5 Action Steps: Staying Positive in a Negative World
Are you finding the work of staying positive challenging these days?
And are you like me… getting a little tired of hearing, “These are unprecedented times?”
I recently watched an inspirational video where the speaker mentioned it it three different times in under two minutes. Talk about overusing a phrase!
But the truth is… even though it’s overused right now and even though I’m tired of hearing it, people keep saying it because…
There have been enormous changes in our lives recently. Enormous disruptions that have changed the entire landscape around education, business, politics and even religion. What’s the result of all these changes and disruptions?
Most people are disturbed. Some are angry, and some even feel hopeless. Others are feeling lost and unsure of what the future holds, which brings on feelings of uncertainty. When you get stuck or caught up in those negative emotional states, you are setting yourself up for defeat, regardless of how hard you’ve tried to deny it.
Turning around a negative emotional state or negative mindset – as we often refer to it today – and staying positive is only going to happen once you’ve made a decision that you’re not going to stay in that space. You have to realize that changing your mindset is an inside job.
You can hire all the coaches you want. You can go to the best psychologist in the world. You can even go talk to your pastor, rabbi, or shaman. But until you make the absolute decision that you’re not going to stay in that emotional space you’re in anymore, you may as well just get used to living there, because nobody else is going to be able to get you out of it.
I’m not saying you shouldn’t utilize the services of a coach, a therapist or a religious leader. I wouldn’t be a coach if I didn’t believe I was helping to guide people. However, just throwing money at your pain or at a problem isn’t going to make it go away.
The most important puzzle piece to the solution is going to be YOU.
Why do some alcoholics get sober, never to have another drink in their lives and some never seem to stay sober for more than a week or two, at the max? They may have both had the same opportunities to get sober. Gone to the same detox. And attended the same AA meetings. Yet one stays sober and the other doesn’t. Why does this happen?
Because the one who stayed sober made a decision. A decision not to live like that anymore.
And that’s what I’m talking about regarding the current state of affairs and the ‘unprecedented times.’ Now, if you’re happy and totally fine with how things are in the world today, then you can stop reading. However, if you’re like most people I talk to these days – feeling frustrated, angry, scared, hopeless or like giving up, and finding that staying positive is harder than ever– then it’s up to you and you alone to change how you’re feeling.
And I do understand this is all very easy to say, but staying positive in an often negative world takes action. Massive action. And action leads to results.
If you want to stay positive and feel better, here are five actions you can implement immediately.
- Stay away from the media. Especially 24-hour news networks. I’m not saying you shouldn’t be informed, but most media outlets today rely on corporate dollars and most often have shareholders to answer to. They’re going to do whatever they can to keep you glued to the news, regardless of how miserable, depressed and hopeless it makes you feel. If you feel like you need to stay informed, go to GNN (The Good News Network) – they update their stories daily, and believe me, their stories are staying positive and uplifting.
- Limit your time on social media. (I’m also reminding myself on this one.) Unfollow or straight up UNFRIEND toxic people. Your cousin Bill may post funny pictures of his cat and dog snuggling, but if that’s in between all of his hateful political posts – not to mention the fights he starts in the comments of your posts – you can unfollow Bill until after the upcoming election. (However there will always be another election and you should take that into consideration.) Actually, I suggest letting it go, unfriending Bill and waiting until the next family reunion to catch up. I’ve unfriended a lot of folks on social media, and it’s honestly less stressful.
- Seek out positive people. I have friends that are happy even in the worst of times. They always have an encouraging word to share, rarely have drama in their lives, and even now are staying positive. Those are the people I engage with the most, especially NOW!
- For the time being, be aware of the movies and the television shows you’re watching. What most people aren’t aware of is that our subconscious mind doesn’t know the difference between reality and fantasy. When we keep inputting negative content into our mind, it gets stuck there and can sometimes create negative feelings we can’t explain. You can easily change your mood by just changing the content you’re watching, listening to or reading.
- Write a daily gratitude list. Keep it simple. Jot down five to ten things you’re grateful for every day. It’s okay if some of those items are repeated daily. That just means you’re really grateful for them. Studies show that people who keep daily gratitude lists are generally happier than others who don’t.
I’d say I’m usually a pretty happy guy, and guess what. I keep a daily gratitude list. Today, I’m grateful for my amazing wife Julie, for my silly cat Oliver and for the wonderful friends I have. I’m also grateful I rediscovered living a healthy lifestyle and have become very disciplined about fitness. And, I am very grateful to you. I appreciate you having spent the time to read this article and sharing this time with me. Let’s focus on staying positive together. Thank you.