Ask Abby: working to stay positive when it feels like life is hail storming on your head

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ABIGAIL PLUFF | OPINION COLUMNIST | apluff@butler.edu 

Full disclosure: I am not a licensed therapist. Honestly, I am not licensed in anything whatsoever. I’m just a gal with lots of opinions who enjoys giving unsolicited advice to almost anyone around me. So, if this is adverse advice, you can’t sue me or my place of work. Sorry!

“Being positive is really important to me, but it seems almost impossible lately. How can I stay positive even though I’m overbooked and super stressed?” -Loyal Reader

When I was a bratty preteen, I used to get incredibly frustrated with my mother and her “unrelenting positivity.” It drove me absolutely insane.

Now, a solid few years later, I wake up in the morning and see something terrifying in the mirror — someone that finds the good in Every. Single. Thing.

It’s gotten so bad that I actually have “radiate positivity,” my life motto, tattooed on me. Now I have to be positive. I’m totally stuck.

Radiating unrelenting positivity is totally a learned behavior that I’ve picked up, but it’s not always the easiest thing to do — sometimes it takes time and effort. Hence, the word “unrelenting” instead of something fun and positive like “unwavering.”

Sometimes, it’s impossible to derive something good from a situation. Sometimes things are just The Worst, and that’s okay. Looking for the positive in everything can start to feel like a chore, and is that even really positivity in the first place?

When the semester gets stressful and things start to feel like too much, some days it may be most helpful to first simply acknowledge the things that are The Worst.

And here’s where the positivity comes into play: if you can train yourself to remember that things are eventually going to be better, eventually they are going to be downright okay! Someday, you are going to be so proud of yourself for how well you handled these seasons of stress and stretches of time where life just felt overwhelming.

Sometimes taking a break and doing something that brings you joy can be the system reset you need. Throw on your earbuds, play some bops and go for a mini walk. I promise it’ll put everything back into perspective.

Finding the sunshine in your day, even when it feels like the world is full-scale hail-storming on top of your head, is an accomplishment and should be treated as such. Be proud of where you are and how you’re handling life’s curveballs.

One of the easiest ways to set yourself up for positivity is to get serious about being organized. Make sure you know what you have to do, so surprises don’t pop up and ruin your whole day. When you know what’s expected of you, you can approach life in a healthy and positive way.

Make sure that you’re not just checking boxes on the to-do list of life, though. Make time to actually ~live~ too. Every time you complete a big task, do something you like to reward yourself and acknowledge how far your hard work is taking you.

Remember, if it still feels impossible to find positivity, that’s okay. Not every chapter in your life will be easy, and forcing positivity may feel like just another burden you have to carry.

It’s important to never give up, though. There is always, always hope that better days are directly around the corner. Days are coming when it will be much easier to be positive; days are coming that will make you feel like your chest just might explode from joy.

It’s okay to not be okay. Take a deep breath, and know that someone — me! — will forever be proud of you. And if you need a kind word, I’ll be in the corner radiating my unrelenting positivity.

You are valuable, valid and loved,

Abby

If you have a question that you’d like to see discussed in Ask Abby, feel free to contact me via email, carrier pigeon or telepathy. 

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