I like to be happy, and anyone who knows me or has listened to the podcast knows I will often deflect other, more painful emotions. As an enneagram 7, I know I’m not alone. Yet, at our core, we, enneagram Sevens, are on to something. It is possible to maintain a positive mindset in a crisis.
And, I would go even further to say, it’s necessary.
Whether you identify as a Seven or not, the truth remains: positivity is powerful, especially during difficult times. I’m not here to deny that the past two years have been hard. However, one of the things that makes them hardest is the tragedies that continue to follow on the heels of the last.
While I’m not here to run down a list of recent events, I remind you of the danger you risk by choosing to remain bogged down in negativity. According to Healthline, negativity can lead to increased stress and the symptoms of stress include:
Cynicism, stress, anger, and hostility are linked to a higher risk of:
Now that you’re convinced positivity can help you navigate tough times, too, let me help you learn how to maintain a positive mindset in a crisis.
There are many traits and characteristics associated with a positive mindset:
Having a positive mindset means making positive thinking a habit, searching for the silver lining, and making the best out of any situation in which you find yourself.
Developing a positive mindset and gaining these benefits is a function of the thoughts you cultivate!
Developing the right thoughts is not about being happy or cheerful, and it’s not about ignoring anything negative or unpleasant in your life. It’s about incorporating both the positive and negative into your perspective and choosing to do your best to be optimistic.
It’s about acknowledging that you will not always be happy and learning to accept bad moods and difficult emotions when they come.
Above all, it helps increase your control over your attitude in the face of whatever comes your way. You cannot control your mood, and you cannot always control the thoughts that pop into your head, but you can choose how you handle them!
Here are 15 ways you can keep a positive mindset despite your circumstances:
Many studies detail the benefit of positive affirmations, so if you’re not affirming yourself yet, it’s time to get to it.
Studies show that people who consistently affirm themselves, perform better academically and professionally, digest bad news with less stress, and ruminate less about issues outside their locus of control.
Have you ever heard of the RAS? To put it simply, the RAS is your reticular activating system, and it’s a complex web of neurons that run through your brain to help you sift through relevant information.
Because we take in thousands of bits of information every second, its primary function is to alert the higher brain centers that we have encountered important information.
The fun thing about your RAS is that it has the power to reinforce your beliefs by identifying relevant information based on what you’ve been thinking about, discussing with friends, and researching.
That being said, you must find small things to contemplate which bring you joy.
Humor is usually overlooked as something to intentionally seek out during times of crisis because it’s seen as insensitive. Still, when you’re learning how to maintain a positive mindset in a crisis, you’ll discover that humor produces many amazing physical side effects that can help us navigate pain.
When you laugh, you exercise your diaphragm and inhale air that helps you stimulate your lungs and relieve tension. That’s not all, though. Laughter also releases endorphins which can provide a welcome distraction from the pain and cause you to feel closer to others in difficult times.
Failure is a part of growth, but to exercise its full benefits, you will have to remove blame from the equation. You are not the reason you failed.
Blaming yourself will distract you from your ability to identify areas that you can develop and strengthen. Instead of blaming yourself, choose to view the situation from multiple perspectives.
When I coach women about social media or email list building, I often advise them to conduct an A/B test, also known as split testing. You can use A/B testing to conduct a procedure that will lead you to test and compare two different versions against one another to identify which was more successful.
When you struggle to think positively, this method could support your ability to look at everything more objectively.
Reframing is all about the additional perspectives you can consider in response to a specific event. When you choose to reframe your challenges as opportunities, you get to challenge your definitions of success.
Common challenges that people encounter, like tough conversations that must be had during times of crisis, actually provide opportunities to help you solve problems more effectively and efficiently.
Are you wondering how to transform your negative self-talk into positive self-talk? You’re going to stop personalizing and magnifying your negative opinions about the events you experienced.
Just because you were late to the meeting doesn’t mean you’re a failure or unreliable. You don’t have to personalize the issue. Instead, accept the facts. Next time, you’ll need to set your alarm earlier and prepare ahead of time.
Magnifying negativity means that you choose to focus on the bad parts instead of acknowledging the good. Consider the tardy example earlier. It’s possible that you made an excellent presentation once you arrived.
When you magnify the issues, you continue to ruminate on your lack of timeliness. It’s time to make a conscious effort to point out things you do well and the positive responses they elicit from others as you give yourself the benefit of the doubt.
