11 Epic Ways to Stay Optimistic When Life Lays You Low

Have you been working hard, doing the best you can to create an ideal life for yourself but all the forces seem aligned against you?

How to Stay OptimisticWe’ve all been there, some of us more often than others.  There are times when it seems as if life just doesn’t want you to be happy.

This is life testing you.  But why?  Haven’t you been tested enough already?

Well, you may never fully know why life insists on testing you so, but here are a few things to remember:

  • Tough times make the good times all the sweeter. Without the lows, there is no appreciation for the highs.
  • Hard times give you the opportunity to reach down into yourself and discover just how resilient and amazing you are.
  • No matter how bad you think your life is right now, there are thousands who wish they could have what you have.
  • You have to learn how to get through the bad times so you can teach others how to do the same. Life is funny that way.

So how do you remain optimistic when the weight of the world is on your shoulders?

Here are a few suggestions taught to me by those far wiser.  They have all helped in tremendous ways and perhaps they will help you too:

1.  Practice Real Gratitude Relentlessly

“The more you express gratitude for what you have, the more likely you will have even more to express gratitude for.” Zig Ziglar

If life really sucks right now, gratitude sounds awfully counter-intuitive.  Why be thankful for a life that sucks (at least for now)?

Well, as already said, there’s somebody out there who envies what you have right now.  If you’re alive, and you’ve eaten today, and you have a safe place to sleep, you’ve got it pretty good compared to a lot of folks.

Here’s a simple gratitude exercise that can change your perspective:

  1. Take a few deep, soulful breaths
  2. Get calm and focused,
  3. Now write down every good thing that has happened in your life. ( Avoid thinking about the bad things for now , even if the bad seems to outweigh the good. )

Once you’re done with your list, you’re going to see all the good things fall into two basic categories:

  1. Good things that you made happen yourself
  2. Good things that just seemed to happen to you

So what does this tell you?

  1. You have the power to make good things happen in your life.
  2. And good things can just happen even when you’re not tryin’.

About those good things that “just happened”:  you probably influenced those things to happen but didn’t realize it.  At the very least, you were tuned into a particular mindset to receive good things.

Which brings us back to the point:

You have already proven to yourself that you have the power to make good things happen in your life.  There’s no reason you cannot repeat the process.

On a more spiritual level, gratitude is just a way of telling your Higher Power, “Hey, I can handle the good stuff, give me more!”

When you’re not grateful, a certain part of your psyche thinks you cannot handle the good stuff so it won’t give you more until it thinks you’re ready.

Relentlessly practice gratitude every day.  Not only will your mood brighten, so will your life’s results.

2.  Show Kindness to Humankind

“It’s also selfish because it makes you makes you feel good when you help others.  I’ve been helped by acts of kindness from strangers.  That’s why we’re here after all, to help others.” Carol Burnett

When you are kind to others, you are kind to yourself.

When you restore someone else’s faith in humanity, you restore your faith in yourself.

Most of us are taught from an early age to start setting up barriers to other people:  “don’t let people run over you, don’t let them take advantage of you.”

Well, of course not, but this doesn’t mean you can’t be kind and gracious toward everyone you meet, especially the arse-holes because they need it most.

No matter how down you feel at the moment, project positive energy towards other people, compliment them, encourage them, and seize upon simple one-minute opportunities to help them and you’ll be amazed at how your own outlook improves exponentially.

3.  Express Your Creativity

“Creativity is what helps me escape a lot of my inner demons.”  Demi Lovato

The whole thrust of human existence is to create.  When you’re not creating, you feel like life is pointless.

So if your creativity is not satisfied at your job, come home and create something that fills you up.  It doesn’t matter if it’s a flower arrangement, a dog house, or a poem.

As long as it allows you to express your personal authenticity, it will give you a sense of meaning and purpose which in turn improves your whole state of mind.

4.  Seek Soulful Solitude

“Spending quiet time alone gives your mind an opportunity to renew itself and create order.”  Susan L. Taylor

Sometimes you need to retreat from the buzzing world around you and quite frankly you need to retreat from your own buzzing mind.  This is called meditation.

“Meditation” is a popular word these days that is talked about a lot more than is actually practiced because we make it more complicated than it actually is.

In its simplest form, meditation is getting still and being quiet.  You don’t necessarily have to get into the yoga meditation pose.  Just sit still, block out the noise, and breathe.  For more pointers, click here.

If nothing else, you can do it with you first morning coffee.  Some people like to park their car in a nice place for 15 minutes between the buzz at work and the buzz at home (radio off of course).

Say you don’t have time to be quiet?  That’s just another indication of how badly you need it.  It’s a reset, a centering mechanism.  Get centered and watch your thoughts improve which in turn improves your whole state of mind.

5.  Raise Your Physical Vibration

“Nothing lifts me out of a bad mood better than a hard workout on my treadmill.”  Cher

Scientific research has shown that  physical exercise improves your mood.  When you move your body somewhat strenuously, your brain rewards you by releasing endorphins (aka the “feel good” chemicals) into your bloodstream.

If you’re already an exercise enthusiast, you already know what we’re talking about here.

