During a recent speaking engagement, I asked the audience to offer some adjectives that described the world around them. I must admit, I was a bit taken back by the words that followed: Hectic, stressful, challenging, difficult and sad. I sat there thinking: what happened to the positivity? Where is the good? Where is the happiness?
The fact is life is full of tough times, challenges and moments where you just want to run away and bury your head in the sand. I read a book not too long ago by Dr. Robert Schuller, that said, “When tough times come, the tough get going.” We all have these times in our lives but they shouldn’t consume us and dictate how we live. We should be flowing with more positivity, abundance, energy and joy.
No matter where you are in life or what’s going on at the present moment, here are 10 tips to shift back your energy and bring out the optimism to get back in the game.
1. Flow and go by thinking of it in someone else’s shoes
When you feel like you’re just stuck, aren’t coming up with anything new or you haven’t thought of a way to solve a problem, think of it from somebody else’s point of view. You may not be able to figure out how to fit your projects into the budget, but how about the genius accountant in the next office?
This exercise is not the same as casting a spell, and you won’t suddenly become an expert at everything, but when you think about how someone you respect might tackle the problem, it can make you rethink your whole approach and you may discover ideas that you never thought would occur to you.
2. Change up!
Repetitive behaviors leave us stuck in a rut. The word “Rut” comes from routine. It may feel comfortable to have a predictable pattern, but if you find your life starting to resemble the movie Groundhog Day, where every day is so similar that you feel like you are reading a script instead of living, it’s time to move outside of your comfort zone.
Instead of the old favorites, try new food at a restaurant you’ve never been to, or go out dancing instead of watching TV. You will feel reinvigorated and recharged.
3. Pizazz 101
Sometimes all it takes to get things moving in your life is a new look. This may sound shallow and superficial, but it has been proven that when we take a little extra effort and pride in our appearance, we gain confidence and that can make all the difference in how we approach everything in our life. It can give you a little extra courage to push further than you originally thought you could. Sometimes it’s something small like adding a touch of color or a broche.
4. Get Feedback from Friends
A true friend will tell it like it is, but also be there to comfort you no matter what. Whether you are doing better than you think, or you need a little constructive criticism to get back on track, hearing it from your friend or other trusted person can help you gain a little perspective and make a problem feel a little more manageable or bring you a little more back down to earth.
5. Focus on Maximizing the Good
No matter how bad you think things are at the moment, there has to be at least one positive aspect to it. Focus on maximizing that and opening the door for any other good things that may be right there waiting for you.
If you have a hobby that brings you peace, delve more into pursuing it. If you have a talent for comforting others, emphasize that and it may lead to a whole new career or venture.
6. Sometimes you have to say goodbye
The flipside of maximizing the good is to ditch the negative aspects in your life. If you have a bad habit, do whatever it takes to lose it. If you have people bringing you down, be honest with yourself and make a break from them. Almost anything negative in your life is not necessary and can be replaced with a better alternative. It’s called trading up.
7. Run towards your goals (literally)
You feel better mentally when you are more active physically. You will find that your problems will become more manageable and you will have much more of a sense of peace when you become more physically fit. It doesn’t take much; just a little each day can do the trick.
8. Learn to love the mirror
When you learn to accept yourself as you are, you can proceed in any avenue of your life on a much more secure footing. This may start with loving your physical appearance. Low self-esteem and body issues cause many people to feel bad about themselves and sometimes even hate themselves to the point that they give up on their life.
No matter how you look, remember that you are beautiful. Once you learn that and truly believe it, you will feel better and be able to take on the world.
9. Networking for fun and profit
A great way to move forward with your life is to start networking. It’s a great way to advance your career, as well as to achieve any other goals. You may also make new friends who share common interests. When you encounter new people, don’t be afraid to put your agenda out there. If you’re looking for work, mention it. If you’re looking for friends to hang out with, mention that, too. You’d be surprised how many people you will find that you have something in common with.
10. Eat well, sleep well, live well
There is a connection between the mind, body and soul. When you start to improve one, the other two follow suit. The best first step is to eat healthy. It may seem difficult and unappealing to ditch the ice cream for veggies, but after a little while you will start to feel great and never want to go back. Remember, garbage in equals garbage out. So, pay attention to what you take in, get plenty of exercise, and a good night’s sleep.
Everything in life starts with you. If things are not going how you’d like them to, or if you just feel stuck, bewildered, upset and frustrated, start with the man or woman looking back at you in the mirror. Once you get to a place of love, acceptance and happiness with your inner-self, everything else will start to fall into place.
Suzan Johnson Cook (“Ambassador SuJay”) was an advisor to President Bill Clinton, President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hilary Clinton. She served as Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom from 2011-2013. She is a faith feminist, international influencer, entrepreneur and diplomat who is passionate about human rights and equality, especially for women.
Featured photo by Marina del Castell