Coping Strategy #1 – Stop and Take a Deep Breath
If you are feeling overwhelmed with negative feelings and do not know where to turn, just do – nothing. Sometimes the best way of staying positive is to simply step back, take a deep breath and just do nothing.
Stopping in your tracks robs negativity of its power, so you can regroup and focus on the things that really matter. Taking a deep breath will also make you feel better, so you can get control of your emotions and approach the problem on an intellectual level.
Coping Strategy #2 – Watch Out for Catastrophic Thinking
When things are looking bad, it is easy to assume they have never been worse. Fortunately for humanity and the world at large, that is rarely the case. Compared to earlier eras, rates of violence are sharply lower, life expectancy has risen to record highs and personal wealth has been growing steadily. Suffice it to say, there are lots of things, large and small, to be grateful for.
The next time you are tempted by catastrophic thinking, stop and look back at how far the world has come. The world may still be far from perfect, but there is no doubt that advances have been made.
Coping Strategy #3 – Make a List of Positive and Goof Things in Your Life
From the nightly news and the daily newspaper to the screaming headlines online, it can seem like the world is falling apart. News is by its very definition negative, and that can create a skewed view of the world and its problems.
The next time you are bombarded by negative thoughts and feelings, grab your notebook and make a list of the things you are thankful for. You can expand that list to good things in the world at large, like advances in medical treatment.
Coping Strategy #4 – Get Moving
When you are feeling down, exercise can make you feel better. The next time you find yourself overwhelmed, just grab your walking shoes and head out the door. The sunshine will do you good, and the brisk walk around the neighborhood will clear your head and allow you to focus.
Regular exercise can also improve your mood by increasing endorphins in your bloodstream. These natural chemicals are released with exertion, and their mood-elevating effect is responsible for the so-called runners’ high. But you do not have to run a marathon to experience their positive impact; you can walk those negative feelings away.
Coping Strategy #5 – Do Something Good for Someone Else
Last but certainly not least, doing something positive for someone in need can banish those negative feelings and leave you with a sense of purpose and satisfaction. No matter how negative your feelings, volunteering in the community or reaching out to a friend in need is sure to make you feel better.
You can formalize your good works through your local church, or just practice random acts of kindness for strangers you meet every day. No matter which approach you take, giving back to those around you lets you focus on the positive, so you can send those negative thoughts packing.
It can be hard to focus on the positive when the negative is all around you. The nightly news is filled with stories of fires, floods and hurricanes, murders, rapes and mayhem. But no matter how negative the world might look, there is always a silver lining hiding right behind the clouds. The five coping strategies listed above can help you focus on the good things in life and give you a fresher and brighter new outlook.