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Last Updated on January 18, 2021

How to Not Be Sad When It Feels Like Everything Is Going Wrong

How to Not Be Sad When It Feels Like Everything Is Going Wrong

Gaining emotional balance is far different than finding physical or mental balance. Human emotions, especially, sadness, pain, depression, and anxiety, tend to arrive suddenly and uninvited. Sometimes, it may feel like the odds are stacked against your favor, which makes it harder to break through that specific cycle or see the light at the end of the tunnel. In these cases, learning how to not be sad can feel impossible.

These emotions – especially sadness – is weighed differently by everyone and may feel amplified during specific periods in one’s life. Whether it is because of a breakup, losing a friend or a loved one, feeling like a failure, or even homesickness, understand that it’s completely natural to feel a certain way about it.

Let yourself feel your emotions, and when you’re ready, take a look at these tips to learn how to not be sad.

1. Remember That There’s a Season to Everything

Like nature’s seasons, we also go through seasons in life. Some seasons may seem longer than others, especially when it comes to dealing with emotions such as sadness, grief, sorrow, and depression. But just like nature, there is a beginning, and there is a renewal to every moment in our lives.

Take a moment to think back on the last five years. The chances are you’ve had your highs and lows, and maybe one particular year stood out more than the others. For that particular moment, event, or even year, it might have been hard to see the light or good that was to come out of it.

Trust that while it seems like everything is going against you, there is a close to every single loop in our lives. It’s also meant for your growth mentally, physically, and spiritually to have these renewal periods.

2. Embrace the Domino Effect

Other times, life will have some dominos lined up for you, and there will be a time when it’ll all come tumbling one after another–or it may seem so. Sometimes, it’s the universe clearing and paving something else, but the frustrating part of it is not knowing what is coming to fill that space.

The unknown can be an exciting thing, but it can also create restlessness, anxiety, and uncertainty. It’s part of trusting the process and knowing that others have, are, or will be going through similar emotions.

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It’s not an end-all, but instead a reset button for what’s to come next. It’s a cleanse that we need and is also a reminder that maybe we have to switch our perceptions.

You’re the director and screenwriter of your life, and it’s time to embrace all your moments and even the ones you feel are against you. Making that simple switch in perception can make all the difference as you learn how to not be sad.

3. Find Your Bliss

It’s time to break away from the single-minded pursuit of happiness and embrace the thing that works for you and what’s in alignment with your values. Everyone deals with sadness in a different way–exercising, drawing, dancing, connecting with friends, or spending time with family.

Be compassionate with yourself and find what makes you happy. It’s not a one-answer-fits-all, and it’s not supposed to be. Find several things you can refer back to that brings balance mentally, physically, and emotionally.

4. Start a 5-Minute Journal

Whether you’re a writer or not, try starting a 5 minute journal and write down all the things you are grateful for. Sure, it may sound tedious at first, but use those 5 minutes that you were going to use scanning through social media or watching television towards something that can help shift your emotions.

Many successful entrepreneurs start their day with gratitude, and just by listing down the simple things you appreciate daily, you begin to notice other things to be grateful for throughout the day. Here are several prompts to get you started:

  • Who made you smile in the last 24-hours, and why did that person make you happy?
  • Was there a specific song on the radio that reminded you of a fun time in your life? How did that make you feel?
  • Think about what you had for breakfast and how it fueled you for the day. How did that energize you?

Once you start looking at the little things to be grateful for, it starts becoming a natural habit that then begins shifting your emotions automatically. Call it the happy domino effect.

5. Reach out to Someone You Can Connect With

Having a huge support system of friends and family members is a blessing as you’re learning how to not be sad, but there’s always someone you might be able to connect with on a deeper and more personal level[1].

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Everyone’s circumstances and situations are different, and while you may feel that you are the only person that may be feeling a certain way about it, open yourself up to connections with others who could have felt the same way.

