Learning how to stay positive when surrounded by negativity is not always easy. In fact, sometimes it feels downright impossible when life is getting us down, especially when it appears that one negative thing after another seems to be happening. I have been there. I know what it feels like to be in an apparent state of constant struggle.
Did you notice how I used the word “apparent”? If there is anything I have learned in the past few years is that things always feel worse than they actually are, and they always get better. Eventually.
Most situations are generally beyond your control and by that definition, there isn’t much you can do to change it. However, the one thing you CAN do is remain positive and here are 12 tips for staying positive when surrounded by negativity to help you get along.
#1. Acknowledge Your Feelings
There are going to be times where you feel happy and joyous but there are also times when anger, sadness, or utter frustration may overwhelm you. Those are all feelings that are perfectly fine to have. Acknowledge them. Own them.
We live in a place where often our emotions are categorized as positive or negative. They are neither. The important thing is how you choose to deal with those emotions. For example, you may be thoroughly devastated that your partner cheated on you and that is ok. It is a painful situation. However, you can either choose to harbor those feelings or you can deal with the situation and move on, recognizing that not everyone will be out to hurt you.
#2. Make Time for Self-Care
During difficult times, it is essential that you put aside some time for self-care. You may want to curl up under the covers and replay all the negatives over and over. You need to be taking care of yourself – and this isn’t necessarily something luxurious. It could be eating properly, spending quality time with friends, reading a good book, or possibly even seeking professional help.
Stress is inevitable and without that self-care, your body will soon feel the effects of that stress, often negatively.
#3. Accept the Situation for What It Is
The situation, whatever it might be, is something you cannot control. You also cannot control the actions, reactions, or feelings of the other people involved. So, please let go of the notion that you can. Accept the situation for what it is. Feel the feelings you are having but do not stay at that moment for too long. It is one of the best things you can do to begin to learn how to stay positive when surrounded by negativity.
#4. You Can Control How You React
You may not be able to control the reactions of the people around you or the situation itself. However, you can definitely choose how YOU will react to the situation. If you choose to allow your anger to take you over and react in a violent or volatile manner, there will inevitably be consequences. And sorry to say, those consequences are only going to make the situation worse.
Know that you are the one who holds the power over your own actions and reactions. There is nothing more energizing than recognizing your own personal emotions and dealing with them in a positive light.
#5. Speak with a Trustworthy Person
Keeping your feelings and thoughts solely to yourself is detrimental to your mental health. When you do this, you tend to overthink and lose perspective on the situation. Therefore, it is a good idea to find someone whom you trust (friend, partner, family member, counselor) and share what is going on inside your head.
When you decide who you want to share your feelings with, please make sure they are not someone who will add fuel to the flames and encourage you to dwell on the negativity.
Find that person or persons who can help you handle the situation with positive eyes and assist you in moving forward.
#6. Find the Positive – Even if it is Difficult to Do
OK, I get it. One bad thing is happening after another and you just cannot seem to get your head above water. Your emotions are getting the better of you and you feel like you may be falling into depression and don’t know how to deal with it.
Fortunately, you can find the positive in most situations if you look hard enough. You may need some help in seeing that silver lining but the more you do it, the easier it becomes. Perhaps you have learned a life lesson or realize what you really will accept or not accept in a relationship. Either way, you can find something to take from each and every situation.
#7. Participate in a Daily Positive Activity
When we do good, we feel good. Wouldn’t you agree? So, instead of wallowing in a negative situation, attempting to find something positive can do wonders for our self-esteem but also help us move forward with whatever is troubling us.
Volunteer at a local animal shelter, plant flowers for an elderly neighbor, or even help out in your child’s classroom for the afternoon. You will quickly recognize how to stay positive when surrounded by negativity.
#8. Keep Positive Company
Misery loves company but surrounding yourself with negative individuals only fuels that fire.
Instead, choose your company wisely and surround yourself with positive people. Even if you are feeling down, their laughter and positivity can help boost your mood and help with recognizing those silver linings.
#9. Be Rational
In order to recognize if you are over-reacting to a situation, it is essential that you possess some self-awareness. Step back and look at everything rationally. Are things as bad as you are making them out to be or are you allowing your emotions to control you versus the other way around?
Remember, you need to acknowledge what you are feeling but how you react is in your control!
Once you gain that awareness, you can look at it from a different perspective and in a more positive light. The next time something similar occurs, you can be more prepared to handle it better. It is all about being better than you were yesterday!
#10. Do Not Take It Personally
This is a tough one to often get your brain around – do not take things personally. But when things seem to be going wrong over and over again, how can you not feel like the universe is out to get you? But like I stated previously, most situations are truly out of your control and the ownership must lie elsewhere.
Now, that being said, if you are honestly at fault in the situation, then you must take ownership of that. Acknowledge, admit, and accept what it is that you have done. Make amends and remember you are not perfect and will make mistakes.
#11. Begin Each Day on a Positive Note
Every day is a new day and it is within your power to start it on a positive note. Get up out of that bed and design a purpose for your day! Sitting at home in your pj’s all day may be what you feel like doing but where does that lead you? At the end of the day, as the sun is setting, you probably have accomplished very little and probably feel even worse.
So, live each day with intention and make the most of what is before you.
#12. Create a Gratitude Journal
Try using a journal to write down what you are truly grateful for today. Even if it is just one little thing.
The idea of gratitude journals may seem a little awkward for you at first but like anything, become easier the more you do them.
If you are having an extraordinarily bad day, you can look back at all the things you have to be grateful for. This can re-center you and get you to focus on all the fabulous things in your life!
There are obviously going to be bad days and you will find yourself in many negative situations over the course of your lifetime. But my question to you is do you want to continue living in chaos and negativity or do you want to live in joy and learn to cherish this wonderful life you have been given?
Utilize the tips I have given here so you can truly determine how to stay positive when surrounded by negativity.