If you’re not an exercise enthusiast, that’s cool and don’t worry, we’re not talking about joining a gym and hiring a trainer, we’re just talking about getting up, getting out, and moving around the arms and legs that Mother Nature gave you.

Take a walk.  Take a swim.  Take a hike.  Ride a bike.  Make it fun.  The more you move around, the more you feel positive and optimistic.

6.  Put Failure in Its Place

“Every failure is a step to success.”  William Whewell

There’s a file in your brain labeled “perspective”.  When you run up against failure, take it and put in in this file.

If your efforts are earnest, failure is but one more step toward achievement.  Successful people all over the world have demonstrated this truth over and over throughout the ages.

  • J.K. Rowling’s first Harry Potter book was rejected by 12 publishers.
  • Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team.
  • Thomas Edison created 1,000 light bulbs that did not work before he made one that did.
  • Lucille Ball was told by her acting instructor that she should try another profession.
  • Elvis Presley was told by the manager at the The Grand Ole Opry that he was better suited to driving a truck.
  • Walt Disney was fired from a newspaper for lack of imagination and he went bankrupt a couple of times before building Disneyland.

Every successful person you can think of has many chapters about failure in their book.  So cheer up, as long as you keep failing, success is right around the corner.

7.  Quash Pessimism

“Pessimism never won any battle.”  Dwight D. Eisenhower

Pessimism is a weed.  It needs no fertilizer.  Left unattended, it grows and multiplies, choking out the flowers of optimism.

What do you do when you see a weed in the garden of your mind?  You pull it out by the roots. Otherwise, tomorrow there will be three, the next day 6, and the following day 30, leaving no room for optimism to grow and prosper.

Optimism and pessimism are alike in one way:  they’re both self fulfilling prophecies.  

So when you sit and ruminate over worst case scenarios, you give the worst case permission to become reality.

Whenever you notice a negative thought entering your mind, stop whatever else you’re doing. Now visualize your hand grabbing that weed at its base, yanking it out by the roots, and tossing it into the incinerator.

8.  Go to Nature

“I go to nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put in order.”  John Burroughs

Even if you are the most adamant city dweller, you came from nature and someday you will return to nature.  If you can’t get away to a trail or the beach, try something like:

  • Look out the window and meditate on a big white puffy cloud or on the sunset.
  • Go outside, find a big tree, put your hand on it, close your eyes, and feel its vibration.
  • During the next big rain, run out the door and let yourself get soaking wet.

Get as creative as you want in experiencing nature as often as you can.

Nature puts things in perspective and reminds you that you’re just one beautiful particle of one giant organism called the Universe.  Feel this and when you see the sun shining brightly, so will you.

9.  Transform Your Space

“How do I cope with stress?  I clean and organize.”  Sandra Lee

How does your living space make you feel?  Honestly, how does it make you feel?

Does it sustain you?  Are you proud of it?  Does it relax you when you need to rest?  Does it inspire you when you need to create?  Does it energize you when you need to produce?

You don’t need an expensive home with expensive furnishings.  You do need a home that reflects an optimistic vision of yourself.

The conscious mind is very adept at blocking out the dirty dishes, the unkempt bed, the messy closet, and the crooked picture on the wall but the subconscious mind sees it all too well.

Your home should make you feel better than any other place in the world.  It’s your refuge, your temple.

If it doesn’t make you feel like your best version of yourself whenever you’re in it, clean things up and move things around until you notice that your mood has lifted.

10.  Lean on a Friend

“Your friend is your needs answered.” Kahlil Gibran

Don’t want to burden your friend with your problems?  Then don’t.  Just call her up and connect.  Let the conversation flow.

If you are truly friends, she’ll know something is wrong and draw it out and console you – and vice versa.

Human beings are genetically designed to depend on other people.  Some people need that connection more than others but if you’re feeling lonely that’s an indication that you need to connect.

When you make a connection with someone, an honest, genuine connection, you get a deeper sense that things are going right in your world.

11.  Laugh Like a Jackal

“Laughter is the tonic, the relief, the surcease of pain.”  Charlie Chaplain

Most of the time, humor is nothing but putting a positive spin on an unpleasant situation.  Laughter transforms your mental state from low to high.  Therefore, laugh as hard and as often as you can.

It’s easy to get a good laugh.  Just go to Pinterest or Youtube and type in “funny”, or “LOL cats”, or whatever you think is humorous.

Better yet, laughter is best when shared, so grab a bestie and head out for a funny movie or sit on a park bench, tell funny stories from the past that you’ve lived through, and laugh like jackals.

These were but a few ways to stay optimistic during difficult times.  There are many other ways.

Please leave comments below with more ideas!

The point is, you are a unique, creative individual in possession of all the mental and spiritual gifts you need to boost your mood and improve your outlook on life.

Thank you so much for visiting today and may your life be glorious!

Meet the Author

Rick Huggins

Spiritual awakening, personal growth, and the conscious lifestyle are fascinating topics to me. I love connecting with those of you diving deeper into the mysteries and meaning of Life. I am NOT a Guru, nor do I ever plan on becoming one, but I do love sharing what I've learned as I go along.

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