I don’t want to make anyone seem as if they don’t have a reason to feel the pain of navigating transitions and the work-life balance that we’ve had to battle recently. However, I am here to point out the obvious if you’re reading this. We are privileged.
Developed countries have the highest literacy rates. And, there are a number of activities you get to enjoy as a result of that literacy.
According to the National Association of Women Business Owners, companies classified as women-owned account for 39% of all privately held firms and contribute 8% of employment and 4.2% of revenues.
Let’s honor the women who have yet to enjoy the same benefits and responsibilities by not forgetting the privilege we have to develop this work and ensure others are met with similar opportunities in the future.
Keeping a gratitude journal can help you sleep better and enjoy interpersonal relationships that are more fulfilling, especially when you’re learning how to maintain a positive mindset in a crisis.
NPR also shared that research found keeping a gratitude journal decreased materialism and bolstered generosity among young people.
Rehashing the past or rehearsing the future, as my friend Jeanne Stevens says, is not healthy. In fact, it’s downright dangerous.
When you forget to show up in the present, you fail to cultivate an abundance mindset, and you, instead focus on scarcity.
To cultivate an abundance mindset, you’ll need to move beyond victimhood and avoid self-sabotaging behaviors. Those behaviors can lead you to overindulge in ideas about what you could have, should have, or would have one and will do if you had the opportunity, and they’re not helpful.
It’s natural to want to pull away from others to manage your stress, but it acts counterproductively. You’ll need to be around people who can help you improve your mood, and it’s essential to rely on others for help.
If you need to talk about what you’re experiencing, speak with a licensed professional or someone who can help ease your frustrations, like a boss or team lead. You’ll find reasons to feel grateful more often when you spend time with others.
Just because we feel something doesn’t necessarily make it true. Some days, when I’m overly tired and facing battle after battle, I feel like everything’s terrible. It’s a valid feeling. But just because I feel like everything is awful doesn’t mean it is.
Your response has the power to inflame or extinguish the crisis. Moving forward cautiously is essential, especially when you recognize you’re exhausted.
Before you send that fiery email reply, that negative social media comment, or that mad emoji-filled text, step back and look at things objectively (with fresh eyes).
You’ll often see that things weren’t quite as bad as we thought
I know this sounds hard, especially when you are unsure how to smile through the pain yourself. Thankfully, the old phrase ” smiling is contagious ” is actually scientific, and it’s easy to act on.
According to Solara Mental Health, smiling can decrease inflammation and even prevent some of the root causes of cancer and heart disease from forming.
Smiling has documented therapeutic effects and has been associated with: reduced stress hormone levels, increased health and mood enhancing hormone levels (like endorphins), and lowered blood pressure. The best part is that it’s impossible to make someone else smile without doing it yourself. Win, win!
Ask yourself, are you negative or avoiding the fear or sadness you’re struggling with at the heart of the matter? Feelings of negativity could be telling you a myriad of things.
It’s a possibility that the crisis you’re navigating is a wake-up call to help you recognize that you need additional help from a licensed professional, clearer boundaries, or time well spent with a life coach to help you improve specific areas.
When you learn to laugh at yourself, you position yourself as a lifelong learner. This helps to relieve the pressure you feel to perform perfectly all the time.
Once you learn to laugh at yourself, you’ll find that you’ll also feel free to listen and receive constructive criticism without the need to defend yourself so adamantly.
Learning to laugh at yourself can create safe places for you and your loved ones to enjoy for years to come. It will facilitate deeper conversations with those who feel they can trust you to communicate more openly and share opportunities for growth with reciprocity.
Grief is not linear, and it’s not always final, either. There are times when relief from the grief can return in waves, and during those times you can choose to ask for help.
Shame is one of the most significant factors. People choose silence instead of accessing the help they need. Grief helps us find the strength to move forward when we acknowledge it.
With these tools in place, you can work towards reframing your day, mood, or mindset away from one that keeps you stuck and into one that keeps you motivated and joyful!
Remember, negative feelings are allowed to be felt. Let them wash over you and experience the emotions, but the trick is not to stay there. It’s easier to stay in that space than to shift out of it. These tips will help you learn how to maintain a positive mindset in a crisis.
Work on the 15 steps above this week and watch your positivity change during the crisis you may face.
Cherry, K. (2017B). Understanding the psychology of positive thinking. Very Well Mind. Retrieved from https://www.verywellmind.com/what-is-positive-thinking-2794772