It is certainly no secret that life can be hard, and you may be facing some difficult challenges. And if this is the case, then cultivating an optimistic approach could help make things easier for yourself. An optimistic perspective will allow you to find solutions where pessimism sees only problems and will keep you grounded even when everything seems like it’s falling apart around you.
So how do we go about fostering this type of mindset? Here are 10 tips on how to cultivate a positive attitude in tough times:
Identify and give up unrealistic expectations
Since a positive attitude is built on optimism, it’s important to identify your ingrained assumptions and unrealistic expectations about what you can expect from life. Once these have been identified, it is possible to let them go. If you’re expecting too much from other people then this could be a source of conflict in your relationships.
If you expect too much of yourself then this could lead to disappointment and frustration when your goals are not met. Therefore, it is important to not only identify your unrealistic expectations but also to give them up.
Focus on the good things
When facing challenges, it’s easy to fall into a pattern of seeing everything as an obstacle or barrier between you and your goals. But this negative outlook will only make the situation more difficult for you by magnifying your feelings of stress, anxiety, and depression. Instead, try to reorient yourself by turning your attention toward the positive things that are still present in your life.
By focusing on what you do have instead of what is missing, it’s possible to build up a more positive mindset that will help you deal with your challenges better. It may be necessary to reframe your mindset in the face of difficult times.
Adopt a growth mindset
When thinking about our attributes it’s easy to think of them as fixed and unchangeable, but this is not the case. The way we feel about ourselves is very much shaped by how we view these qualities, or what psychologists refer to as our “self-theories”. For instance, if you believe that intelligence is something innate and unchanging then this could lead you to see challenges as marking your limits rather than growth opportunities.
On the other hand, if you adopt a more positive self-theory where intelligence can grow through learning and effort then this can help you gain confidence even when facing difficulties. Therefore, when things get tough it is important to adopt a growth mindset rather than a fixed one to increase your chances of success.
Find meaning in your struggles
When you experience hardship it is easy to feel lost and alone, but the truth is that everyone goes through difficult times. And this means that even though you are having a hard time there are other people out there who can relate to what you are experiencing. So connect with others who have been through similar situations, or find solace within religious communities or humanitarian groups.
If you can derive some sort of greater meaning or purpose from your life then this will help give your struggles some purpose too, which may be vital for helping you regain control over your life again. For example, if your difficulties inspired you to do good then this could provide an important source of motivation when things get tough again in the future.
See things as temporary and limited, not permanent and pervasive
When you are going through a difficult period it can often feel like everything is against you and there is no end in sight, but this negativity will only make your situation worse by limiting the ways that you deal with your difficulties. So instead of seeing everything as an obstacle or barrier toward your goals try to remember that these problems are finite and temporary, even if they seem overwhelming right now.
Also, try not to view your problems as pervasive or as a sign of your general incompetence. If you do this then it may make it easier to feel as though nothing will ever go right for you, which can lead to all sorts of negative consequences down the line. Therefore, when facing challenges remember that these are only temporary and limited in their influence.
Try to find new perspectives on your situation
When times get tough it is easy to become very self-centered and focused on your own difficult circumstances without considering how they compare with those around you. However, taking a more comparative approach allows us to gain new insights into our troubles by seeing them from other angles. For example, if you are struggling financially then begin looking at others who are in a similar situation and how they cope. This will help you realize that even though your issues may be hard to manage there are still other people in the world having it much worse.
Or, think about what you can take away from this experience for future struggles in life in order to gain some personal growth and wisdom from it all. When we distance ourselves from our current problems we become more able to learn and grow from them, which will make dealing with them easier when times get tough again in the future.
Focus on what is within your control versus what isn’t
When dealing with difficulties it is very easy to focus on the things that you cannot control or influence such as others’ actions toward you or global economic forces which are largely out of your hands. This means that you should instead focus on what you can control rather than worrying about all the factors outside of yourself.
For example, if your company closes down then try to think about other job openings that you could apply for or new skills that you can learn in order to increase your chances of finding a new job again. Also, while it is important to be aware of how various global events might affect your life it is equally important not to let them dominate everything that happens around you and control the way that you deal with challenges.
When you are struggling in life it is very easy to become focused on all the things that you lack without ever stopping to consider how privileged your situation is. Therefore, try to take some time each day just to think about all the good things that have happened in your life and everything that you already do have rather than everything that you don’t.
For example, you could make a list of all the good things in your life such as great friends and family or maybe even the smaller but still important pleasures like having clean running water or not having to worry about where your next meal will come from. Although this may seem like a very basic practice it can be extremely useful in expanding our narrow perceptions of what we have and increasing feelings of gratitude while also reducing feelings of stress and envy.
Stop and take a break from your struggles
When we face difficulties and struggle with life it is very easy to become very focused on our problems and forget what things are like for everyone else who isn’t dealing with the same issues. However, taking time out of our day just to remind ourselves that our lives aren’t as bad as they might seem can be extremely beneficial in making us feel better about the situation we are in.
For example, if you feel stressed about your job then take some time each day just to stop and appreciate everything good about your life such as the fact that you have food and water or maybe even something like the weather outside which means that at least there is one thing about your life you don’t need to worry about.
Find helpful ways to cope with your struggles
Some people find that they still feel very overwhelmed and helpless in the face of difficulties even if their attitude towards it is more optimistic. If this sounds like you then try to find ways to actively help yourself overcome your problems such as by keeping a diary or talking to someone else about what you are going through.
For example, if you are worried about losing your job then writing down strategies for how to approach looking for another one might seem counterintuitive but can be very helpful in making us feel better prepared and more at ease with any upcoming change we have to face. Or, if you feel like there just isn’t anyone who can understand what you’re going through then reaching out online or joining a support group can be a much better alternative to discussing your feelings with someone who doesn’t understand what you are going through.
There are various ways that you can change your attitude towards life so that you don’t feel overwhelmed or helpless in the face of difficulties. May this article gives you some ideas on how to cultivate a more positive attitude, even in tough times. Thank you!