Keeping a positive attitude is more than an empty piece of advice – it’s also a learned skill. Whether it’s a pandemic, a health condition, or some other struggle, life can throw a tremendous amount of anxiety and stress at you. It’s been a challenging year for everyone. We often hear that we just need to think positive. That’s often something that doesn’t come naturally.

Below are 9 strategies for keeping a positive attitude, no matter what life throws at us.

Your Reality is In Your Thoughts – Life isn’t inherently bad. Our reality is shaped by what we think of it. You get to choose whether what happens to you is a positive or a negative. You get to decide whether you are learning a life lesson, or you are a victim. This is exceptionally good news, as what happens around us often presents opportunity. 

Focus on the Positive Things – When our circumstances appear overwhelming, and you are feeling down, it may help to focus on something positive, however small. A gratitude journal can help us to think about what is good. 

Connect with Positive People – If the people around you love to complain or gossip, it’s easy to fall into the same traps, too. When you listen to people vocalize their negative thoughts, it becomes easier to think that way ourselves. Conversely, if you hang around people who maintain a positive mindset, that too can become contagious. If you want to be successful, hang out with successful people.

Keep a View of the Long-Term – It helps to understand your end purpose, or your “why.” It helps to keep in mind your long-term goals. Obstacles, or perceived obstacles, may show up on a regular basis. But if you think too much about the short-term conflicts, you may lose track of the long-term goal. For instance, a piece of cake may not be worth derailing your long-term weight loss. A petty argument with a coworker may not be worth your long-term career objectives. 

Use Humor – Laughter relieves stress. It can make challenging situations more bearable. People who can use humor to improve the situation are generally happier, and better at keeping a positive attitude. 

Strengthen Your Morning Routine – Momentum can be a great asset when it comes to having a good day. When you take a walk, meditate, journal, or partake in other positive habits, you set yourself up for success. These types of activities allow you the opportunity to become more introspective and the benefits may follow you throughout the day. 

Exercise – There are many benefits to exercise, but one is that physical exercise can improve your mood. So that long run, bike ride, or walk may do more than just improve your fitness level. It can be a tremendous asset when it comes to keeping a positive attitude.

Read More Books – We are being bombarded with information all day long. With all that’s going on in the world today, the news can feel overwhelmingly negative. Social media acts as a microphone for blasting unqualified opinions. But when we can tune that out, and read books we can hone our focus, and often improve the quality of the information that we are taking in. We can focus more on the topics that we are passionate about, rather than allowing others to influence what we take in. Reading the books of our choosing is a great way to stay positive.

How You Talk to Yourself Matters – We each spend a lot of time in our own company. The way that we talk in those moments frames how we look at the world around us. If we are positive and encouraging, it will reflect on who we become when we’re around others. If we’re negative and critical, well that will impact who we are as well.