21 People Share Their Secret To Staying Positive During The Hardest Times

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Life is hardly ever the fairytale we hope it'll be. Twists and turns and unexpected curveballs sometimes make it hard to keep your head above water. Learning ways to stay positive during the hardest times is something that comes with age and experience; but when you do figure it out — and subsequently realize you're stronger than ever — there's comfort to be found in knowing that life might be tough, but you're tougher, and nothing's going to get you down.

We all struggle in our own ways. Sometimes, it's a nasty breakup or divorce. Other times, it's deeply rooted family issues that have been haunting you your entire life. Maybe it's job loss and financial problems that keep you up at night.  We all have a sad story.

It's during these times that it's more important than ever to stay positive. Keeping a positive mindset isn't just some fluffy new-age philosophy, like some people think. Believe it or not, it is backed by science: research has repeatedly shown that our brains are programmed to respond to negative thoughts in a certain way — by narrowing our view of the world around us — while positive emotions help us see the endless possibilities in life.

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Furthermore, being happy is good for your brain, and wires it to seek out more happiness. Positive thinking stimulates the growth of nerve connections, improves attentiveness, increases mental productivity, and helps you think and analyze more efficiently. Keeping it positive, especially in the dark times, is more important than we probably realize. In fact, it's crucial for your good health.

So, now you know that staying positive is a must; but how do you keep that uplifting viewpoint even when the going gets tough? Here's what some Redditors have to say about the matter.

1Smile More

OK, the problematic nature of telling women to smile aside, this is a research-based piece of advice, not a performative one. Smiling can make you feel better instantly — even science says so. It can improve your mood, relieve stress, boost your immune system, and help lower your blood pressure.

2It Won't Last Forever

Perspective is key: if you're in a bad situation, odds are it's not permanent. Reminding yourself that you just need to hang in there a little longer can help get you through.

3List The Positive In Your Life

Practice gratitude. Science has found that gratitude is good for your health, helping to release positive chemicals in your brain, reduce anxiety and depression, and improve sleep.

4Practice, Practice, Practice

Practice makes perfect. Being positive doesn't come naturally to some of us, if not most of us. Practicing being thankful is no different than practicing anything else: the more you do it, the more manageable it becomes and the better you get at it.

5Hit The Pavement

Don't underestimate the power of going for a walk. Walking can boost your vitamin D levels, make you happier, and give you energy.

6Watch Happy Videos

There's nothing wrong with needing help to stay positive. I like to watch clips from Ellen DeGeneres because she makes me giggle.

7Keep A Journal

This is one more thing science agrees on: journaling is good for your health. It can help get you out of depression and works wonders on your mood. If there are any doubts about the concrete effects of journaling, know this: it can even help relieve asthma and rheumatoid arthritis!

8Talk To A Friend

Talking with a friend might be all you need. Some of us tend to keep feelings, especially negative ones, bottled up. Find someone who's a good listener — getting things off your chest might be the first step to greater positivity.

9Be A Bookworm

Cracking open a good book can make everything so much better. Reading is a therapeutic activity that can lower your stress level, help you process reality, and improve sleep. Spending time buried in a good book will certainly help you find the silver lining in any situation.

10Remember It's Not *All* Bad

No matter how bad things are, there's always a bright side to life. Actively look for the good.

11Laugh It Up

Finding a reason to laugh — even if you have to force it a little — could make all the difference in the world. Laughter is another stress-reliever that improves mood and promotes healing.

12Embrace The Negative

We don't always get things right, but that's OK. Life isn't meant to be perfect.

13Be Mindful Of Your Surroundings

This is so important, especially when it comes to negative people, because this can get a little tricky. We're tempted to listen to their problems and try to help them, and we're convinced that their negativity doesn't affect us; but there's serious weight behind the saying, "You are the company you keep." Their negativity will affect you.

13Panicking Doesn't Help You

Focus on the solution, not the problem. Stressing yourself out and feeling upset will only makes things worse.

14Make Problems Into Challenges

Here's another interesting approach: don't view your problems as problems at all. Look at them as obstacles to tackle.

15Acknowledge What You Can't Control

You know the one thing you can control? Your attitude. Nobody can take that away from you.

16Enjoy Life — It Won't Last Forever

It might sound morbid, but remembering life is short — and thus, you should enjoy as much of it as you can — could help you keep a positive attitude.

17Give Back

Get out of your own head and do something for others. Volunteering has recorded psychological benefits, and giving back has been found to be related to good mental health.

18Cut Yourself Some Slack

While living a generally positive life is the goal here, it's important to note that you don't have to be positive all the time. Trying to be happy 24/7 puts an insane amount of pressure on yourself. Sometimes, it's OK to be sad or angry.

19Take Control Of Your Own Happiness

Don't wait on other people to make you happy —  you need to be able to handle this on your own, because there's no guarantee that certain people will always be around to put a smile on your face. Sad? Yes, but true.

20Keep A Bird's-Eye View

Maybe don't take this perspective too far, because you're not meaningless. But it's an interesting viewpoint: in the grand scheme of things, many of our problems are probably pretty small. Why not be happier?

21Things Can Only Get Better From Here

While some people argue that hitting rock bottom isn't a necessary prerequisite to feeling better, it still implies one important thing: you can only move on up from here.