The last twelve+ months have been hectic and chaotic, with change around every corner.

Life tends to be a series of ups and downs, good days and bad– but that’s expected. The happiness makes the sorrow bearable; the good days make the bad ones tolerable. The trick is knowing that even if things are tough right now, it means there’s an opportunity to learn and grow from the experience.

How do you stay positive when life throws you a curveball? You can start by following these five simple tips:

Tip # 1

Practice daily gratitude. No matter how bad things might seem, there is always something good that you can focus on. Maybe it’s the sun shining outside, or a friend who called to check in on you. Whatever it is, take a moment to appreciate it. Record it, if that helps; post it on a vision board, or journal about it. My personal favourite is to write my daily gratitude—whatever it is—on a slip of paper, and then stashing it in a jar, along with all the others from the month/year/challenge. Once you’ve come out the other side of the challenge, take out all those memories and re-visit them. It’s amazing how a shift in focus can change our perspective.

Tip # 2

Focus on your personal growth. What can you learn from this situation? How can you apply this lesson going forward? When you shift your focus from the negative to the positive, you’ll start to see all the ways that this experience can help you grow. Focusing on the negative aspects of a situation tends to be passive, sitting with your emotions and staying stuck in place, while examining the positive side is more active, seeking out information and solutions. Action equals progress!

Tip # 3

Reach out to others who are going through similar challenges and share what you’ve learned. Not only will this remind you that you’re not alone, but it’ll also boost your mood and overall outlook. We all face adversity at some point in our lives, and we can all benefit from a little support; sharing the load with others lessens the stress for everyone.

Tip # 4

Narrow your focus. Often, in trying to find a resolution for a problem, we look at the “big picture”, which can be overwhelming. Portion out the solution into “action items”—individual tasks or goals that can be tackled on their own, rather than trying to address everything all at once. Things that we can examine in smaller pieces are easier to solve, because they’re not overwhelming anymore.

Tip # 5

Take a step back. Staring at the problem to the point of exhaustion isn’t productive or healthy. In fact, it hampers our ability to make reasonable decisions, which only serves to give us even more to solve. Make it a regular practice to give your brain and eyes a rest: go for a walk, take a nap, work out, anything that removes your focus from the problem for a while and replaces it with something enjoyable. The endorphins will boost your mood, which in turn alters how you approach problem-solving.

It seems simple – and sometimes the best things in life are simple – but they can make a huge difference. So, the next time you’re feeling down, remember these tips and know that things will get better. Life is a rollercoaster ride, but that’s what makes it worth living! How you navigate the lows makes the highs that much better.

What are your thoughts on this topic? Leave a comment below to start the conversation!