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6 Strategies to Stay Positive in Challenging Times

6 Strategies to Stay Positive in Challenging Times

Recognize What You Can Control

In difficult situations, it is crucial to determine what you can and cannot impact. By focusing only on the areas where you can influence the situation, you concentrate your effort in the right place and feel more empowered. For example, during the COVID-19 pandemic, people could not prevent virus expansion and facilitated measures to protect themselves, their families, and communities by wearing masks, keeping social distance, and getting vaccinated. As an option, such activities reduced the condition of a person for infection but also contributed to global healthcare efforts.

Establish a Routine

Developing a regular schedule for everyday activities is one of the most powerful ways to maintain stability during challenging times. Even if the global situation is beyond one’s control, a person may plan own activities within the framework of a regular schedule, which gives a sense of order and consistency. For example, after most countries introduced the first lockdowns in March 2020, people have developed and fixed the habit of remote work and rest during lunch along with regular meals and exercise, which significantly reduced stress and increased productivity. Regular virtual contacts between team members can also create a sense of collectivism and mutual support.

Set Small Goals

Small goals often lead to the implementation of large-scale desires or plans, especially when significant life areas seem out of control. Tasks can be divided into small parts, each of which is equally just as crucial and relatively fast to achieve. For example, a person can develop professional skills locally when the global economy is declining and establish a goal of completing an online course in a month. This activity may also be useful in terms of expanding employment opportunities following the plan of smaller achievable goals over time.

Practice Mindfulness and Gratitude

One of the most potent ways to maintain a positive disposition is through the tools of mindfulness and gratitude. People can worry about things they cannot change and such anxiety can complicate the everyday life situations. However, when you practice mindfulness and focus mainly on the present moment, such activities contribute to reducing the anxiety from future uncertainties. Another powerful tool is keeping a gratitude log, in which you can record what you are thankful for each day. Such routine moves focus from problems to the appreciation of well-being increasing overall happiness. Regular gratitude practices have been shown to increase people’s resilience to stress.

Social Support

Having a stable social network and support is vital for managing stress. For example, friends and family can be an invaluable resource for people to receive practical and emotional support for managing a difficult time. Often a community group can provide access to necessary resources for massage therapy or a job seeker group.

Focus on the Present Moment

When a person experiences a crisis or significant stress, they might try concentrating on the present. The act of being present focuses on the ‘here and now’, preventing people from thinking about mistakes made in the past or what the future holds for them . An applicable example of such strategy would be high pressure jobs in emergency or military fields, where professionals have to be present, properly focused, and make life-critical decisions under stress. In such situations, people apply techniques like controlled breathing and correct focus to enhance decisioning at the moment.

Use of Mindfulness Techniques

Mindfulness techniques have proven particularly helpful to focus on the present . Such techniques include deep breathing exercises, guided imagery, and additional sensory focus exercises which allow for proper ‘grounding’ the thoughts of a person in the present time . An example of such a situation would be a stressful business meeting, where taking a moment to focus on one’s breathing could allow clearing of the mind and enhance one’s ability to produce meaningful and effective input .


In contrast to listening to music or performing two tasks simultaneously trying to keep the focus on one particular operation allows enhancing both efficiency and reducing the amounts of errors made . This technique is particularly effective in high-stakes work, such as surgical operations, piloting planes, and similar, where a lapse in attention could be fatal . An application of single-tasking allows professionals to enhance focus on the task at hand, increasing its precision and fostering better outcomes.

Physical Activity

A person can also focus on the present by involving their bodies in some activity . Examples of such activity might be yoga, running, and even a walk, as long as the body and the mind are busy simultaneously, intrusive and undesired thoughts are effectively blocked . Multiple sources suggest that regular physical activity decreases anxiety and depression, allowing for a relaxed and present state of mind. For an instance, a short walk during a lunch break can allow you to reset your thought process and achieve better focus for tasks to come.

Cultivate an Optimistic Outlook

Optimism during adverse events is more than just seeing the glass as half full; it is about changing your standpoint in such a manner that you start expecting positive events all around. This is especially important in such high-tension settings as financial trading or entrepreneurship. For instance, a day trader who is optimistic will have a higher chance to survive the volatility of the stock market and make the right trading decisions under pressure.

Reframe Challenges for Growth Opportunities

One of the ways to develop an optimistic outlook is to reframe challenges as opportunities for growth and learning. For example, a startup unexpectedly comes across new regulatory requirements limiting or prohibiting their product. An average entrepreneur would be extremely discouraged and likely go bankrupt. However, an optimistic one would see this as an opportunity to build a technology that addresses an even more implicit need, discover previously unknown market needs, or benefit from the newly realized potential of a subsidiary product they have been working on. Such a standpoint opens up avenues for innovation that a person with different beliefs might have completely ignored.

Positive Affirmations

Positive affirmations can be useful in exercising optimism since these thoughts can become the basic beliefs embedded into the mind. For example, a manager going through yet another company reorganization that involves the inevitable firing of a substantial chunk of his team can use affirmations such as “Each challenge brings an opportunity” and “I can lead my team towards the top.” These may sound silly, yet repeating them every morning and writing them down multiple times can create a supporting mental setting endorsing positive actions.


