order to learn how to be positive no matter what’s happening today, avoid returning yourself to the past. Learn how to get rid of everything that once caused you pain, suffering, sadness, and various other negative experiences.
Also, try to dispose of all the things that brought you happiness at some point in life but if that happiness was later overshadowed by bad negative events. Like when you were happy in a relationship but it ended and caused you pain.
At first, it may seem difficult to throw old stuff that you believe matters. But it really helps to lighten your emotional burden.
When I started to do this, I threw away half of my wardrobe, all old receipts, and magazines, some old useless souvenirs, greeting cards from people who betrayed me or caused pain. I threw everything else what I consider old. Not only it helped me live and travel light but also remove my emotional baggage.
Psst: If you are interested to learn more about Feng Shui, take a look at this book.
2. Start Paying More Attention to Your Looks
I have been reading a few reports from psychologists that showed how people can become more positive and cheerful by improving their looks.
Those who feel beautiful and like the way they look are happier.
No one is saying that you need to get plastic surgery and change your appearance. But you need to pay more attention to what you wear, how you treat your body and skin, and what you do to look beautiful.
Change your wardrobe, put some makeup on and do your nails, take care of your skin, exercise, eat nutritious foods, stop constantly feeding your body with foods that affect mood, and break free from bad habits. Do small things like wear accessories, apply perfume, style your hair and take care of yourself.
If you don’t like your looks because of the weight – start making some changes. Adjust your eating habits, start exercising or modify your workout routine, and choose those clothes that hide figure flaws.
You don’t need to become a model to be beautiful and feel positive about yourself. You can just transform a few habits that in turn will give you confidence. And this message is not only for women but men too.
Beauty is different and comes in all various forms. No one can tell you that there is only one single way to look beautiful. Because there are thousands of ways. Find what makes you feel beautiful and love your reflection in the mirror.
If you feel you can’t do it on your own, get help from others. There is a ton of information online from stylists, hairdressers, designers, and wellness and nutrition couches.
3. Be Thankful No Matter What
If I had to give you only one recommendation based on my personal experience on how to stay positive no matter what is happening in your life, I would definitely say to be always thankful. Being grateful for everything helps you start noticing more positive things, radiate positive energy and become someone who will be attracting more good in his life.
When we put ourselves at the center of the universe, we are convinced that everything that we have we deserved. So there are unrealistic expectations from others. If we are not thankful and take everything for granted, we start believing that other people owe us and we are never happy with how much we get.
Such a view of the world inevitably leads to a whirlpool of negativity. People who don’t know how to be thankful are usually energy consumers. They are always looking for something to profit from others, not understanding how much negativity they produce.
Solution: When we choose to be grateful for everything that happens – from small failures that make us stronger to something as simple as the car that helps us get places, we switch from a selfish perception of the world to another one full of gratitude, love, and acceptance.
These changes will be also visible to others, which in turn will begin to transform your relationships with other people.
If you learn how to be grateful for what you have today, you can start receiving more. Since you are switching from the idea of taking to the idea of accepting. Just this small trick alone can revive your life and make it fulfilled and more positive.
4. Watch 5-10 Minute Videos or Podcasts on Positivity & Success
There are so many podcasts nowadays on many topics. But what I find helpful to keep my positive spirits up (and especially to stay positive when being surrounded by negativity) is to listen to short inspirational podcasts from successful people.
Longer podcasts not always work great. They take more time and require more attention. But with short ones, it’s easy to receive a portion of positivity that can energize for the whole day. You can listen to them in a car, when getting ready to work, when cooking or even right after you wake up.
If you don’t know where to start, here are a few ideas. This horizon podcast for positivity and success, Calmer in Five podcast or one of my favorite The School of Greatness where Lewis Howes (amazing speaker who also has this message in a book!) shares a quick little bit of inspiration.
You can always turn on longer podcasts but listen to each of them 5-10 minutes (if you don’t have more time) and then finish listening to them later.
For longer podcasts, I personally like a lot Tony Robbins whose podcasts are helping to achieve happiness in all areas of your life, empowering podcasts of Changeability, Mindvalley podcasts that provide strategies that help you learn how to stay positive in a relationship, how to stay healthy and perform well.
Another person worth mentioning is Gretchen Rubin. She is mostly known for her book Happiness Project but she also has a podcast show Happier with Gretchen Rubin where she shares her practical advice about happiness and good habits.
There are many more podcasts out there. Listen to a few different inspirational people and decide who you connect with better.
5. Clean Up Your Digital Life
Living in a technological world full of information and media has positive and negative effects on us. If we will be honest with ourselves, we’ll admit that for the most part, what we hear through the digital world triggers persisting negative psychological feelings in us.
Most people often feel unhappy, upset, and disappointed because they surround themselves only with negative information.
Why do you need to know the latest news and what’s happening on another side of the world? What is it going to change? Is your life going to improve? Or get worse? Not really.
The news never give an accurate representation of what’s going on in the world. Any content with negative information can be a big source for depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder. In fact, news is really bad for your success and happiness.
If you want to change your life and fill your mind with positive thoughts, then get rid of sources of negative information you hear daily. Stop watching the news, stop reading newspapers, stop watching TV shows or movies that highlight corruption, murder, devastation, fear, death, cheating and stop following people on social media who spread negativity in any form.
Any of that will not only distort your positive thinking but severely affect your emotional wellbeing. Besides that, it’s a complete waste of time.
Choose to surround yourself only with positive information.
6. Remove Toxic People From Your Life
It was my resolution for this year which, honestly, has already made me feel much better. I am still in the process of cleaning up my relationships with other people but letting some of them go gave me energy, made me feel better about myself and my life.
Who are toxic people?
