“Change the way you look at things, and the things you look at change.”
– Wayne Dyer
1. Think of stress as your friend, opportunity: We’ve all heard “Stress is the #1 killer,” right? So we automatically feel like a victim when we are stressed out, believing it is only contributing pure negativity into our lives. However, did you know that it’s not so much the stress itself that kills, but the belief that stress is killing you? Indeed, we are more-so putting our health at risk when we demonize stress, as shown in the latest research on stress. We have a choice here, we can either look at stress as something that is defeating us, or look at it as a challenge that will ultimately make us stronger. Choose to see stress an opportunity, preparing you for a challenge. Be open to all the positive ways you can go about dealing with the stress both in the moment, and afterword. Stress is natural, it need not be demonized. If we accept stress for what it is, a natural response of the body to maintain homeostasis, and view it as enhancing, it can change our lives for the better.
- Find wisdom within failure: Learn from your mistakes. It’s trite, we’ve been hearing it probably all our lives, but it carries a lot of meaning. You are going to fail in your lifetime, many times. It’s what you take from those failures that can make you victorious. Every failure holds lessons learned, and wisdom for the future. You failed, ask yourself, “What can I learn from this? What did I do this time that I should avoid next time? What did I do correctly? What can I try differently next time?” You’ll probably be able to answer most or all of those questions, and they are probably the questions you wish you had answers to when you tried the first time! Failure is still progress.
- Change to an attitude of gratitude: No matter what is going on in your life, no matter how many things are going wrong, there are always things that are going right. Remind yourself often what you are grateful for. There are so many little joys in life we overlook on a daily basis. Keeping our appreciation for these things in mind is a happiness generator. Have you ever just sat down and mused over all the things that make your life worth living, and exactly why and how they do? At the worst point in my life was when I learned to be truly grateful for what I had. Recovering from my struggles, it really put things into perspective. I felt deep gratitude for the big things like my family and my home, or the “simple” things that go under appreciated, like the ability to feel love. I was even grateful for the pain I endured, because without it, the joys of life would not be as joyful. I soon learned that this was extremely fundamental for my growth.
- Find strength in misfortune: Some of the most important life lessons or outlooks I have acquired came out of the worst experiences of my life. Your problems and struggles are a part of your life, whether you like it or not. Once I stopped asking, “Why me?”, stopped complaining, and accepted my circumstances, it allowed me to become solution focused and tap into my inner strengthening resources. Accepting your misfortune is the key to the door that opens up to new outlooks, and novel solutions. Just look at the amazing resilience and high hopes of those who fought or survived serious medical illnesses. You can foster that kind of strength with your inner resources. You might have lost all that you thought was your strength in the past, but as long as you’re alive, you can always derive strength from inside of you.
- Find opportunity in challenges: Every challenge poses an opportunity to learn and flourish. Think: I’ve faced challenges before, and here’s what I did that made them turn out for the better.” Again, it’s important to accept these challenges as part of your life. Reframe these obstacles as opportunities to step up your game and grow. Ask yourself, “Why is it important to solve the challenge at hand, and what is the first step to doing so?” Focus on the solution rather than the problem!
The key takeaway here is that your mindset has a profound impact on the way you experience life. When it comes to negativity, a little reframing can take you far.