Riya Mital

Disclaimer: Although this article can be for everyone, remember that everyone is different and these tips may not work for those diagnosed with mental disorders and that may require professional help.

Everyone always says there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. Some days it just seems hard to believe. How can there possibly be a way to see this in a positive light? Is it even possible? Well, although it may be easy to throw in the towel and abandon all hope, I promise that keeping an optimistic attitude will be much more fruitful. Although it’s not easy, here’s what I try to remind myself. Hopefully they help you too!

1. Everything is a lesson
This is probably the most important thing I tell myself. No matter what happens,
everything in life is a lesson to help you grow as a person. Say something doesn’t work out the way you wanted - you can adapt and learn how to get through it. Adapting is the key. If you can adapt, show resilience, and find a lesson from it, the future will always be better. You will always have things to look forward to. It will also caution you away from things, teach you what you like, and give you reassurance that you can handle things thrown your way. I promise you, the future will always be better if you can find a way to learn from experiences. Bad experiences don’t just have to be that - they can be so much more. They can teach us, prepare us, and guide us. We just have to look a little deeper.

2. Find something simple
Sometimes when things go wrong, we tend to think too much. Although it's inevitable (and I’m not just going to say don’t think too much) I will say find something simple that brings you joy. If you can find even a small hint of joy on a dark day, you can get through anything. This small thing could be literally anything from a hobby to even just a little reminder of the world’s beauty. For me, I love sunsets, so even just looking at one will make a terrible day slightly better. Just finding something simple that will brighten your day a little will go a long way.

3. Trick your brain
When things are going wrong, our brain can go crazy. Again, it likes to think too much. This is kind of a small trick and it may not work for everyone, but just try it out. Try tricking your brain and heart into feeling okay. You can do this by literally just saying positive affirmations to yourself in order to make yourself feel calmer and lighter. Examples include: I am perfectly okay, Everything will work out in my favor, I will make it through this, etc. Just anything that helps you feel at ease is great, and could be a great way to calm yourself down in times of extreme stress.

4. Find forms of connection
This is more about finding ways to connect to yourself and the world around you. I know personally, when things get hard, I like to be extra introspective and thoughtful. This helps me understand what is really going on with myself and what really matters. Catastrophizing is when you start going down a rabbit hole of all the negative things that could happen. Sound familiar? Because I know most people are guilty of it. But by connecting to yourself and the world, it can help you slow down, figure things out, and put it into perspective. This can also be done through simple methods like walking, meditation, or journaling.

5. Let yourself feel
Finally, we all feel negative emotions. But instead of pushing them down, you have to let yourself feel them in order to bounce back. Pushing down your negative feelings will only make them come back in full force. I know I said to trick your brain, but this should be used in times of extreme stress or calamity. Once you know you are in a safe place to allow yourself to feel, let your emotions out.

All in all, let yourself feel the emotions, but then find ways to get back up and look at the positive side of things with the previous four tips. These are just a few ways that I make myself a more optimistic person, but there are tons more. The key takeaway is that although it can be hard to find the light at the end of a dark tunnel, it is always there. A little soul searching and introspection can go a long way. For anyone going through a hard time, or even if you just had a tough day: this is merely a hurdle in your journey. Although it looks tough to clear right now, if you keep running, you will make it to the other side, one way or another.

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