Toxic people are those who often complain about everything, speak badly of others behind their backs and gossip. They love to point out your flaws and mistakes, especially when you don’t ask about their opinion.
Toxic people don’t believe in you and what you do. At any opportunity, they try to say that your plan or idea will not succeed.
I remember how two years ago before I started this travel blog, I shared an idea of creating it with one of my closest friends (we are not friends anymore). What a surprise it was to hear her disbelief in me. In fact, she was trying to dissuade me from starting any blog, saying how saturated the market was and that with such competition I won’t be able to make it through anyways.
She is a great example of a toxic person.
Another feature of toxic people is their curiosity about your life. This curiosity is so intense that they are trying to give you various types of advice, especially when you don’t ask for it.
And the last, toxic people always try to pull you back and try to make you feel guilty. They make you feel guilty about your lifestyle, being with your partner, not making enough money, etc.
What interesting, toxic people are everywhere. They can be your friends, parents, children, teachers, coworkers. While it is easy to remove yourself from some of them, it can be difficult with others.
Solution: Start breaking free from relationships with negative people. If that’s someone you live in the house with but none of you can move, try to keep all communication to a minimum. Don’t share your personal life and set boundaries. Put a wall between you and that person.
When I try to remove toxic people from myself, I find excuses not to communicate with them and eventually bring our relationship to the end. I don’t promise to call back or meet up. Also, I stop responding to their messages or calls.
I choose to spend time only with those who inspire me or evoke positive emotions and a sense of happiness. If you are really looking to learn how to stay positive, especially if bad things keep happening, surround yourself with “right” people. One of the books that helped me do it in the past (get out of a toxic relationship) was a book from Steven Wolhandler.
And, do not be afraid to make new acquaintances and friends. People come to our life for a season or for the reason. Don’t forget that.
7. Help Fight Your Negative Thoughts With Healthy Activities
What I learned to do and what I find very helpful during the moments when negative thoughts come, is to occupy myself with certain healthy activities that distract my mind and help me physically or emotionally.
It is very important to direct all efforts to regain positive thinking when we only start feeling that bad thoughts are creeping into our minds. The longer we think negatively, the sooner our physical and emotional state will be affected.
We need to stop it right away.
One of the best ways to remain positive is to keep my mind distracted. And some activities help me do it well. I personally find that workouts, dancing, going for a walk, cooking (I love to cook), listening to a podcast, reading a story of success and surfing the Internet for travel inspiration help me a lot. Sometimes, when I want to stay positive but don’t feel like doing any from the above, I just turn on a movie from the genre I love. But a movie that lifts up my mood.
My list of activities can differ from yours. Choose what you love doing. If you go with activities that bring you happiness on a good day, they will definitely help you get back to a positive self when you feel down.
And don’t forget about sports. It is the best remedy for depression and negative thinking. During intense physical activity, the body begins to produce endorphins which create a feeling of euphoria. That is why, after long jogging, swimming or training all people always have positive and comforting thoughts.
8. Do Not Be Afraid to Say “No”
Not being able to say ‘no’ in the long term can affect the way you think and feel. If you are not able to find the strength to refuse an offer you don’t need or say no to a request, you’ll end up draining yourself emotionally. And being empty emotionally is opening a door to negativity and depression.
People who respect themselves, know their goals and value their time can say no. They don’t have the problem of refusing what they don’t need or can’t do.
I am not saying that being self-absorbed and selfish is the way to go. No. But it is important to find a middle ground here.
I learned how to say ‘no’ if I don’t feel comfortable, don’t like something or simply don’t want to do it. I’m no longer afraid to look bad in the eyes of others for this no. Why? Because I stopped caring about what people think of me if I say no to them. It’s impossible to please everyone anyway.
Whenever you are asked to do something, ask yourself at first: “Is this consistent with my goals? Does this fit into my picture of a successful future?”, “Will I be able to accomplish this?”.
9. Help Other People
Another thing I learned.. helping other people can help you stay positive and energetic. In which way you ask?
Negativity in any form, as a rule, goes hand in hand with selfishness. People who live only for themselves do not have a higher goal in their lives. If the meaning in life is to satisfy one’s needs and take care of oneself, the road to long-term happiness and satisfaction will be long and lonely.
One of the main ways to find the purpose and remain positive in your life is to start doing things for others.
No, I am not saying that you have to start looking for volunteering opportunities or donate some money. Start small. Hold the door for another person, offer to carry bags (like with groceries) for an elderly person or anyone else who may need that help. Ask how the day went before telling how yours was. Show genuine interest in other people. Be slow to talk but listen more.
Helping others will give you a sense of true value that will turn into positivity. And people will just be grateful to you in the process.
I know, someone can say that helping others with a goal to feel better about yourself is altruism. But so what? With altruism, people prosper together. You help others and this helps you in the end. It’s a win-win situation!
10. Take Responsibility For Your Life. You are NOT a Victim
You are the only one who is responsible for your thoughts. People who believe that nothing depends on them in this life easily find themselves in captivity of negative thinking.
Phrases like “I must do… (this and that)” or “I cannot believe that he did this to me”, “I am not able to do anything anyways”, “She ruined my life”, etc. are clear indicators of negative thinking. Blaming circumstances and other people is the destiny of those who will have a hard time keeping a positive mindset.
Taking responsibility for your life, thoughts and actions is the biggest step towards a positive life.
Each of us has unlimited potential to create our reality, change our lives and our thoughts. When you truly realize this, you start to understand that no one can make you have certain feelings, provoke a certain reaction, or do something. We and only we choose what our reaction to people and circumstances will be.
And when we learn to take control of our emotions in our hands, we will be able to always stay positive no matter what is happening around us.