Breakups happen for a number of different reasons, but that similar feeling of grieving that person, relationship, and entity still exists. Homesickness may be defined differently depending on a person, but it’s that mutual feeling of longing for a place or person.

Life’s not meant to be spent alone, so find others who can help you through a tough time.

6. Change Your Perception

When my father passed away, I went through the stages of grief, as most people do. I remember texting a friend that I was angry at him for leaving, although I know that my father’s fate was not in my hands or his.

Once you go down that rabbit hole of emotions, it’s hard to come back up, especially when you feel like everything is going wrong.

However, there is no Wonderland or a magical place with all the answers. The tunnel never ends unless you stop yourself from free falling with your thoughts and find the willpower to climb out of that tunnel.

It’s about switching those perceptions and pushing your mental power– which includes seeing the silver lining in places that seem almost impossible.

Here are questions to help shift those current perceptions into more positive thoughts and ideas:

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  • Life isn’t happening to me, but instead for me. What am I learning from this, and why now?
  • How can I help others with what I am experiencing?
  • Is being negative helping anyone or myself?

Keep in mind being negative and being sad are two completely different emotions. Being sad is natural, and sometimes you have to ride those emotions out; but being negative sometimes stems from unaddressed thoughts and feelings of sadness and can get in the way of improved mood and mental health.

With that, I searched for the silver lining in the sudden passing of my father and saw that the beautiful thing about death is that it brings people closer in the most bittersweet way.

7. Put Yourself First

Put yourself first and focus on self-care, especially during your darkest hours. Everyone is different, and there isn’t a clean cut and simple solution when learning how to not be sad.

If it helps, surround yourself with people, whether it be a distraction mechanism or something to start feeling good for a few moments. If it helps to turn off your phone for half the day and disconnect, allow yourself that time. If you’d rather be alone to let go and release any pent-up emotions, or even to be in complete silence and solitude, allow yourself those moments[2].

Use self-care when learning how to not be sad

    Once you show up for yourself and begin putting yourself first, you start to show up in other areas in life again.

    Here’re some self-care tips for you: 30 Self Care Habits for a Strong and Healthy Mind, Body and Spirit

    8. Gain and Give Compassion

    Compassion is not always a skill that’s given, but sometimes it’s a skill learned[3]. As humans, we have genuine compassion towards other human beings, animals, and nature by being kind, gentle, and observant–things that flow naturally.

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    Yet, there are some areas in life we will not truly and fully understand unless we have gone through it ourselves. Most times, it may be understanding traumatic experiences.

    Sadness can be an all encompassing emotion, but you’re not alone.

    By taking some time to be compassionate towards other people and their waves of sadness, you may feel more connected to that particular person, even if you haven’t gone through that particular event. In return, compassion is an energetic wave, and what you give always comes back around.

    Final Thoughts

    Sadness is a healthy human emotion and is something your family, close friends, colleagues, and mentors have all experienced. Reach out to loved ones, especially those you have a special connection with, when you’re learning how to not be sad.

    Remember to put yourself first and be open to trying new things that may seem foreign to you, such as starting a journal or exercising. When everything starts feeling like it’s hitting at once, know that there’s a season to all of this–even your darkest moments.

    More on Cultivating Happiness

    Featured photo credit: Chad Madden via unsplash.com

    Reference

    More by this author

    Akina Chargualaf

    Akina Chargualaf is an entrepreneur, writer, and the content creator of travel and personal development blog Finding Fifth.

    How to Get Your Life Back on Track When Things Are out of Control How to Stop Dwelling on the Past and Move on for Good Why It’s Never Too Late to Change Your Life and Live Differently How to Not Be Sad When It Feels Like Everything Is Going Wrong 15 Tips to Manage Shift Work and Your Quality of Life

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    Published on April 15, 2021

    How To Be an Optimistic Person When the Odds Are Against You

    How To Be an Optimistic Person When the Odds Are Against You

    When life gets tough and you are facing big obstacles, it is so hard to be an optimistic person. As we try to deal with these challenges, our feelings tend to be consumed by fear, frustration, and disillusionment. Inertia and indecisiveness overwhelm us, and being optimistic is the last thing we feel like being.

