Staying positive during good times is generally easier, as one doesn’t have to make an effort to search for happiness and positivity. It is a real challenge to stay positive when life takes you through a rough patch. We tend to lose hope and self-worth when we are faced with failures and rejections over and over again. Such low feelings pave the way for depression and the person begin to sink deeper and deeper in sorrow and hopelessness.
Sana developed extreme depression after her divorce. She stopped going out with her friends, which shrunk her social life. She became lonely, which sets the tone for a negative mindset. All the time she stayed in her room, remembering old times and cursing her fate to put her in such miserable condition. She was stuck in a vicious circle of negativity and self-pity.
It is a human tendency to develop negative thoughts when things go wrong. Self-pity is the most common response during such situations. It is a defense mechanism used by our mind to protect ourselves from the inner critic, as it projects all the blame onto others and plays the role of victim that makes us believe that we were never wrong. It gives us temporary relief or comfort from continuous anxiety or depression.
The biggest mistake during hard times is to remain in this comfort zone of self-pity and avoid facing the world.
The more you avoid the world, the more depressed you will get. Remember! It's only YOU, who can take yourself out from the depression, no one else can. I know it is hard to think of anything positive when things do not go your way but fortunately, there are ways to attune your mind to positive thinking.
Focus on Facts, Not Your Thoughts
During challenging times, we are easily overwhelmed by negative thoughts. We repeatedly think about the same problem and the minor problem looks like a huge one. Hence, the first step to achieve positivity is learning to screen out the negative repetitive thoughts and focus on the problem.
In the case of Sana, the example quoted earlier, she was stuck in her thoughts. She kept on thinking about her loss. She believed that her life was doomed, nothing good can happen and she lost everything. In reality, she only got divorced, she has not lost everything. Due to constant negative thoughts, she was just unable to see any positivity in her life. It is very easy to lose perspective when you are stressed and make a mountain out of a molehill.
The simple way to control these thoughts is to write it down. When you write down your thoughts, you will realize that you have been actually focusing on your thoughts instead of finding out the solution. After writing down your thoughts, write down the facts and then compare them. It will clarify the situation and you will be able to gain back the lost perspective of life.
Remember, you are not always a loser, or your life can not be doomed by a single incident. There are always possibilities and opportunities. Just open your eyes, explore and grab them.
This Too Shall Pass
Nothing lasts forever. Just think about seasons. In winters, trees go barren but it is just a matter of time and soon the same trees blossom into a beauty, with colourful flowers and fresh green leaves. So, keep the faith and be patient.
Circumstances can never be in our control all we can control is our thoughts. Consider, if Sana stays in the same situation and keep thinking about the past or cursing herself, she would damage her health only. Her life can never be improved with such negativity. She would have to gather the courage to accept the fact and live through the loss.
Remember! The time will pass anyway but how do we pass through the time will always have an impact on our lives. So, try to make the most out of it.
Count Your Blessing Instead of Whining on Issues
Research conducted by the University of California revealed that people who worked daily to cultivate an attitude of gratitude experienced improved mood energy and substantially less anxiety due to lower cortisol levels. It was highlighted that it reduces the stress hormone cortisol by 23%.
Just look around you and you will find lots of blessings around you. Whenever a negative thought crosses your mind, try to shift your focus towards those blessings. It will set a positive mindset.
These are very basic steps towards developing positivity but practising it regularly will help to keep you on a right track. You can watch Ambreen's talk on the power of your thoughts here
Let us know in the comment what you do to stay positive ☺