How to Stay Positive in a Negative Situation

I know… it’s not always that easy. Especially where negative situations are concerned.

In fact, sometimes, it’s f**king impossible. At least at first.

What’s important to remember is: bad things happen to everyone. And 99% of the time, they’re out of our control.

You’re not alone. There ARE ways you can get through it and move on.

1. ALLOW YOURSELF TO FEEL BEFORE YOU HEAL

First and foremost, I want you to know that it’s okay to feel. 

It’s okay to be sad, angry, devasted – it’s all right.

Learning how to be positive in a negative situation isn’t about sweeping the problem under the rug, avoiding it, or denial. It’s about feeling the negative and everything that entails, owning it, and moving on in a positive way.

While dwelling on your negative emotions isn’t productive, it’s absolutely healthy to feel them and acknowledge them.

2. PRACTISE SELF-CARE

Making time for self-care is crucial during bad times. Don’t let your own basic needs fall by the wayside in favour of dwelling on the negative.

Self-care doesn’t have to mean bubble baths or face masks (that would also be nice), it can mean purely looking after your personal hygiene, eating regular meals, drinking water, taking your medication, getting sleep, and seeing your therapist (if you have one).

3. ACCEPT THE SITUATION AT HAND

Accept that most situations are out of our control. We can’t change or affect other people’s actions and you have to accept that.

Acceptance is the first step of moving on because it means you’ve come to terms with the negative situation.

For example, in the case of a break-up, feel the sadness and then accept that you can’t force someone else to be the person you want them to be or to want to be with you against their will.

4. RECOGNISE THAT YOU CONTROL HOW YOU REACT

While you can’t control how other people act and you often can’t control the cause of negative situations, you CAN control how you react.

The way in which you react dictates how you move forward and how positively you do so.

What’s more, how you react now will affect how you respond to similar negative situations in the future.

Reacting positively will help you feel much better about the situation and potential situations to come.

Owning your own reactions and emotions can be really empowering.

5. TALK TO SOMEONE YOU TRUST

Ever heard the saying that “a problem shared is a problem halved”?

Well, it’s usually true.

Unloading your feelings and thoughts about the situation can help you deal with them rationally, and also offer a new perspective.

Make sure you surround yourself with positive people who will give you balanced opinions and not people who will likely only fuel your negative emotions.

I recommend a trusted, close friend or family member, or a therapist.

6. FIND THE SILVER LINING (IF YOU CAN)

I know that in a lot of negative situations, it’s almost impossible to see the silver lining. Death, for example, can seem so final and cruel. And, in those situations, I understand that looking at the bright side probably isn’t possible. That’s okay.

However, in most situations, you can find the positive. Whether that’s you becoming stronger as a person, learning a valuable lesson, or other opportunities that might arise from it.

Going back to the break-up example, while you’ve lost someone you probably loved and shared good times with, it allows you to become stronger as an individual, spend some time working on yourself and find someone who’s even better suited to you in the future.

7. DO SOMETHING POSITIVE WITH YOUR DAY

Instead of dwelling on the negative situation, try to do something positive with your day that will make you feel good.

Help a friend move house, clear your parent’s garden, check in on an elderly neighbour, start a blog.

Fill your day with positivity, even if you’re not ready to see the positive.

8. KEEP POSITIVE PEOPLE AROUND YOU

As I said earlier, it’s really important that you surround yourself with positive people who are going to offer unbalanced opinions and lift you up.

Negative people will only fuel your negative emotions and bring you down.

Surround yourself with people who will help you see the bright side and help you move up, not sideways or down.

9. RATIONALISE: ARE YOU OVERREACTING?

It’s always good to be self-aware. This means looking at the situation and how you’re reacting objectively.

Is it really as bad as it seems? Could you be overreacting?

Overeating doesn’t mean that your feelings aren’t valid because your feelings are THERE. You’re feeling them. They’re real. However, they’re not always rational.

Once you’ve acknowledged that your feelings might be blown out of proportion, you can rationalise, move on and learn to think more positively going forward in order to prevent this from happening again.

10. DON’T TAKE IT PERSONALLY

Most situations, as I’ve said, are out of our control. You can’t control someone else’s actions.

With this in mind, you need to stop taking things so personally. Even if the problem IS personal.

Going back to the break-up analogy, you may take the break-up personally because it’s YOU they’ve broken up with. How can you not? You feel as if they’ve left you because YOU’RE not good enough.

However, really, they’ve ended the relationship because THEY feel like something is lacking.

(Obviously, this isn’t a hard-and-fast rule. If you’ve done something wrong in order for them to end the relationship, you have to acknowledge that, own it, and respect their decision.)

11. START YOUR DAY POSITIVELY

Starting your day in a positive way is a great way to set the tone for the rest of it.

Wake up early, make your bed, get dressed, have your breakfast, brush your teeth, and start the day with intention.

Start as you mean to go on.

12. PRACTISE GRATITUDE + JOURNAL

Spill your thoughts and feelings into a journal. This will help you mentally unpack all your emotions in order to process them a little easier.

Also, practising gratitude is great for positive thinking, as it allows you to see the bright side and the good in your life, even when dealing with a negative situation.

I know this might seem a little ‘boring’ and time consuming, but I honestly urge you to give it a go. It only takes a few minutes each day and even gives you prompts to help you see the positive in your life.

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