By Shefa Ali
No matter who we are or what amazing accolades we have to our names, at some point along the journey of life, we all face adversity and trials. Positivity is great, but it will only get you so far. It’s easy to be positive when things are going our way, but what about when things are not going the way we hoped? Then it becomes about using tried and tested strategies to get you through those challenging times. One of the things I have learned over the last few years is to work consciously to improve my outlook on life.
I have developed an attitude that over time has become significantly consistent. I can look at the world in a positive way on my good days, but more importantly I have trained myself to stay positive and productive during the difficult times too.
One of the techniques I use to create this optimistic outlook is to ask myself meaningful questions, after all that’s what coaches do, we are constantly asking powerful questions. When I am in what seems like a negative situation, I ask myself; what is one positive outcome of this situation? What opportunity is it presenting me with? During a tough season, instead of asking “Why is this happening to me?” I ask myself “What is this here to teach me?
I have worked daily to cultivate a positive environment in my head for myself. I make active choices about who I spend my time with. They say you are the sum of the five people that you spend most of your time with, there is a lot of truth to that statement. To stay positive, it is fundamental to have motivating influences in your life that support you and uplift you, instead of dragging you down. I call them energisers and I do my best to stay away from drainers.
It’s very easy to lose perspective and make problems seem larger than they are, especially when you are stressed. A simple way to handle situations so they don’t get out of hand is to: Breathe. If you have negative thoughts just stop, sit down and be still. Breathe in from your nostrils and exhale from them too. Expand your lungs fully. Focus on just your inhalations and exhalations for a minute or two to calm your mind and body down.
Refocus. Ask yourself: Will this matter in five years? Or even five weeks?
Start your day in a mood boosting way. How you start your day usually sets the tone for how the next 24 hours unfold. Maybe start your day by having an uplifting conversation with a family member or friend, maybe listen to an inspiring you tube video over breakfast or on the way to work. I write positive post it notes to myself, which I stick on the wall, I read one every morning before I leave home.Mindfully move through your day. When you spend your time in the present moment, it becomes so much easier to tap into positive emotions even if we are experiencing chaos. When you get lost in the past or future, like so many of us often do, we can get caught up in anxiety. Failures and mistakes from the past being replayed over and over in your mind like a movie can drag us down into negativity. If you focus on today, on this very moment, you can get through anything.
I hope you try out some of these simple techniques. If you have any questions about them, please don’t hesitate to get in touch on Instagram.
n The author is a consultant and coach. Instagram handle: @miss_shefa, Website: missshefa.com
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