Staying positive in uncertain times

Life is generally not a fairytale. The twists and turns can sometimes ensure that one cannot keep afloat for a long time. Life throws a lot of challenges at us and in most cases, they come unannounced giving us no time to prepare ourselves for the aftermath. One could experience a range of tough situations at work- a hectic job with no appreciation, struggling to find a new job, trying to recover from a layoff, or struggling to keep up the hope in the times of Coronavirus pandemic. Staying positive and upbeat in uncertain and difficult times is something that we all struggle with. 

This article will focus on how one can stay positive at work, when faced with tough times. First and foremost, please understand that there is nothing wrong with feeling low. All of us have certain plans in our lives and when they get impacted with certain developments, we tend to get upset or lose hope. When one is in a situation like this, he/she has two options- either to let panic feed on their mind or let it grow stronger, or shrink it off and move on.

When stuck in a tough or uncertain situation, it is advisable to think with a logical mind. This might not be possible instantly. However, when the dust settles, it is important to see the situation in perspective and try and find a logical solution for the best interest of the future. 

There is a popular phrase- ‘When it rains, it pours’. This can hold true in times of crisis. I have seen phases in life when a number of crises hit you at breakneck speed. While you are trying to come to terms with one, a new challenge will knock at your door. The best solution in such scenarios is to hold on and not give up. 

If we think of 2020, the world is struggling with the Coronavirus pandemic. It has impacted over 400,000 people and is spreading like wildfire. Even the most developed and powerful nations are grappling to cope with this virus. India has taken very aggressive steps to address this pandemic and the country is under a full lockdown as of now. This pandemic has caused a lot of uncertainty, anxiety and panic amongst business owners, working professionals (irrespective of their designation), students, amongst others. People are trying to cope with slump in economies, the risks of job loss and salary cuts and the uncertain future ahead.

The best solution to deal with uncertain times is to stay positive and believe in ourselves. Here are some mantras that can be handy:

  • Do not overthink: This is of utmost importance. When we are stuck in a tough situation, we tend to overthink and overanalyse. The downside of this is that we end up believing that the problem is much bigger than it actually is. We end up imagining things that may never happen. It is normal to have those moments when you think about what happened or are anxious about the future. However, it is important to distract one’s mind and keep it occupied with other positive things. Overthinking will add to the stress levels and not help in any case. Take the situation as an opportunity and be constructive and positive. 
  • Say no to being a victim: So, things did not go as per plan. You lost your job or maybe your company shut shop. It is a tough phase. There is no clear solution in sight. But, do a favour to yourself and do not adopt the victim approach. Being a victim will only prolong your suffering and you will end up cutting off people who can help you out in these tough times. When you say no to being a victim and stop thinking ‘Why it happened to me?’, ‘What did I do to deserve this?”, you accept the situation and also let go of the resentment and bitterness around the situation. It is important to take control of the situation and think how you can improve the scenario at hand. Identifying possible solutions and subsequently taking action can help reduce anxiety and increase self-confidence.
  • Recount the good times: It always helps to recount the good times in your life, or the times when you faced a difficult situation in the past and came out with flying colors. Contemplating about the crises that you have faced in your life and understanding how you tackled it well will help create a sense of positivity and give you the much-needed confidence to sail through the current situation.
  • Make that phone call and plan that get-together: Pick up the phone and call that old friend you did not speak for years. Relive the old and good times. A group video call with college friends and help uplift your mood. When possible, plan to meet up to spend a good evening with your old friends. Spending time with old friends who care will help you unwind.
  • Invest time in reading/ watching interesting content: In the times of the internet, social media and OTT platforms, one has access to huge amounts of content. Pick a theme/ topic/ industry that you may be interested in and spend time reading about it/watching content on OTT platforms. This will not only be informative, but also divert your thoughts to different areanas.
  • Exercise: It is a proven fact that exercising, be it yoga, Zumba or a good session at the gym, helps to refresh the mood, sharpen the focus and increase positive energy. Even going for a walk can help stimulate your brain and reset your thought process.
  • Meditate: While I understand that meditation is not everyone’s cup of tea, but spending a few minutes meditating (with calming music playing in the background) can go a long way in calming your nerves and helping you get over your fears and anxieties.
  • Invest in a new skill: You have been laid off from your current role and you know new job will take time. The best advice in such a situation is to pick up a course to add on to your skill. You can choose to learn a new language (that you have been postponing for years), or just pick an online course that can help you sharpen your skills/ add a new dimension to your profile. If you have time, put it to best use.
  • Music can be a big healer: Music is a big savior and can help lift your mood instantly. Pick your genre/playlist and just let it play. Dance on your favorite song. Music can be a big healer and help move mountains. 
  • Cut out the negativity: In uncertain times, stay away from gossip mongers. If you have lost your job, it is recommended to not talk with your ex-employees who suddenly show concern, as you will end up narrating what happened and adding to your own anxiety levels. Confide in people who genuinely care for you- your family/ close friends etc. It is important to understand that negative people will only add to your miseries and compound your negativity. 

In the dark times, it is recommended to stay away from anything that can add negativity. If there is a need, unplug. Cut off from all the screens in your life- your smartphone, social media handles, computer, laptop, TV etc. Step away when you need to. I have seen a lot of people getting off WhatsApp groups and social media to avoid the hysteria around Corona virus as it was leading to anxiety and sleepless nights. This is absolutely ok.

  • Take a deep breath and count your blessings: Spend time with yourself. Grab a cup of coffee or just go for a long walk. Count your blessings and successes. Be grateful for all the good people in your life and have hope that things will improve. Focus on what you have and commit to yourself that you will do all it takes to get out of this situation
  • Get enough sleep: During stressful and anxious times, we tend to skip on sleep. We may end up suffering from insomnia as our brain is working overtime. It is advisable to invest time in calming your mind by reading up/watching something that is light-hearted so as to help you sleep better. Try to sleep for atleast 7-8 hours a day. A good sleep can go a long way in clearing your mind.
  • Re-evaluate the meaning of your life: Dark times like these give us a chance to think and deliberate on what we expect from life and plan for the course ahead. Maybe the meanings and goals that you set out to achieve some time back do not make sense in the current scheme of things. Maybe you were on a wild goose chase. Think through and plan the way ahead.

It is important to be positive. Keeping that ‘smile’ on, even in the worst of situations can do good to your health and mind. It is understandable that there might not be any reason to smile as you are trying to overcome a difficult phase in life, but try to stay positive as it can help stimulate your brain, improve attentiveness, increase mental productivity and think more effectively. Sometimes you may face anxiety over the incident that happened, rethinking why and how it happened, recounting the sequence of events and how people reacted. While this is usual, one should try and avoid this as much as possible, as there is nothing you can do about it. 

Remember, when you hit rock bottom, one can only go up. Keep the chin up and try to invest in positive thoughts. This might take time, but it too shall pass. Always remember, tomorrow will be a better day.

The views and opinions published here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the publisher.

Akanksha Jain
Akanksha heads PR and Communication at BharatPe. She has over 15 years of experience in working across global/digital public relations, corporate and brand communications, crisis communications, brand and market communications domains.

In the past, Akanksha has successfully planned and executed public relations/brands campaigns across India and over 30 other countries. She is a start-up specialist and has extensive experience of working with emerging brands. She has been associated with brands like Pine Labs, MobiKwik, VLCC and Power2SME and spearheaded their PR/brand/communication campaigns.

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