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How to Stay Positive During Negative Times: Seven Tips for Increasing Endorphins

Ms. Carroll is a researcher and freelance writer who writes on a myriad of topics with which she has curiosity, experience, or knowledge.

The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it.

— Thoreau

Ghandi said,

"Live like there is no tomorrow. Learn like you’ll live forever."

A friend once told me that he felt like I had mastered positivity and learning like I'd live forever, but believe me, my life hasn’t always been filled with positivity or mastery over negativity. In fact, it was my life reaching rock bottom that made me realize there had to be a better way. There have been many times when I wasn’t sure I could muddle through another day, and there have been storms against which I allowed my boat to sink.

You may decide that something has to change. Not once, but twice. And then three times. There may be a fourth time. In other words, committing to overcoming something is a lot harder than realizing you need to overcome it.

Here are a few tips about how to live like there's no tommorrow and learn like you will live forever.

Tip #1: Happiness Is Not a Destination, It's the Path

Staying positive is work. It means realizing that positivity is not automatic pilot; it's a mind set. Happiness is a choice. You can and do control how you feel. You turn the dial toward positive or negative energy. You set the tone for your own reality and you convey this tone to others. The main point here is that positivity doesn't come to you from an external source; it starts with YOU. The movie "Lorenzo’s Oil" is one of the saddest true story movies I’ve ever seen, but of that movie I derived a quote to live by:

"Life is a struggle. Victory and defeat are in the hands of God, so let’s celebrate the struggle."

Realize that life is truly a journey and not a destination. No two days are the same. Find joy in the day-in and day-out hum drum of life. You may not reach your goal to be positive every day, but trying is a place to start. You may fail or an obstacle might dash your plans but you should not let that dash all hopes. That means negativity wins.

The joy of life comes from finding the positive despite the negative. Remember, falling down doesn't make you a failure; staying down does. Learn to accept defeat and move forward. This fosters a chin-up, can-do positive attitude.


Tip #2: Avoid Negativity As Though it were the Black Plague

Negativity will always be there even after you've committed your life to avoiding it. There are negative circumstances. Negative people. Negative ideas and thoughts. Negative outcomes. In fact, since you've committed to yourself to being positive, you can expect that negative people will intentionally hurl negative things your direction.

As you encounter the negative forces of the world, keep this one thought in mind. You cannot change the world; all you can change is your response to it. The military creed "improvise, adapt and overcome" are words to live by. Things rarely go according to plan in the military.

Just because something didn’t go as you planned it would, it doesn't have to be something negative. It just becomes something that you can learn from. The longer you hold on to it, the more likely you didn't learn from it. Most events or circumstances have purpose when we search for it. It is up to you to find the positive meaning in it that might have been tucked away in a corner. Once you find it, exalt it. Allowing the negative part of anything to outshine any potential positive is just license for negativity to plague you in all aspects of life. If you can't find something positive, put it in the rearview mirror.

Tip #3: Isolate What's Bringing You Down

Analyze what’s weighing you down. Do you find it hard to hear a positive voice above the noise of emotional pain or loss? Do you hate your job? Do you hate yourself? Are your friends or family causing strife? Is a partner mistreating you? You cannot make a conscious decision to minimize negativity unless you isolate its causes. Put the negative event or person on a sliding scale and decide whether its worth the effort to try and change it, or its a lost cause. Walk away from lost causes. Proceed with a guarded heart when trying to change a negative to positive. Some people are so charged with negative energy that they can suck you into their black hole and then you wind up lingering there wondering how you crossed over to the dark side.

Negativity has an uncanny and unsettling ability to form a rut. We have all suffered through relationships that weighted us down and not even realized the weight was unbearable because we were working so hard to try and make things work. Some things just aren’t meant to work. Say the serenity prayer every day. There is wisdom in knowing the difference.

You can’t move in a positive direction unless you break free from those things that keep you in a negative rut or holding pattern.

Tip #4: You Cannot Survive Alone

Don't allow yourself to believe that you must ensure life alone even if you live alone. Positive thinking works and positive forces exist outside the realm of humanity. Trying to survive in a vacuum reduces all oxygen. We need other people. All path’s cross for a reason. You are the same as everyone else struggling to survive negative or sad times.

