How to Stay Positive in a Negative World

Remaining positive when negative tension surrounds you is a skill worth mastering and sharing with others.

If you need a few ideas on how to create a positive outlook or cheer others up, here are some you’ll’ find helpful. 


Practice the 4-7-8 technique from Dr. Andrew Wile.

Try this breathing pattern: empty the lungs of air. Breathe in quietly through the nose for 4 seconds. Hold the breath for a count of 7 seconds. Exhale forcefully through the mouth, pursing the lips and making a “whoosh” sound for 8 seconds. Repeat the cycle up to 4 times.

Focus on positive things in your life.

“Living in gratitude” is known to support our physical, psychological, and social health.

It can produce stronger immune systems, better sleep, feeling more joy, and help you be less lonely.

Take a few minutes each day to write down what you are thankful for: a job, family, pet, warm house, nice clothes, friends, etc. Happy chemicals (dopamine and serotonin) are released when thinking of joyous moments. No matter what situation arises, focus on something good.

Create a go-to happy book.

When things are tough, have a Pinterest page, a journal of happy thoughts, a picture album of favorite times, or other ideas that are easy to access. Then when times are tough, go right to that item.

Create a blissful playlist.

Having a playlist ready to go will help elevate your mood at the press of a button. Use music, Ted Talks, comedy bits, bloopers, or animal videos as an easy mood lifter.

Write notes to yourself.

Put up notes with positive quotes to remind you to focus on the positive things. Remind yourself to forgive those who bring you down. This is a healthy release of the negative in order to allow the positive in.

Go outside and look around.

Enjoy soaking up the sun’s rays. Breathe in the fresh air, no matter what season it is. Go for a walk in a new place or an old favorite. Taking time out of the office and home will open up your mind to new perspectives.


Studies have found that laughter lowers stress, anxiety, and depression.

It also improves coping skills, mood, and self-esteem. Watch a favorite comedian or call up a friend who makes you laugh.

Spend time with positive people.

It rubs off on us. Both negativity and positivity are contagious. Schedule time with those positive people so that you can encourage each other to stay positive.

Identify areas of negativity.

If you’re not sure when you are most negative, ask a coworker, friend, or relative.

Then attack your negativity with something positive.

If you are in a bad mood when you drive, try to change your self-talk while driving. Or, if you are negative at work, work on focusing on the positive items at work.

Give yourself time.

Changing your mental state isn’t as easy as it sounds. It takes dedication and work. It’s a focus that might not be natural to you. Be gentle with yourself. Take time to change by starting with one thing at a time.

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