Although it probably came as a surprise to no one, the National Bureau of Economic Research announced today that the U.S. has been in a recession since December 2007. But even with bad news about the economy, it is still possible to stay positive.
This is the third and final post in this series, you can read the first two here:
7) Read a book. Books have been my drug of choice since I was young. That might seem like a strange thing to say, but books are the best and primary way that I alter my mood. This strategy works best if the book is uplifting, but even if it’s just engaging, a book is a great way to help you stay positive. Books are kind of like vacations – they give you new experiences, out of the ordinary, away from your routine. I remember one time when I was going through a particularly low time, I read the entire Wheel of Time Series by Robert Jordan. Granted, this is not high literature (or anything remotely close). But there are approximately 10 books in the series, and each of them has about 900 pages. By the end of those 9,000 pages, I had a newfound appreciation for the Fantasy genre, and I had mostly gotten over whatever it was that had gotten me down in the first place.
8) Take a longer view. Sometimes, when things aren’t going well, it feels like they will never change, like what is happening currently in your life will go on forever. But this just isn’t the case. Change happens. And if you can keep that fact in mind during the tough times, it can help you stay positive that things will get better one day, that what is currently happening won’t be the same forever.
9) Take one day at a time. On the other hand, sometimes a situation seems so overwhelming and so exhausting that the best thing to do is to take each day as it comes. Difficulties can become smaller if you just tackle one day at a time, and by focusing on today, you can help to alleviate worry about tomorrow.
10) Call (or see) a friend. When times are tough, sometimes it’s best to talk to someone who loves you and knows what you need to hear to cheer you up. I had dinner with four of my high school friends on Friday night, and the glow off the conversational therapy will last me a solid couple of weeks.
BONUS 11) Exercise! There is plenty of research that shows that exercise not only helps us be healthier, it also helps improve our mood. But even with all the data, only 22% of Americans get the recommended amount of exercise, while a full 25% live a sedentary lifestyle. You may not be used to exercising, it may be hard at first, but go do something to move your body. Start with a short walk around the block or down the street and work your way up to something more vigorous or rigorous.
You’ll stay even more positive if you can find somewhere to exercise that’s aesthetically pleasing. For example, walk near a lake or the ocean, bike down a street that you like in your town, or jog in a nice neighborhood that has beautiful flowers. Pick a spot to exercise where you feel happy to be when you’re not exercising. It will make the experience more pleasant and you more positive.