How to Stay Thankful & Positive Despite The Odds

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Thanksgiving was more than a week ago and it is my favorite holiday. There is just something about gathering together with family and friends, enjoying good food and reflecting on things we are thankful for.

I won’t lie there are periods or seasons in your life where everything seems to be going….wrong.  It is almost like despite your best efforts or choices, everything happens exactly the opposite of what you expected or even planned.

During times like these it is very hard to stay positive and happy. It’s easy to throw in the towel, host a pity party and cry yourself to sleep after a glass of wine.

I’ll be honest and I admit I recently came out of this kind of a season. I made a huge transition earlier this year  that threw everything I had ever gotten used to in regards to my routine out of whack. Even though I tried to be optimistic and hopeful for a change and for things to settle down, it took longer than I expected.

Pretty soon, I began to feel miserable. I found myself focusing on negatives  rather than positives, the lows instead of the highs. And to be honest that was terrible space to be in especially since I am naturally optimistic by nature.

However, I had to shake myself out of it and focus on what “I did have” rather than what “I didn’t”. I needed to focus on what was “Working” rather than “what wasn’t working”.  So in the spirit of gratitude that follows Thanksgiving period I want to share with you at least 5 ways to stay positive and thankful even though you are going through tough times.

1.Meditate – Be present in the current moment. Take 5-10 minutes out of your day in the morning, or maybe during the day when you need a break or at night before you go to bed. Use that time to block out everything you are worried or stressed about.

  • Imagine you are a blank canvas, keep redirecting your mind from thinking about worrisome/distracting thoughts (yes that shopping list can wait) and  back to the exercise,
  • Focus on a blank space. Now paint  what you consider to be soothing colors on it.
  • Think on what each color means to you and what energy it brings to your life i.e. baby blue =serenity/peace.
  • Keep adding colors and focusing on the symbolism of these colors till you have a beautiful masterpiece in your mind. Meditation is a sure fire way to put you back in a positive space.  I swear it works!

 

2. Keep A Gratitude Journal – I found nothing puts you back in a positive state of mind than writing down what you are thankful for. I’ll admit it is easy to focus on what you don’t have or the fact you are not living the way your peers or those around you seem to be living. However, earlier this year I decided to buy a gratitude journal so I could remind myself of the many blessings and opportunities I am lucky to have.  I try to write in it daily, but if not 2-3 times a week works just as well. You’ll be amazed at how much you “do have” rather than what you don’t when you write it down.

 

3. Change your perspective – This is the hard one. Changing your perspective takes diligence and practice. Let’s face it being miserable and feeling sorry for yourself is much easier to do than think positively.  However, it does take a toll on your emotional, spiritual and yes even physical health. Awhile back I adopted the motto “Life is What You Make It”.

During this tough transition period I mentioned, I decided to adopt the mind frame that I was living the best life and everything was just right (even though it wasn’t). Guess What? My life became just that. Even though I had to make some tough sacrifices and changes to my life, I can honestly say that I am truly content and happy with the life  I have, even though it isn’t what I think as ideal.  And the best thing I learned? Life won’t always be the same, there is always a light at the end of the tunnel.

 

4. Do What You Love –  A great mood booster is taking time to do things that you love. The things that make you happy.   Write that poem.  Learn that new dance move you’ve been dying to learn. Put on some instrumentals and have your own karaoke party. Bake those cookies. Try out that restaurant you’ve been curious about.  Yes even buy those cute shoes. Whatever makes you happy.

 

5. Help Others – Sometimes the best way to remind yourself of the positive aspects of your life is to step out of your comfort zone and help others.  Volunteering for worthy causes or community events will show you your life isn’t as bad as it really is.

If it is anything I’ve learned – nothing stays the same. That’s why I try to stay in the present and be grateful for every moment big or small, light or dark, long and short. Because guess what? That is what makes the pages of my story and I am thankful for it. I hope these tips help someone out there, like they did me.

Till the next post!

~N

 

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