How do you cope with a bad day? Do you try to cheer yourself up with a good meal or some online shopping? Perhaps you talk through your trials with a trusted friend? Or maybe you don’t know how to navigate your feelings, and you let the negativity drag you down.
I get it because I’ve been there. Sometimes, life doesn’t feel so great, and there’s nothing you can do about it.
Or is there?
Historian Alice Morse Earle said, “every day may not be good, but there’s something good in every day.” I agree.
Tough times are part of being human. Despite life’s challenges, though, there's always something positive percolating in the background.
So why do so many of us get stuck in negativity?
Do it the hard way
We have a tendency to go to a dark place when everything around us feels bleak. When adversity strikes, our natural reaction can be to ask, “why me?” and then obsess over what’s going wrong.
You can’t always control your circumstances. You can’t change the diagnosis, or your supervisor’s decision to let you go, or your partner’s choice to leave.
When a complex challenge arises, defeatism has the power to cast a dark shadow over our lives and obscure what positivity remains. We can feel imprisoned by our circumstances and struggle to find the light.
Finding them can be a challenge, but even in the face of loss, there are always glimmers of hope.
Right now, there are many people who thought they had solid, secure jobs with some of the world’s largest and most successful companies. Now, without much warning, they’re seeking employment elsewhere.
Most of them are probably not feeling great right now. They felt safe, and now they don’t.
I’ll be honest—there are days when I look around and just don’t see anything good. Sometimes, when a situation doesn’t seem to be working out I can feel consumed by the weight of it all. But when I force myself to look a little harder, that ray of light always appears.
I don’t want to undermine the impact of layoffs because they will undoubtedly cause financial insecurity for many. For those suffering right now, I only hope they can see a glimmer of an unexpected opportunity, and that what I’m sharing about finding these small pieces of hope that can eventually help guide them out of the fear and anxiety, is valuable. The glimmer may come in being able to stop, take a breath, and have the time to position themselves toward the right opportunity. There is the chance they might be able to try something they never thought they could, to create something new for themselves.
The little things
I don’t know you, but I know you're fortunate. How? Because no life is completely devoid of good. There is always something, anything, to be grateful for—even if it’s as simple as the warmth of the sun in the middle of winter or an unexpected supportive text from a friend.
Waking up to a new day, walking to the kitchen to make a coffee, starting your work. These parts of our daily routine might feel mundane, but they’re also a privilege.
Coping starts with finding joy and gratefulness in unexpected places. At the risk of sounding like a greeting card, you can find happiness in small things.
Move on with mindset
You can’t change your heart if you don’t first change your mind. Positivity is a practice, and learning how to use it, especially in the face of adversity, can take a lifetime.
We’re wired to identify the negative aspects of a situation, an instinct that evolved to help us survive. Recognizing adversity is perfectly fine, as long as positivity rules your heart. You can acknowledge the bad while focusing on the good. You need both to truly move on.
You choose what you carry into your workplace, home, and relationships. So where will you put your energy? Pulling the heavy weight of negativity? Or the light load of positivity?
Never forget the biggest blessings are often found in the smallest mercies.