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How to Stay Optimistic During Hard Times

Hard times always come. But there are things we can do to make them a little more bearable.

Man and woman outside with their dog, staying positive in hard times

Whether you see life as a roller coaster or a box of chocolates, we can all agree that while it has its beautiful moments, there are times when hope seems far away. It’s during those challenging moments when we should be open to more opportunities for change and refinement.

Here are just a few ways to keep a smile on your face:

Say “for” instead of “to”

We’ve all said some sort of rendition of “Why is this happening to me?” at one point. Instead, try saying, “Why is this happening for me?” Life happens for us. This one word can change your perspective toward the challenges you’re facing. Because those moments of hardship can be great teachers.

Keep a gratitude journal

Practicing gratitude can be an antidote to sadness and negativity. And it’s been proven that practicing gratitude can rewire your brain to improve your happiness levels in the long run!

Treat yourself

Make self-care a priority during challenges. Speak kindly to yourself, read a self-help book, start a new hobby, get plenty of sleep and exercise, or make time for a bubble bath each week. Do what you love.

Related: Why You Need to Make Time for Self-Care

Keep an open mind and perspective

Sometimes our rock-bottom moments can act as a springboard to launch us toward self-improvement. Whatever you are going through, think of what it has taught you. How you can transform this challenge into an opportunity? Sure, it may take a while, but with the right mindset, you’ll be amazed at the discoveries you make.

Surround yourself with loved ones

Your family and friends can be the beacons of light you need in life. Reaching out to them for support or even just to laugh together can provide the endurance you need to help you keep going.

Allow yourself to have bad days

Forcing yourself to be positive can build up negative emotions and backfire over time. Allow yourself to feel all your emotions and make space for them. Crying is actually a great emotional release, so grab the tissue box and let the tears flow if it’s helpful to you.

Make a list of the things you can manage

If your thoughts are often focused on the things you can’t control until the point that you’re exhausted, stop and take a breath. Instead, accept what you can’t control and make a list of what you can. Even if all you can control is your attitude and your effort, it’s important to acknowledge what you’re capable of doing.

Spend time in nature

Unplug from your video streaming and smartphone and take a walk outside. Spending time in nature can improve your mood and your mental health and it allows for a good opportunity to practice mindfulness—which can produce many positive effects on your life.

Add positivity to someone else’s life

Every time the world is struck by disaster, millions of people rally around those affected to show their support. Service is a powerful and life-changing tool—especially in the midst of our own challenges. Selflessness can give us purpose, hope, and strength to carry on.

What has helped you stay optimistic during difficult times? Tell us on Facebook—we’d love to hear from you. While you’re here, check out our other articles on healthy living.

SelectHealth may link to other websites for your convenience. SelectHealth does not expressly or implicitly recommend or endorse the views, opinions, specific services, or products referenced at other websites linked to the SelectHealth site, unless explicitly stated.

The content presented here is for your information only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, and it should not be used to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease. Please consult your healthcare provider if you have any questions or concerns.

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Post Author

Chakell Wardleigh
Chakell has a B.A. in English and is a magazine editor. She enjoys exercising, laughing with family and friends, and online shopping. She strives to be as versatile as cauliflower, which she often turns into pizza.