By Mary Kelly
We are often surrounded by negativity and stress. People often ask, “How can I stay positive during a crisis, challenge, or change? How can I keep my own motivation level high when events seem difficult? What can I do when everyone around me seems to want to be angry?”
If we allow ourselves to start to think that everything is negative, it can lead us in to a cycle which makes us feel hopeless and unproductive. Feeling badly about our situations can make us feel unmotivated to change what is making us feel down in the first place.
If you are feeling stuck, unmotivated, or in need of a positive change, try to:
1. Stay away from social media. There always seems to be something dramatic on social media, and it is easy to get caught up in events that have nothing to do with us. Does an event at the Oscars negatively impact you? Make the commitment to turn it off for a day.
2. Learn and master a new skill. When you learn a new skill and become good at it, your confidence increases and continues to grow. This is especially true if the skill benefits something you already do, or is creative. Being creative stimulates our brains, and the more we use our brains, the bigger the benefits. If you combine creativity with trying something new, even more benefits are achieved.
3. Update your resume on LinkedIn. Start by making a list of all of your accomplishments. It can be easy to forget all of the things you’ve achieved so far, and a professional forum is the place to update. Be proud of your accomplishments.
4. Define your own core values for your life. What are your core, unwavering values? Does your current lifestyle reflect these values? If it doesn’t, take an action to make necessary changes. Know who you are, what you stand for, and then live those values. My friend Amber has what she calls her non-negotiables. These are things on her list that she pledged to do for herself, no matter what, because they support her core values. One of hers is to be outside for 5 minutes every day.
5. Actively commit to thinking positively. Instead of thinking negatively when faced with something irritating, think about it as a challenge that you can overcome with dignity and grace. Think positively, consider what you can learn from the experience, and try to find a way to help others.
6. Stretch your comfort zone. Try new things. Go to new places. Meet new people. Getting out of your comfort zone means getting out of your own brain space. This is why travel and new experiences are so healthy – it pushes our brains and our bodies beyond our comfort zone. Maybe you cannot travel the way you want to right now. Try a stay-cation. And actually plan it like it was a vacation destination, and then DO what you planned.
7. Help someone. There are always people worse off than we are. Sometimes we need to take some kind of action to get us going in the in the right direction, and helping others is a great start. Stop thinking about what is negative and focus on how we can make someone else’s life better.
8. Let negatives from the past go. Past issues or drama can prevent you from moving on and growing, both personally and professionally. You may want to speak to a trained counselor to talk through issues you may have. Sometimes, just ritualistically deciding to move forward can help with forward motion.
9. Don’t worry about what others think. The one person whose opinion of you matters is you. Do what you believe is best, feel confident that you did your best, and be satisfied with your results.
10. Read for work. Many people read about people who have overcome issues or dire situations, and gone on to lead successful lives. Consider adding business or leadership books to your motivational mix, such as The Competent Leader by Peter Stark, Exactly What to Say by Phil Jones, or Thrive by Meridith Elliott-Powell. Having the right knowledge, leadership, and words to move forward can inspire you to do even more.
11. Surround yourself with positive people. There are plenty of people in your life who always seem to leave you feeling badly about your circumstances. It may be best to let them go. Instead, try to surround yourself with positive people who will lift you up and make you feel good about yourself.
12. Focus on what you can change. Some things in life are out of our control. Focus your energy on the things you can control, and you’ll happily find that you can change your life for the better. When the virus crisis first started, a friend of mine asked how he could coach his workforce into staying positive during what he knew was going to be a difficult time, so I drew my plan on a cocktail napkin. “Encourage them your team to focus on what they can control, instead of what they cannot.”
13. Action trumps fear and negativity. Movement is better than stagnation. When you feel negativity start to creep up on you, stop the negative downward spiral with movement. Go do a load of laundry. Walk the dog. Take out the trash. Do some pushups. Drink some water. Call your Mom. Do something to get your body and your mind away from the negativity.
Once you start to incorporate some of these tips into your daily life, your positivity will start to grow. It may not happen overnight, but in time, you’ll see improvement with a happier you.
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