We all have bad days. Days where it seems that everything that could go wrong does, and there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight. When this happens, it’s easy to lose your motivation and positive attitude. In this post, I will discuss the top five ways to stay positive through your most stressful days.
- Get perspective. Stressful times will pass. It helps to remember all of the times in your past when you lived through a stressful event; you survived then and you can survive now. In addition, keeping a gratitude journal might be of benefit. Each day, write down three things you are grateful for. There are many good things in your life; you just need to increase your awareness of them, which will automatically decrease your focus on the negative.
- Prioritize. You may have many different people demanding many different things from you. Must all of them be done right now? Probably not. Usually these “emergencies” are a result of someone else’s procrastination. Try to look at all of your tasks objectively to determine the ones that truly need immediate attention, and focus on those. And if someone does continually procrastinate, see my next suggestion for how to be his or her hero.
- Turn crisis into opportunity. Did you know that in the Chinese language the same symbol is used for crisis and opportunity? It’s all a matter of perception. Instead of looking at what is going wrong, look at how to make it better. If there is a crisis, it means something is broken. So instead of getting upset because your day isn’t going smoothly, think creatively about how you can fix the problem. If it’s disorganization, devise an effective system. If it’s a lack of communication, create a clear memo. Figure out how to solve issues better and faster, and you become a hero!
- Deep breathing. Practicing deep breathing during stressful times is an excellent way of activating your parasympathetic nervous system, which will relax you. Most of us breathe very shallowly in our chests, especially when we are stressed. This makes stress worse. Taking some deep breaths, allowing the air to fill the bottom of your lungs and expanding your belly, and then exhaling slowly, will go a long way toward calming you down.
- Care for your physical health. Regular exercise, particularly aerobic exercise, is a great stress reducer. It has also been proven to ward off mild depression and anxiety. Good nutrition is also important; a poor diet can lead to poor stress management because your body isn’t getting the nutrients it needs to run properly. And don’t forget adequate sleep. Relying on caffeine to get you through your day because you aren’t sleeping enough is a recipe for disaster.
Yours in the Joy of Knowledge,