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5 Tips to Stay Positive in Negative Situations

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5 Tips to Stay Positive in Negative Situations

Life is a process of highs, lows and everything in between. Wherever you are and whoever you are, negative situations can prove to be a challenge—even to the strongest optimist. Here are five tips you can use to stay positive in negative situations and find the silver lining in each experience.

1. Shift your mindset

Although it might not feel like it at the time, most negative situations contain a learning experience. If we’re going through the discomfort and pain of dealing with a negative situation, we might as well take the opportunity to learn something from it too.

Shifting your mindset and looking for the lesson in the situation isn’t about blaming yourself or anyone else for what’s happened. Instead, the purpose of doing this is to get something positive out of the situation and, hopefully, to prevent it from occurring again in the future.

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2. Get support

You don’t have to deal with a negative situation on your own.

Getting support from friends or family you can trust can not only help you get through this tough time, but it can also strengthen your relationships with the people around you.

3. Focus on what you can control (and let go of what you can’t)

We can’t always control the situation that we find ourselves in, and we can’t please everyone. What we can do when we find ourselves in a negative situation is to take ownership of our actions and make amends for our mistakes.

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If you find yourself in a negative situation, trying to take responsibility for things you have no control over will only make you feel worse. It’s also self-defeating as, if you don’t have control over something then there’s usually not much you can do to change it.

For example, if you’re catching a flight to an important event and the flight is delayed, there’s not much point in worrying about whether it’s going to be delayed further or cancelled, as you don’t have any control over that outcome. What you can do is let any contacts you have at your destination know about the situation or even try to book a different flight to make sure you get there as soon as possible.

4. Practice self-compassion

Every negative situation is a chance to practice a valuable skill: self-compassion. The amount of self-compassion we show ourselves is directly proportionate to our quality of life. If we’re able to practice self-compassion, we’re more likely to be resilient in the face of challenging situations and we’re more likely to take risks that further our personal and professional development. We’re also more likely to take steps to amend any role that we played in creating the negative situation in the first place.

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Self-compassion is not the same as giving yourself a free ride or not taking responsibility for your actions. Instead, it’s about accepting that you are a human being with human experiences.

5. Remember it will pass

As I mention above, life is a process of highs, lows, and everything in between. Just as this means that negative situations are an inevitability, it also means that they will inevitably pass and make way for more positive times.

Our job is to take what we can from the negative situations, whether it’s a lesson well learned, or a renewed trust in our strength and resilience, and to enjoy the good times while they last.

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Finally, remember that negative situations are uncomfortable, even painful at times. But how we approach these situations has a huge influence over how we experience them. By implementing these five tips: looking for the lessons, getting support, focusing on what we can control, practicing self-compassion, and remembering that the situation will pass, we’ll be in a much better place to handle negative situations as they occur and carry on along the roller coaster.

What are your tips for dealing with negative situations? Leave a comment and let us know.

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Hannah Braime

Hannah is a coach who believes the world is a richer place when we have the courage to be fully self-expressed.

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Last Updated on November 18, 2021

10 Proven Ways to Judge a Person’s Character

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10 Proven Ways to Judge a Person’s Character

We all fall into the trap of judging a person’s character by their appearance. How wrong we are! All too often, the real character of the person only appears when some negative event hits them or you. Then you may see a toxic person emerging from the ruins and it is often a shock.

A truly frightening example is revealed in the book by O’Toole in Bowman called Dangerous Instincts: How Gut Instincts Betray Us. A perfectly respectable, charming, well dressed neighbor was found to have installed a torture chamber in his garage where he was systematically abusing kidnapped women. This is an extreme example, but it does show how we can be totally deceived by a person’s physical appearance, manners and behavior.

So, what can you do? You want to be able to assess personal qualities when you come into contact with colleagues, fresh acquaintances and new friends who might even become lifelong partners. You want to know if they are:

  • honest
  • reliable
  • competent
  • kind and compassionate
  • capable of taking the blame
  • able to persevere
  • modest and humble
  • pacific and can control anger.

The secret is to reserve judgment and take your time. Observe them in certain situations; look at how they react. Listen to them talking, joking, laughing, explaining, complaining, blaming, praising, ranting, and preaching. Only then will you be able to judge their character. This is not foolproof, but if you follow the 10 ways below, you have a pretty good chance of not ending up in an abusive relationship.

