The expectation that you can and should always be positive no matter what is happening around you, should be dropped. The term ‘toxic positivity’ refers to an obsession to always think, be and behave in a positive manner. However, when the world seems to be erupting into a chaotic mess around you, there are tools and strategies that you can use to help reframe your mindset. Here are some of our favorites (tried and tested) to support you navigate your path.
What CAN you change?
Stressors can come from both events within and out of your control. In Lebanon, and the world in general, many of the stressors are out of your control. Meaning, in most cases, there is little that you can do to change the occurrences and outcomes. So when you feel like the world is caving in, write down a list of what is actually within your control, that you can act on or change, and do it. And then seek to minimize the impact and exposure to all that is happening around you that you have no control over.
What is your inner voice telling you?
You know that little voice in your head that sometimes gets out of line, and kicks you when you’re already down? Be aware of that voice, because it can have an impact on your mental health if it isn’t trained to reaffirm your strengths. So let’s stay you make a mistake at work or you wish you reacted differently in a conversation etc. and the voice starts to creep in, pay attention to it. If your thoughts are making you feel worse, and may be baseless, write them down. You can then choose to refute them or visualize other ways you wish you reacted.
Are you testing your thoughts?
It’s the easiest thing to feel down, sad, angry or reactive after a stressful incident. Imagine your boss just gave you some harsh feedback. Or your friend said something out of line about your personality. Whilst you cannot control how others behave, speak or treat you, you can choose how much it impacts you and for how long. Negative events shouldn’t become part of your narrative. When you are in a stressful state, track your thoughts and see where they are leading you. Chances are, a lot of what you are telling yourself is untrue.
What are your strengths?
Life can make you feel a bit powerless at times, where you lose your sense of purpose and can feel weak. And that’s ok. If you find yourself in such a situation, write down a list of all your strengths, and back them up with examples. Recall an incident where you were proud of yourself, and you overcame a challenge. Ask your friends of family what they think your strengths are, what makes you unique. Remind yourself why you started. Positive affirmations can go a long way.
How do you overcome challenges?
Succumbing in the face of every challenge is the simplest route to take. Instead, try adopting a solution-oriented mindset, when one door closes. See it as an opportunity for you to think creatively, and perhaps pivot in another direction that you weren’t aware of.
Would you say that to your friend?
Another way to reframe your mindset is by observing the way you react / speak / behave with yourself, when times get tough. Ask yourself, “would I say / do / be this way with my best friend?” Chances are you most likely won’t. In such cases, ask yourself what you need. Is it a break from your laptop? Alone time to recharge? A nice long walk? A fun outing with friends? Try being kinder to yourself and practice being more patient when met with adversity.
You don’t always have to be positive, that is an impossible state of mind. But you can choose to reframe your mindset and make things a little lighter when the world gets dark. And remember, there are always people around you, ready to support you. Just ask for help when you need it.