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Turn to the Bright Side: 10 Ways to Encourage Post-Incident Positive Thinking

Turn to the Bright Side: 10 Ways to Encourage Post-Incident Positive Thinking

Face it, “Negative Ned and Nancy,” you’ve been bitten by the negativity bug and you’re infected. Maybe an incident at work has knocked you down or things have been brewing for a while. No matter the circumstance, your negative thoughts have taken a turn for the worse and now it’s developed into a habit that you just can’t break.

Don’t worry, the cure is out there! Like negative thoughts, a positive outlook can be just as contagious, but contains even more power when it comes to channeling your happiness. Start harnessing your positivity today by following 10 easy ways to kick the negativity bug.

1. Start Your Day on the Right Foot

Literally, begin by waking up on the ‘right’ side of the bed. You can leave a note on your bedside with encouraging words that say, “You will do great things today.” Also, customize your wake-up alarm to an uplifting or upbeat song. This will instantly change your attitude about waking up. Then, make sure you eat a good breakfast to jump-start your metabolism and give you energy to face the day.

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2. Whistle While You Work

Snow White and her seven dwarfs had something right when they whistled while they worked. Humming and singing a happy tune can help you expel negative energy and calm your nerves and anxiety. Think of this as a small escape from what’s bothering you, and travel to your ‘happy place.’ Releasing your negative energy through humming can reinforce positive thinking.

3. Smile More, Whine Less

The common cliché about it taking fewer muscles to smile than frown is not necessarily true; however, smiling is more effortless. A simple grin can break your cycle of negativity. So, whining may get you instant gratification, but that can be short-lived. Consider changing your outlook for the better and try to see the silver lining in things.

4. Keep Things in Line with Checks and Balances

Stop becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy and think positive. Continue to build your own self-talk by exercising what you think and say about yourself. Instead of saying, “I can’t do anything right,” try, “I will do the best that I can in this moment.” A little positive spin or words of empowerment can build your confidence and help you face your challenges.

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5. Catch the Positivity Bug

Let loose and laugh by surrounding yourself with positive people. Venting is okay in some respects, but too much complaining and gossip will leave you feeling empty and dissatisfied. Break the pattern and find optimistic people to seek advice or to get your mind off things for a while.

6. Exercise Philanthropy

Ebenezer Scrooge found one of his greatest rewards in giving on Christmas Day in A Christmas Carol. In giving to others, you’ll find intrinsic and extrinsic rewards that will leave you with a smile on your face and a spring in your step. Know the impact of helping others and make a difference in someone’s life. You can demonstrate a small act of kindness, like making copies for a co-worker, or pay it forward and buy someone’s lunch. Great or small, kindness counts.

7. Know Your Assets

Putting your thoughts on paper can be great medicine for fighting your negativity. Write down things in your life that are going well or make a list of your strengths. Showing yourself all the positives will put you in a lighter mood.

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8. Inspire Action

Simply stated, set goals for you to think about your life and happiness. Start small with something you can achieve in a day and smile when you accomplish your goal. Then, make larger goals to continually strive to achieve. Keep yourself focused on bettering your life.

9. Rekindle Your Passion

Work is not just about monetary gain. Often times it is a calling, a passion that drives us to work and help others. Remind yourself why you are working and how you can positively impact others. Channel your passion and find something about your job that you love. This will help you boost your self-confidence in your abilities.

10. Above All, Love Yourself

When you are under pressure and life is stressful, always take care of yourself and be responsible for your own personal happiness and well-being. Consider your basic needs, such as healthy eating and sleep. Be kind to yourself and practice daily self-care routines to keep positive and productive.

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No matter what tough situation you face, don’t forget to practice these techniques to induce positive thinking. Remember to love yourself and all that you have going for you. You’ll break the habit of negative thinking and feel more refreshed and confident, ready to face whatever challenges may arise next.

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Courtney Gordner

Courtney is a passionate writer who shares about lifestyle tips on Lifehack.

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Last Updated on September 18, 2020

13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

For the original article by Celestine: 13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

“We all have problems. The way we solve them is what makes us different.” ~Unknown

“It’s not stress that kills us, it is our reaction to it.” – Hans Selye

Have you ever experienced moments when things just don’t go your way? For example, losing your keys, accidentally spilling your drink, waking up late, missing your buses/trains, forgetting to bring your things, and so on?

You’re not alone. All of us, myself included, experience times when things don’t go as we expect.

Here is my guide on how to deal with daily setbacks.

1. Take a step back and evaluate

When something bad happens, take a step back and evaluate the situation. Some questions to ask yourself:

  1. What is the problem?
  2. Are you the only person facing this problem in the world today?
  3. How does this problem look like at an individual level? A national level? On a global scale?
  4. What’s the worst possible thing that can happen to you as a result of this?
  5. How is it going to impact your life in the next 1 year? 5 years? 10 years?

Doing this exercise is not to undermine the problem or disclaiming responsibility, but to consider different perspectives, so you can adopt the best approach for it. Most problems we encounter daily may seem like huge issues when they crop up, but most, if not all, don’t have much impact in our life beyond that day.

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2. Vent if you have to, but don’t linger on the problem

If you feel very frustrated and need to let off some steam, go ahead and do that. Talk to a friend, complain, crib about it, or scream at the top of your lungs if it makes you happy.

At the same time, don’t get caught up with venting. While venting may temporarily relieve yourself, it’s not going to solve the problem ultimately. You don’t want to be an energy vampire.