1. Is anger a frequent occurrence?

All too often, angry reactions which may seem to be excessive are a sign that there are underlying issues. Do not think that every person who just snaps and throws his/her weight around mentally and physically is just reacting normally. Everyone has an occasional angry outburst when driving or when things go pear-shaped.

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But if this is almost a daily occurrence, then you need to discover why and maybe avoid that person. Too often, anger will escalate to violent and aggressive behavior. You do not want to be near someone who thinks violence can solve personal or global problems.

2. Can you witness acts of kindness?

How often do you see this person being kind and considerate? Do they give money to beggars, donate to charity, do voluntary work or in some simple way show that they are willing to share the planet with about 7 billion other people?

I was shocked when a guest of mine never showed any kindness to the weak and disadvantaged people in our town. She was ostensibly a religious person, but I began to doubt the sincerity of her beliefs.

“The best index to a person’s character is how he treats people who can’t do him any good, and how he treats people who can’t fight back.”

Abigail Van Buren

3. How does this person take the blame?

Maybe you know that s/he is responsible for a screw-up in the office or even in not turning up on time for a date. Look at their reaction. If they start blaming other colleagues or the traffic, well, this is an indication that they are not willing to take responsibility for their mistakes.

4. Don’t use Facebook as an indicator.

You will be relieved to know that graphology (the study of that forgotten skill of handwriting) is no longer considered a reliable test of a person’s character. Neither is Facebook stalking, fortunately. A study showed that Facebook use of foul language, sexual innuendo and gossip were not reliable indicators of a candidate’s character or future performance in the workplace.

5. Read their emails.

Now a much better idea is to read the person’s emails. Studies show that the use of the following can indicate certain personality traits:

  • Too many exclamation points may reveal a sunny disposition
  • Frequent errors may indicate apathy
  • Use of smileys is the only way a person can smile at you
  • Use of the third person may reveal a certain formality
  • Too many question marks can show anger
  • Overuse of capital letters is regarded as shouting. They are a definite no-no in netiquette, yet a surprising number of  people still use them.

6. Watch out for the show offs.

Listen to people as they talk. How often do they mention their achievements, promotions, awards and successes? If this happens a lot, it is a sure indication that this person has an over-inflated view of his/her achievements. They are unlikely to be modest or show humility. What a pity!  Another person to avoid.

7. Look for evidence of perseverance.

A powerful indicator of grit and tenacity is when a person persists and never gives up when they really want to achieve a life goal. Look for evidence of them keeping going in spite of enormous difficulties.

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Great achievements by scientists and inventors all bear the hallmark of perseverance. We only have to think of Einstein, Edison (who failed thousands of times) and Nelson Mandela to get inspiration. The US Department of Education is in no doubt about how grit, tenacity and perseverance will be key success factors for youth in the 21st century.

8. Their empathy score is high.

Listen to how they talk about the less fortunate members of our society such as the poor, immigrants and the disabled. Do you notice that they talk in a compassionate way about these people? The fact that they even mention them is a strong indicator of empathy.

People with zero empathy will never talk about the disadvantaged. They will rarely ask you a question about a difficult time or relationship. They will usually steer the conversation back to themselves. These people have zero empathy and in extreme cases, they are psychopaths who never show any feelings towards their victims.

9. Learn how to be socially interactive.

We are social animals and this is what makes us so uniquely human. If a person is isolated or a loner, this may be a negative indicator of their character. You want to meet a person who knows about trust, honesty and loyalty. The only way to practice these great qualities is to actually interact socially. The great advantage is that you can share problems and celebrate success and joy together.

“One can acquire everything in solitude, except character.”

Stendhal

 10. Avoid toxic people.

These people are trying to control others and often are failing to come to terms with their own failures. Typical behavior and conversations may concern:

  • Envy or jealousy
  • Criticism of partners, colleagues and friends
  • Complaining about their own lack of success
  • Blaming others for their own bad luck or failure
  • Obsession with themselves and their problems

Listen to these people talk and you will quickly discover that you need to avoid them at all costs because their negativity will drag you down. In addition, as much as you would like to help them, you are not qualified to do so.

Now, having looked at some of the best ways to judge a person, what about yourself? How do others see you? Why not take Dr. Phil’s quiz and find out. Can you bear it?

Featured photo credit: Jacek Dylag via unsplash.com

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