    “I think I am going to have to supercharge my optimism to arm myself for the battle ahead.”—Rebecca Bloom

    Why Is It Important to Be an Optimist?

    Being optimistic is one of the best ways in which you can deal with the hard knocks in life. Having an optimistic outlook on life also has amazing health benefits as well.

    Scientific research shows us that staying in a place where we feel fearful and disillusioned—where we have no energy and no hope—is not good for our overall wellbeing.

    “Optimism helps people cope with disease[s] and recover from surgery. Even more impressive is the impact of a positive outlook on overall health and longevity. Research tells us that an optimistic outlook early in life can predict better health and a lower rate of death during follow-up periods of 15 to 40 years.”[1]

    Your Power of Choice Is Key to Living an Optimistic Life

    Although you may not be born a natural optimist, using your power of choice wisely can help you develop an optimistic attitude that will enable you to defy any odds that are against you. You are the only person who has control over whether you want to be optimistic or not! As the Dalai Lama has said, “choose to be optimistic it feels better!”

    I love this quote from Neale Donald Walsch as he explains very clearly how the power of choice can be used by you to get the results you want:

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    “Therefore, be honest with yourself as to why you are choosing to do a particular thing. Then, do it gladly, knowing that you are always getting to do what you want. The statement “I have no choice” is a lie. You can choose. You simply do not prefer the alternatives available to you, for whatever reason. So you select the outcome that you most prefer.”—Neale Donald Walsch

    Being an optimist opens you up to exploring new ideas, new experiences, and new possibilities. It frees you up to consider new options for how you can live your life for the better. It helps you look to the future with hope and positivity.

    What Is Optimism?

    The definition of optimism, according to Elizabeth Scott MS, is that it is “a mental attitude characterized by hope and confidence in success and a positive future. Optimists are those who expect good things to happen, where pessimists instead predict unfavorable outcomes.”[2]

    However, being an optimist does not necessarily mean that you will be able to successfully deal with the challenges of life. Having a positive mindset along with an optimistic outlook enhances your chances to defy the odds and challenges you face in life.

    What Is Positive Mindset?

    The Oxford dictionary definition of optimism is “hopefulness and confidence about the future or the success of something” while positivity is defined as “the practice of being, or tendency to be positive or optimistic in attitude.”

    Positive thinking looks for solutions, whereas negative thinking dwells on the problems and obstacles. Positive thinking is an emotional and mental attitude that focuses on the good and expects results that will benefit you. It’s about anticipating happiness, health, and success—essentially, training yourself to adopt an abundance mindset and cultivate gratitude for your own successes and those of others

    Optimism and positive thinking go hand in hand. You can’t be an optimist and not have a positive mindset.

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    To defy the odds and sustain an optimistic and positive outlook Gabriele Oettingen, a motivation researcher at New York University and author of Rethinking Positive Thinking: Inside the New Science of Motivation, believes that it is not just about having happy thoughts—but it is actually planning for and anticipating those positive outcomes that get us results.

    She describes optimism as having positive expectations about the future based on past experiences and positive thinking as wishful dreaming, which is not a bad thing if applied correctly!

    She believes that if we apply optimism (which is a personality trait), we inherit with positive thinking (which is a choice we make) what Oettingen calls “mental contrasting,” which is important for motivation and setting in motion unconscious cognitive processes that are important in goal attainment.[3]

    3 Strategies on How to Be an Optimistic Person

    Applying these 3 strategies will help you to defy the odds you face in life while still being an optimistic person with a positive mindset.

    1. Use the WOOP Model

    Gabriele Oettingen combined her ideas with those of fellow researcher Peter Gollwitzer, and they came up with a motivation exercise called WOOP.