Living in isolation in and of itself usually creates a negatively charged environment. All the people you encounter in your life may not become bosom buddies, but they occupy space in your life. If you make it a point to reach out, your efforts may actually be reciprocated. If they're not, then you still did the right thing.

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Here’s the hitch! You must GIVE of yourself in order to RECEIVE. Once you’ve been burned, what do you do? You start pulling back and become reluctant to let go again. BAD MISTAKE. If you stop giving, perhaps you were never really giving to begin with. True giving expects no returns. And true giving gets the biggest return on your investment in life. Help out at the local food shelter. Volunteer at the nursing home. Whatever your talent is, be willing to share it with others.

Tip #5: You Are Stronger Than You Know

Listen to your heart and soul. They work in tandem with the mind. As my son was growing up I used to tell him, "We evolve to the extent of our own imaginations." History has proven it. The Egyptians imagined the pyramids and then they built them. Americans and Russians imagined landing on the moon. And then did it. Sadly, someone imagined building an atomic bomb, and did it. If you think positive then you will live positive. And unfortunately, if you think negative, you're life will be negative.

There’s an old saying "when you get to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on." You can throw that saying out with the bath water. Instead, when you get to the end of your rope, turn life on it’s head. Feeling depressed or overwhelmed IS that and nothing more — feeling depressed or overwhelmed. What if, instead, you convince yourself that you can handle the obstacle with grace and clarity. In thinking you can do it, you do do it. In wanting to be something better, you become it.

When you can't have what you want, it's time to start wanting what you have.

— Kathleen Sutton

Tip #6: Find the Music in Your Life, then Dance

If you liked to do something once, you'll probably like it when you do it the second time, and the third time, and so on. It could be bird watching, cooking, or roller skating, but whatever it is — tap into it! A positive person surrounds themselves with things they enjoy. And while you're at it, don't ignore the power of music. You can literally turn off the negative noises in your head by simply turning on the music.

Music is everywhere and there is something tailored to everyone. There are an incredible number of singer/songwriters who dwell on the sunny side of life. Find them and sing along. Life is a song so start singing. Then start dancing. You will not be able to avoid the wellspring of positivity that flows from it.

As Lee Ann Womack sings,

"I hope you never fear those mountains in the distance
Never settle for the path of least resistance
Livin' might mean takin' chances, but they're worth takin'
Lovin' might be a mistake, but it's worth makin'
Don't let some Hellbent heart leave you bitter
When you come close to sellin' out, reconsider
Give the heavens above more than just a passing glance
And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance

I hope you dance..."

"A bird does not sing because it has an answer; it sings because it has a song. ~ Chinese Proverb

"A bird does not sing because it has an answer; it sings because it has a song. ~ Chinese Proverb

Tip #7: Strive to Find Humor in the Face of Adversity

Finding humor in the face of adversity is like finding a stash of chocolate you didn't know you had. Humor heals so make it a part of your game plan when it is appropriate. When tastefully and gainfully used, humor can cut a heart ache by half.

Time travel ahead to that point where the situation you are in will look humorous or purposeful. Then time travel back to where you are again. This doesn't mean you must skip the step of grief or ignore the pain of the moment or circumstance. It simple means that you choose not to dwell there.

Pain is something we must all pass through. A dwelling place is somewhere you choose to live. Don't let pain or negativity become your dwelling place.


Kim Kennedy from uk on October 12, 2012:

Positive thoughts are so important, thanks for the reminder, it always helps to have tips. The one about humour has great truth.

enlight your soul from Bangladesh on May 10, 2011:

Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us.

Tim Mitchell from Escondido, CA on April 08, 2011:

Thank you for the inspiring words with wisdom

fucsia on February 17, 2011:

Great Hub! I am agree with you: we can decide how face life also with its nasties.

I realized this only recently but from that moment my view of life has changed. Thanks for sharing your throught!

Cyber Lawyer on January 27, 2011:

Good for you that you got over the rough spots, and now have experiences to share with others. I found much wisdom in this hub, particularly that it is the commitment to being positive that is the key.

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