Visualization techniques are used by athletes, business leaders, and performers to increase their success rates. If one fully imagines themself performing the task they need to perform, then they have already mentally and emotionally succeeded, increasing the actual chances of success. For example, a basketball player can imagine that they are playing in the final game of their career and make every single shot. When practicing at the hall, they will be significantly more confident and might indeed play better.

Keep a Success Journal

Keeping a success journal can help practice optimism. It is especially important in the times of adversity when you feel like you are extremely inefficient and cannot succeed. Regularly recording and reading past successes provide empirical evidence that you are an effective and adaptable person who is able to succeed.

Strengthen Social Connections

In times of need, the support of one’s social ties can be invaluable and provide necessary emotional resilience. This need is essential in one’s personal life but can also be significant in a person’s career. Professionals are helped by a strong social network both in the time of crisis and in their everyday tasks. For example, during the financial crisis of 2008, it was observed that a stronger network was linked to better possibilities of finding a new job through a referral .

Stay in touch

The simplest way to keep social connections strong is to ensure that they are used regularly. Calling or making weekly video calls with friends, family, or colleagues can be enough to build and maintain relationships. During the pandemic of COVID-19, such tools were lifesavers for many people throughout social networks that have always provided support. Weekly video chats and calls allowed people to talk about what was going on in their lives and how others could support them. In addition, frequently used social connections were crucial during the times of a full lockdown, when there was no other way to stay in touch apart from digital.

Join community events

It is also smart to supplement one’s social network through participation in one’s community activities. One can join a local club or a volunteer group and keep contributing their part within the collectives of like-minded individuals. At the times of distress or trouble, such groups act as social safety nets . They are there to provide both practical and emotional support, enhancing one’s chances to overcome them.

Acts of kindness

It is also wise to help other people, as doing so can foster a feeling of close connections and enhance one’s self-worth. It is known that helping other people through various actions is associated with higher well-being and life satisfaction. For example, after natural disasters, people who volunteer to clean up hurricane or wildfire damage have shared their experience of empowerment and closeness of the community.

Engage in Physical Activity

Engaging in physical activity is a valid strategy to uplift mood and improve overall health, especially during difficult times. Exercise releases endorphins, an inwardly secreted chemical in the brain that acts as a natural painkiller and mood elevator. Regular physical activity can alleviate symptoms of depression, anxiety, and more. For example, people who continued their regular exercise routine during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic reported much less anxiety and depression than those who could not continue their exercise routine.

Lay-out An Exercise Routine

A daily exercise routine can also be your daily anchor when things seem out of control. Schedule a daily physicial activity at the same time every day—whether it’s a morning jog or walk, an evening body balance session, or even just an afternoon stretch. Through the days, weeks, and months of adhering to a well-shaped exercise routine, your physical and mental health will improve as a feeling of normal life will set-in.

Physical Activities During Your Everyday Job

These are important strategies to stay active during your otherwise busy day. For example, utilize the following to stay active and feel energized: take the stairs instead of a lift at every opportunity; if possible, walk or bike to work; or during real-time calls, pace with a portable headset. Being active throughout the day, even if it means slightly more activity, will reduce cardiovascular risks associated with being sedentary.

Join a Group Physical Activity Session

Social-pressure to join a group physical activity may be a motivator. Relishing a due date with others makes you accountable. This can be a local spinning class, a dance performance, or an online fitness group. The shared interest in getting wholer and with strategies to help make that result can be encouraged.ighborsgetting healthier and strategies to do so.

Set Goals

Finally, set reachable goals, either daily or weekly. These goals could be mastering one more yoga pose, running your 5km quicker, or reaching the daily beast for time. When a goal is achieved it does wonders for a person’s self esteem.

Practice Gratitude Regularly

Having an attitude of gratitude is shown to increase a person’s resilience and overall happiness, even in tough times. Beyond enhancing mental, there is evidence to suggest that being grateful can also improve physical health. For example, people who frequently practice gratitude usually have lower BP, reduced inflammation markers, and better sleep patterns. Here are ways you can promote gratitude in your life:

  • Keep a gratitude journal. Take a few minutes each day to write down three things you are grateful for. This simple act can shift your focus from what is lacking or wrong to what is plenty and right in your life. For example, if you end up losing your job, you can be grateful for finally having the time to spend with your family or work on creative hobbies that you did not have time beforehand.

  • Practice gratitude at different levels. Besides general gratitude, which is practicing being mindful of what you have in your life and feeling appreciative of it, specific gratitude usually involves being grateful for something that someone else did for you. For instance, thank your family members, friends, or staff every day when they assist you in various activities. During busy work times, you can acknowledge the effort and time you trade on your projects with your team members.

  • Reflect on your past difficulties. Think back to a time when you encountered hardships in your life, but instead of feeling negative towards it, reflect on how you were able to handle the situation. How did it make you feel when you successfully overcame the crisis as well as the support you received during this time from friends and family? Try remembering these feelings in your day-to-day lives, and the next time you face a difficult situation, you will feel a sense of gratitude towards overcoming the past issues and those you struggled to get through.

  • Integrate your daily routine with time for gratitude reflection. Spend a few minutes every day, perhaps in the morning or the night. Get used to it and use this to guide you throughout the day or night.

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