Vent if there’s a need to, but do it for 15 to 20 minutes. Then move on.

3. Realize there are others out there facing this too

Even though the situation may be frustrating, you’re not alone. Remember there are almost 7 billion people in the world today, and chances are that other people have faced the same thing before too. Knowing it’s not just you helps you to get out of a self-victimizing mindset.

4. Process your thoughts/emotions

Process your thoughts/emotions with any of the four methods:

  1. Journal. Write your unhappiness in a private diary or in your blog. It doesn’t have to be formal at all – it can be a brain dump on rough paper or new word document. Delete after you are done.
  2. Audio taping. Record yourself as you talk out what’s on your mind. Tools include tape recorder, your PC (Audacity is a freeware for recording/editing audio) and your mobile (most mobiles today have audio recording functions). You can even use your voice mail for this. Just talking helps you to gain awareness of your emotions. After recording, play back and listen to what you said. You might find it quite revealing.
  3. Meditation. At its simplest form, meditation is just sitting/lying still and observing your reality as it is – including your thoughts and emotions. Some think that it involves some complex mambo-jumbo, but it doesn’t.
  4. Talking to someone. Talking about it with someone helps you work through the issue. It also gets you an alternate viewpoint and consider it from a different angle.

5. Acknowledge your thoughts

Don’t resist your thoughts, but acknowledge them. This includes both positive and negative thoughts.

By acknowledging, I mean recognizing these thoughts exist. So if say, you have a thought that says, “Wow, I’m so stupid!”, acknowledge that. If you have a thought that says, “I can’t believe this is happening to me again”, acknowledge that as well.

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Know that acknowledging the thoughts doesn’t mean you agree with them. It’s simply recognizing the existence of said thoughts so that you can stop resisting yourself and focus on the situation on hand.

6. Give yourself a break

If you’re very stressed out by the situation, and the problem is not time sensitive, then give yourself a break. Take a walk, listen to some music, watch a movie, or get some sleep. When you’re done, you should feel a lot more revitalized to deal with the situation.

7. Uncover what you’re really upset about

A lot of times, the anger we feel isn’t about the world. You may start off feeling angry at someone or something, but at the depth of it, it’s anger toward yourself.

Uncover the root of your anger. I have written a five part anger management series on how to permanently overcome anger.

After that, ask yourself: How can you improve the situation? Go to Step #9, where you define your actionable steps. Our anger comes from not having control on the situation. Sitting there and feeling infuriated is not going to change the situation. The more action we take, the more we will regain control over the situation, the better we will feel.

8. See this as an obstacle to be overcome

As Helen Keller once said,

“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experiences of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired and success achieved.”

Whatever you’re facing right now, see it as an obstacle to be overcome. In every worthy endeavor, there’ll always be countless obstacles that emerge along the way. These obstacles are what separate the people who make it, and those who don’t. If you’re able to push through and overcome them, you’ll emerge a stronger person than before. It’ll be harder for anything to get you down in the future.

9. Analyze the situation – Focus on actionable steps

In every setback, there are going to be things that can’t be reversed since they have already occurred. You want to focus on things that can still be changed (salvageable) vs. things that have already happened and can’t be changed. The only time the situation changes is when you take steps to improve it. Rather than cry over spilt milk, work through your situation:

  1. What’s the situation?
  2. What’s stressing you about this situation?
  3. What are the next steps that’ll help you resolve them?
  4. Take action on your next steps!

After you have identified your next steps, act on them. The key here is to focus on the actionable steps, not the inactionable steps. It’s about regaining control over the situation through direct action.

10. Identify how it occurred (so it won’t occur again next time)

A lot of times we react to our problems. The problem occurs, and we try to make the best out of what has happened within the context. While developing a healthy coping mechanism is important (which is what the other helping points are on), it’s also equally important, if not more, to understand how the problem arose. This way, you can work on preventing it from taking place next time, vs. dealing reactively with it.

Most of us probably think the problem is outside of our control, but reality is most of the times it’s fully preventable. It’s just a matter of how much responsibility you take over the problem.

For example, for someone who can’t get a cab for work in the morning, he/she may see the problem as a lack of cabs in the country, or bad luck. However, if you trace to the root of the problem, it’s probably more to do with (a) Having unrealistic expectations of the length of time to get a cab. He/she should budget more time for waiting for a cab next time. (b) Oversleeping, because he/she was too tired from working late the previous day. He/she should allocate enough time for rest next time. He/she should also pick up better time management skills, so as to finish work in lesser time.

11. Realize the situation can be a lot worse

No matter how bad the situation is, it can always be much worse. A plus point vs. negative point analysis will help you realize that.

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12. Do your best, but don’t kill yourself over it

No matter how bad your situation may seem, do your best, but don’t kill yourself over it. Life is too beautiful to worry so much over daily issues. Take a step back (#1), give yourself a break if you need to (#6), and do what you can within your means (#9). Everything else will unfold accordingly. Worrying too much about the outcome isn’t going to change things or make your life any better.

13. Pick out the learning points from the encounter

There’s something to learn from every encounter. What have you learned from this situation? What lessons have you taken away?

After you identify your learning points, think about how you’re going to apply them moving forward. With this, you’ve clearly gained something from this encounter. You’ve walked away a stronger, wiser, better person, with more life lessons to draw from in the future.

Get the manifesto version of this article: [Manifesto] What To Do When Things Don’t Go Your Way

Featured photo credit: Alice Donovan Rouse via unsplash.com

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