Staying Positive During Tough Times

January 14, 2021

It’s Monday! Again!


As much as we hate Monday’s, to say we’re living through challenging times sounds like a cliché and an understatement. During these past months, news about the pandemic, economic woes, and harsh political debates have triggered tremendous anxiety and sadness for many Americans. Whether you’re building a start-up, thriving in your long-established business, organizing a challenging event, or working on your health and fitness, when times get tough, your motivation can take a hit.


If you feel you’re facing overwhelming challenges or taking part in a never-ending marathon of feeling stuck, it’s normal for your energy, enthusiasm, and hope to fade. But when you look back in your life, it was usually the most difficult times that gave you a new perspective or caused you to grow the most. Of course, during a crisis, it doesn’t feel that way. There are things to consider to cope, boost your motivation, stay positive, and reaffirm your commitment to your cause during difficult times.




Let’s begin by remembering your mission.


Remember why you’re doing what you’re doing—losing weight, starting that diet, working out, finishing school, or finding a better paying job/career. What were your goals when you started? What have you achieved so far? It helps to write down your ambitions, successes, and critical motivating factors towards what you’re working on. This way, you’ll be able to handle small tasks by focusing on how they help advance your overall mission.


Staying positive is about cultivating satisfaction and well-being but remaining open to the range of both good and bad emotional experiences. Contrary to what you might think, trying to resist painful emotions increases psychological suffering.


“Positive thinking” or “Positive psychology,” as some psychologists say, is not about denying difficult emotions. It’s about opening up to what is happening here and now and embracing the good in your life. Indulge the habit of counting your blessings, for example. You may be better able to appreciate life’s positive aspects that linger even after a sad occasion like a job loss or a death. Even when you are struggling, helping others can increase your positive feelings and help you gain perspective.


There is growing evidence that suggests that positive thinking techniques can become valuable in times of stress, grief, or other difficulties. They may also help you build up the resilience to handle problems more efficiently and recover more rapidly after traumatic or unpleasant events. Here are some positive practices you can try.


Be More Mindful


Practicing mindfulness is intentionally focusing your attention on the present moment and accepting it without judgment. Learning to live in the present is especially helpful when the future is uncertain. Other mindfulness and stress reduction programs help reduce physical and psychological symptoms in people facing various challenges, including cancer and chronic pain. The good news about mindfulness, you can practice this technique anywhere with free guided recordings of mindfulness meditations online and on YouTube.



Share Some Kindness


The cure to almost any lousy emotion or life problem? Human connection and compassion. When we’re conscious of other people and their struggles, compassion is what helps each other survive. Research suggests that people who volunteer tend to be happier than others who don’t. Even giving charitable donations may even get a small boost in your mood. When you have some free time, flip a coin. Heads, do something self-indulgent, be kind to yourself (for instance, get a Mani/Pedi). Tails, do something to help out in the community or a senior person (call or run errands for an older adult). Notice how you feel during this time and in the hours that follow.



Don’t Forget To Practice Gratitude


Gratitude is an appreciation for what one receives, whether tangible or intangible. Gratitude helps you accept the great things in your life. You can apply this to your past (positive memories and being thankful for components of your childhood and past blessings), the present (not taking things for granted as they arise), and the future (being hopeful and optimistic that great things are coming). Our brains are programmed to take note of when things go awry. So try keeping a gratitude journal so you may write down things you’re thankful for — it makes you more aware of when things go right.



No matter what the day brings, remember your mission, be mindful, show some kindness, be grateful, and don’t forget that each new morning brings an opportunity to get it right.

The Author

Shera Strange, Certified Personal Trainer

About Shera . . . With over 17 years of experience as a personal trainer and 10 years as a group fitness instructor, I help men and women improve their quality of life by becoming physically and emotionally fit with exercise and motivation. As a certified personal trainer and group exercise instructor of various formats, I am motivated to lead, educated, inform, in ways to improve your well-being and encourage a change in a healthier lifestyle. What I am most passionate about and my goal is to establish relationships with the community with a no-excuses format for physical activity that will result in better health outcomes and promote lasting positive change. My purpose is to motivate others to improve their quality of life and live every day to the fullest.

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