• Rebecca Robinson


Do you see yourself as a positive person? Is the glass half-full or half-empty for you? Or do you, like I try to do, say, 'No matter, I have a jug and I can top up my glass whenever I need to!' How do you see life? Do you wear rose-tinted spectacles, or the glasses of negativity?

But before we go on, life is not about glasses of water, magical spectacles or whatever cliched expressions we can use to make ourselves feel bad with - 'Everything is sunshine and flowers!'.

Life is real and it is raw and there are times when we can be completely blind-sided by situations that are thoroughly not-positive.

So, how to 'think happy' (yet still realistically), and how to see the sunny side when all around us seems dark clouds and storms?

Look on the bright side

OK, so you are having a tough time. Things aren't going well and you're stressed and sad and can't see the way ahead. That's OK. Sit with your feelings for a while and accept them. No need to push them down or berate yourself for not feeling cheerful or positive.

What you need to do is grab yourself a pair of glasses! Not the cliched rose-tinted spectacles, but a pair of glasses to simply sharpen your focus and help you find a different way of looking at your situation.

That hackneyed expression, 'Every cloud has a silver lining', is very true but the wisdom of it has been drowned in over-use and cliche. But what it really means is this: most situations, however bleak they seem, will offer us something positive, some sort of lesson or chance to grow, so try to look for any positives, opportunities and the good in this situation.

Even if you can only find a single grain of anything that resembles something positive, that's great. And don't worry if you can't find anything positive. Your situation may feel too raw as you're living through it right now. In time though, I have usually found positives that have come out of my bleakest experiences, and I hope you will too. But if this is too hard for you to do right now, don't worry and simply move on to my next suggestion...

Talk yourself up

You are amazing and you need to give yourself credit for that.

The language we use is important, so try to become aware of any spirals of negative language that you use. 'This is awful, there's no way out, things are going from bad to worse', and on and on and on... Negative thoughts are like brambles - they latch on to you - and if you don't check them, you could end up with a tonne more negative thoughts stuck to you, and that's not helpful. That just lowers your mood, clarity and productivity, so stop those spirals before you get lost in a maze of negativity.

Now, go get yourself a mantra or a quote that really resonates with you. For tough spots, I like 'This too shall pass'. No situation or feeling lasts forever, so try to repeatedly remind yourself that all moments pass and all situations are temporary, even if it doesn't seem that way right now. If you approach life this way, negative feelings won't need to cast shadows over ALL aspects of your day and your life.

Next, it's time to compartmentalise your life. Think, OK, so this situation might not be perfect, but this other thing in my life is great! - and realise, deep down, that you are only responsible for YOUR thoughts and YOUR actions, so anything outside of this - like what other people think or do - is NOT your concern. So you can reduce your problems right there by eliminating the futile need to control situations and people that are actually completely and utterly outside of your control.

So, change YOUR thoughts and YOUR actions, and do what you can within yourself, and then just flow with the rest of life and tell yourself, 'This too shall pass' and 'I am awesome and strong, and I've got this!'.

Hold on to hope

So, now that you have looked for the positives and the opportunities in your less-than-perfect situation, motivated yourself with empowering mantras, sought balance by understanding the temporary nature of ALL situations, and that YOU are only responsible for YOUR thoughts and YOUR actions, the only thing left to do is this: simply and actively put your hope in the most positive possible outcome, have faith, and hold to that knowledge with all your inner strength and girl-power! :-)