    Using the WOOP Model, you work on goal attainment by applying these 4 steps:[4]

    1. Wishing for something you’d like to achieve.
    2. Imagining a good outcome.
    3. Examining the obstacles that might get in your way.
    4. Coming up with a plan for overcoming those obstacles.

    Research results conducted by Gabriele Oettingen have shown that employing WOOP is more successful than positive thinking alone in helping people to fulfill their desired goals.[5]

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    Knowing how to activate your positive and optimistic outlook on life to get the results you want is key to you building your resilience to manage the hard knocks and challenges that life throws at you. Having a positive outlook on life takes work and the WOOP model is a framework that you can use to put your goals into action so that you can start to feel good about achieving the goals you set in life.

    2. Cultivate a Positive and Optimistic Mindset

    Adopting a positive mindset can help us get through difficult times. However, if we are not careful, we can tend to focus on thinking positive thoughts and banishing all negative ones. This can be exhausting and not a realistic way to deal with life’s challenges

    I believe that the combination of a positive mindset and an optimistic view of life that is realistic is the secret weapon to successfully dealing with the obstacles and pitfalls we face in life.

    Here are 4 things that you could do now that would enable you to grow and sustain a positive and optimistic mindset:

    1. Once a day, share positive feedback with a minimum of three people—work colleague, partner, children, friend, or anyone that you meet on the day. Making other people feel positive has lasting effects on your own life.
    2. Every morning when you wake up and at night just before you go to bed, praise yourself and reflect on all the positive things that happened to you during the day. Keep a journal and note down at least three positive things that you did today or are grateful for.
    3. Imagine a positive future for you – get a journal, and for seven days, write down all the great things you want to happen—tomorrow, next week, next month, and next year! This is the first step to dreaming big with an optimistic outlook on life!
    4. Consider a serious challenge or obstacle you are facing in your life right now and write down at least five possible positive outcomes. This exercise allows you to look at your challenges with an optimistic and positive mindset.

    3. Recognize Negative Thinking

    When you are dealing with challenging times and it feels like the odds are against you, it is hard to maintain an optimistic outlook on your life. You can’t push away or bury your negative feelings—what you resist will persist.

    The best way to be optimistic despite the challenges you are facing is to acknowledge that bad things happen. Ignoring your reality isn’t helpful. Being realistic about your situation is important to you working out how to best work with the difficult situation you are facing. A healthy and realistic outlook of your life is a great way to accept that all you can do is your best and that you will be okay, regardless of the outcome.

    When you are thinking negatively, take a moment to assess how realistic your thoughts are. Reframe your negative thoughts into more realistic statements that can help you maintain an optimistic view of the future and potential solutions.

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    Final Thoughts

    As an optimist, you believe in hope, opportunities, and a brighter future. Choosing to be an optimist is a choice that comes with surprising benefits. Scientific research has shown that an optimistic and positive view of life allows you to live a healthier and happy life, despite the odds that are against you![6] When you are trying to be optimistic, especially when the odds are against you, having a positive thinking mindset is a secret ingredient to you successfully riding that rollercoaster of life!

    Optimism and positive thinking go hand in hand. Positive thinking looks for solutions, whereas negative thinking dwells on the problems and obstacles. There is no doubt that the more optimistic you are about life the happier you will be.

    Applying the three strategies above will help you to remain an optimist while successfully navigating your way through the challenges and tough times in your life.

    “True hopefulness and optimism are what leads one to dare. It is also what lifts one back up to dare again after a failed attempt.”—Bibi Bourelly

    More Tips on Being More Positive

    Featured photo credit: Hudson Hintze via unsplash.com

    Reference

    [1] Harvard Health Publishing: Optimism and your health
    [2] VeryWellMind: What Is Optimism?
    [3] Positive Psychology: What Is Mental Contrasting and How to Benefit From It?
    [4] WOOP: What is WOOP?
    [5] Greater Good Magazine: Can Positive Thinking Really Make Dreams Come True?
    [6] Harvard Health Publishing: Optimism and your health

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