It’s no secret that times get tough every now and then. And while life undoubtedly seems unfair sometimes, keeping an open mind and trusting your potential can take you far. This is why positivity is very important for leading a healthy life, both on the inside and out. And this naturally includes matters of mental health as well.
Optimism and Mental Illness
Most people tend to crack under pressure and cower when life gets hard, so it’s understandable why things tend to be exponentially worse for those of us who struggle with depression, anxiety or schizophrenia. The truth is that even those diagnosed with a mild case of the disorder might find themselves struggling to stay afloat.
But positivity is incredibly beneficial for one’s mental health. It helps you be in control of your most disruptive and damaging thoughts, and you might even be able to give them new meaning in the long run. But in order to do that, you need the right outlook on things. And achieving it does indeed take time and motivation.
3 things to do to stay positive :
Keeping your chin up when you’re faced with less than desirable circumstances seems impossible at first. Nevertheless, having the right attitude can aid you tremendously in such a scenario. Thus, here are three ways to stay positive in the face of adversity.
1. Control Your Negative Thoughts
According to Dr. Martin Seligman, an esteemed psychologist, and researcher at the University of Pennsylvania, positivity comes when negative thoughts are halted. In order to do this, you need to possess an adequate amount of self-control. Furthermore, it’s important to recognize the damaging patterns of thought that are born in your brain so that you can swiftly dispel them.
This technique is notoriously used by athletes when they are trying to refocus their attention towards their goal. By eliminating self-doubt from the equation, all you are left with is sheer motivation to overcome anything. And when you’re faced with the adversity of mental illness or any other hardship, this is very important to remember.
In addition, Seligman also noted that the clear difference between pessimists and optimists is that the former category attributes failure to their own shortcomings, thus seeing it as something that can’t be solved in any way, while the latter perceive it as an incredible learning opportunity, which is exactly what it should be.
By acknowledging the advantages of hardships and allowing them to teach you a valuable life lesson, you will grow as a person. This is something that your loved ones will also see and appreciate, and you might even motivate them to do the same. This is why you should never lose hope, no matter how grim things are looking at a certain moment in time.
2. Have Realistic Expectations
Although having hope is an amazing improvement, it’s also important to know your limits. Thus, being a realistic optimist is the best approach. Some people think that they can or need to do more than their abilities allow them, which only leads to feelings of frustration and disappointment.
When your mental situation is frail as is, this will only drive you deeper into relapse territory. Therefore, reminding yourself that it’s perfectly fine to be human from time to time is crucial. And if you can’t, ask your significant other to do it for you. Having someone to keep you in check can be a great asset during your journey.
However, there is a thin line between staying realistic and becoming a pessimist again. Be aware of that implies for you and remember that it’s a highly personal matter. We all have our different milestones and worldviews in life, and that’s exactly how things should be. So, at the end of the day, what you feel is right matters most.
3. Never Give Up on Your Goals
At the end of the day, the most valuable thing that you need to remember from all this is that you should never give up. Have faith in your journey and it will help you cope with any hardship life throws your way a thousand times better. From my personal experience, even the most disappointing failures have the potential of boosting you up farther than you were before.
It will be hard to see the benefits of your situation at first, but there’s no shame in that. If you keep on trying, you will eventually succeed. It might be hard to think about the well-being of those around you right now when you feel like your own is inexistent but staying motivated to get better will also benefit them.
Start with the little things. Instead of avoiding performing daily tasks, try to get a few of them done. You will feel proud for not giving up, and this will boost your mood and determine you to keep going. Remember, baby steps are better than wearing yourself out all over again. Have patience and good things will surely come your way.
Controlling your negative thoughts while maintaining a dose of realism is tricky at first, but by practicing this healthy behavior in your everyday life, you will be able to maintain a positive outlook on life. And when you feel like giving up on your goals, think about how much good they can bring into your life. It isn’t easy, but it’s worth it.
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About the author:
Alex Moore is a psychology undergraduate who advocates for the power of positivity and its potential in changing lives. You can find more of his advice and works on Twitter.