There's an old saying that goes, "the only two things certain in life are death and taxes." Well, I'd like to unofficially add another entry into that list: adversity. After all, it's everywhere. Everybody has difficulties to overcome and problems to solve at one point or another in their life.
Even if you were to try extremely hard to avoid problems and make things simple, life has a way of thrusting adversity on you. You never know when an unexpected event will happen. And when those bad times occur, it can be hard to remain optimistic.
One thing that can help is to look at adversity itself.
We all have obstacles to face and problems to overcome. Everyone wants to strive for a better life, but it's often more difficult than we expect. All of us have had bad things happen seemingly out of nowhere.
That's the nature of adversity. It's an inevitable part of life that we must come to accept. After all, it's not just you "“ it happens to everyone. Even those people who have had a lot of success have their bad days.
When you learn to accept adversity as a natural part of life, you begin to work better with it. You begin to think of it as a process you have to go through. You might even start to think of it as a minor nuisance "“ like taxes.
But sometimes life can really throw you a curve ball and give you something you never expected. Maybe a natural disaster struck your city and your home was destroyed. Or maybe you got some terrible medical news.
For those times, it can be hard to remain optimistic.
But here are four things I do when I need to refresh my optimistic outlook:
1. Give Yourself time to cool off
A normal first reaction to bad news is to become angry. I've been there before. And it's okay to express that anger. It's much better to do that then let it fester inside and come out in nastier, more destructive ways.
But eventually you have to get over the anger and let things go. Whatever happened can't be changed so you might as well learn to accept it. If you can't let yourself cool down, you're only going to just bring yourself down. And that can lead to resentment.
2. Cheer Yourself Up
It's important to do something fun to cheer yourself up and brighten your day. Whatever it takes to make sure you don't let yourself get taken over permanently by any negative emotions.
It can be something simple such as going to a funny movie or hanging out with friends. Just make sure it is engaging enough to get your mind off what's going on.
This doesn't mean ignoring the problem and in the hope it will go away. You should always work on your problems. It's more about cheering yourself up so pessimism doesn't completely sink in.
3. Focus on a brighter future
Be hopeful that good things will eventually start happening again. Your optimism will help shine a light to a better future. Without it, things will become much harder.
4. Think of adversity as a cycle
One thing I've learned about adversity is that it is cyclical. Things can be going great for you for a long time, but eventually a bad situation will happen. New problems have a way of showing up unexpectedly.
On the bright side though is that good times are always just around the corner. If everything is cyclical then those bad times you're going through now will eventually be followed by good times. It's just a matter of working your way through the adversity now in order to get to those good times later.
When adversity comes, it's fine to feel bad for a while as long as you don't lose your optimism. But once you turn that corner and let pessimism take you down that road into negative thinking, you'll find getting out of adversity much harder than it really should be. Remain optimistic that things will be better and soon you will find that they will be.