At some point in our lifetime, we will all experience hardships. Hardship is the cost of living. I am writing this article after ten weeks of confinement.
With the COVID-19 pandemic, we all have experienced some degree of adversity in the past few months.
While most of us have lost our sense of normalcy or security, some people have lost their jobs, their health, or even worse family members and friends.
Staying positive during times of crisis is challenging. It is a mindset that can take a long time to develop. However, training yourself to have a positive attitude, no matter the circumstances, is a great tool to overcome difficult times.
Photo credit: Markus Winkler
I remember watching Madonna Badger’s Ted Talk, “Filled with Love a few years ago.” Three years before her Ted Talk, Madonna’s three kids, as well as her parents, passed away in a fire on Christmas day. Madonna went through very dark times after the tragedy. As she was morning the loss of her entire family, she decided that though life had been very unfair to her, she needed to let go of bitterness and shift her mindset. Years later, Madonna has since found a way to rebuild her life, sharing a message of positivity, resilience, and hope with the world.
I remember telling Madonna Badger’s story to my sisters and discussing how deeply inspired I was by how positive she was after going through such adversity. Sometimes, when I sense that negativity is trying to make its way into my brain, I think about Madonna’s story and remind myself of the importance of staying positive. Here are a few habits that have helped me remain positive over the years, especially in times of crisis.
Create a positive environment around you
I believe that the people you choose to surround yourself with impact your energy level, and overall outlook on life. When I surround myself with positive people, their positive energy helps me vibrate at a higher frequency. On the opposite end, when I spend a lot of time around negative people, they tend to bring my energy level down. For those reasons, I make a conscious effort to limit my interactions with negative people and spend more time with people who uplift me. Do you feel that your energy level tends to increase or decrease around certain people? Do you have negative people in your circle? Now is the perfect time to cleanse your environment.
Photo credit: Binti Malu
Start the day on a positive note.
When I had my first child, I realized that my time was not mine anymore. I was often rushing through the mornings. That is when I decided to adopt a morning routine to ensure a positive start to my day. Every morning, I am the first person to rise in my house. I begin my day with prayer and goal setting and enjoy some alone time with my thoughts. As a mother of three young children, I cherish that morning routine because it allows me to enjoy some quiet time, and to assess how productive I was the day before. Starting my morning on a positive note helps me stay grounded. It has been a life-changer for me. I would encourage anyone to give it a try.
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Photo credit: Snapwire
A simple method that I use to stay positive is practicing gratitude. Through our hardships, we can always find reasons to be grateful. Focusing on the positive in your life helps clear out some of the negative energy. It also makes you realize how important it is to enjoy the present moment. Taking the time to practice gratitude every day allows me to appreciate the beauty in whatever life is offering me. The more attentive I am to grace, the more grace I notice in my life.
Photo credit: Madison Inouye
Self-care is an essential practice for me as I believe it does not only help me; it also helps me better show up for the people who rely on me. Three critical elements of my self-care practice are exercise, humor, and good music. Countless studies have shown that exercising releases endorphins, which triggers a positive feeling in your body and helps relieve stress. Regular exercise during this crisis has been a great way for me to escape the current circumstances for a few hours, and to boost my energy level. I have also been enjoying daily walks with my kids in our subdivision to enjoy some fresh air.
I grew up in a family in which having a good sense of humor and sarcasm was crucial. Good jokes help lighten the mood and increase positive energy. Finding humor even at a time of crisis has been a great solace for me.
Music is also an essential part of my self-care practice. I listen to feel-good music every day. Music activates the part of your brain that releases dopamine, which helps you feel good and help your body to relax.
Photo credit: Matheus Viana
Extend a helping hand
“If you are feeling helpless, help someone.” This quote by Aung San Suu Kyi is very profound. Often, when we go through trying times, our instinct is to shut down the world around us and turn to ourselves. But, there is something beautiful about stepping away from your problems and helping someone else. It can be as simple as sending a thank-you note, helping a stranger, or doing something kind for a neighbor. But the more love you share, the more love you get. When you help someone else feel better, seeing the impact on that person, can, in turn, make you feel better.
Photo credit: Pixabay
Look for the lesson
When I am dealing with adversity, I always ask myself what I should learn from the experience. Challenges serve a purpose. Overcoming those challenges help us grow into better versions of ourselves. Growth gives us perspective and a gift to share with others.
When going through a crisis, it is normal to experience sadness. While it is essential to embrace your emotions, you should be careful not to let negative thoughts take over your mind and send you on a downward spiral. Training your brain to default to a positive mindset will help you during hard times. Developing these simple habits has had a significant impact on my positivity level. I encourage you to give them a try, so you too can reap the benefits.
Photo credit: Bekka Mongeau
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“I discovered that joy is not the negation of pain, but rather acknowledging the presence of pain and feeling happiness in spite of it.” Lupita Nyong’o