Senior Resources » 10 Ways to Stay Positive When Life Is Hard

10 Ways to Stay Positive When Life Is Hard

Lately, life has been a study in Murphy’s law: a domino effect of one negative event after the other. And while it’s easy to stay on the ground when life knocks the wind out of us, we have to dust ourselves off and keep going. Happy days will be here again. Here are 10 ways to stay positive when life is hard.


1. Be willing to embrace change.

happy senior

I don’t know about you, but sometimes, I miss how my life used to be. And while change is often scary and unexpected, the best thing to do when change comes our way is to just embrace it. Roll with the punches and be willing to accept change, even when it’s hard.

2. Try to see from other people’s perspectives.

two senior women sitting at the kitchen table drinking cofee together

I’m sure you’ve heard the song “Walk a Mile in My Shoes” by Joe South. It actually contains some excellent advice! It’s important to try and see from other people’s perspectives. You can’t expect others to think like you do. Everyone has their own way of dealing with things. So, next time you’re in a disagreement with somebody, don’t be stubborn. Try and walk a mile in their shoes and practice empathy. Trust me when I say you’ll feel better once you do!


3. Don’t take out your emotions on others.

married couple hugging

When we’re stressed, we have the tendency to lash out at others. Suddenly, our burdens are no longer our own. We’ve heaped vicarious burdens on other people’s shoulders. Be respectful of others and keep your emotions in check. If you do need to unleash stressful emotions, do so in a constructive manner. Don’t lash out! This will only create more negative feelings that you don’t need.

4. Remind yourself that no storm lasts forever.

When we’re in the midst of a trial, it can feel eternal. If you’re anything like me, you may question whether the storm will ever pass. However, much like with literal storms, no trial lasts forever. Even if everything in your life is going wrong now, things will start to balance themselves again!

5. Engage in self-care.

self care skin

When we’re going through difficult times, the last thing on our minds is taking care of ourselves. However, it’s important to always prioritize our physical and mental health—especially when times are tough. Go for a walk. Light a candle. Run a bubble bath and allow the warm water to wash away your stress. Do something that makes you happy! You deserve it.

6. Don’t return to unhealthy habits or behaviors.

When we’re under a lot of pressure, we may feel tempted to engage in unhealthy habits. For some, that means digging an old pack of cigarettes out of the desk drawer. For others, that means eating a lot of unhealthy junk food and sugar. Whatever your vice, don’t allow yourself to return to it. You kicked that habit. Don’t invite it back into your life in a moment of weakness! Be strong and focus on building good habits.


7. Let go out of negativity.

arms raised seniors having fun

It’s so easy to embrace negativity when you’ve already been kicked to the ground. In fact, complaining may feel like second nature when nothing in your life is making you feel joyful. And while it’d be easy to complain and indulge in negativity, you’re better than that. Instead of focusing on the negatives, force yourself to list all the positives. Focus on what’s going right instead of everything that’s going wrong.

8. Don’t be afraid to cry.

senior woman with hands over face crying

Let’s face it: A lot of us hate to cry. However, crying is a natural response for humans. Don’t be afraid to let those tears fall. If you’re a man and fear tears might hurt your image, go somewhere private and cry. Let those tears wash away your pain. And once you’re done, wipe your face, get up, and face the world again. You can do it! After all, you’re a Boomer.

9. Show compassion to others.

three senior friends hugging and smiling

When we’re going through a rough time, our tendency is to become more self-focused. However, now is the best time to look outside of yourself and realize that others struggle, too. If somebody else is struggling, be their designated shoulder to cry on. Listen and console them. Maybe they’re going through something similar. Draw comfort from each other’s shared experiences and realize you’re never truly alone.

10. Don’t ignore your feelings.

African American retired woman sitting outside smiling

If you feel angry or hurt or confused, don’t brush those feelings under the rug and pretend they don’t exist. Your feelings are valid. And while it’s important not to take out your emotions on others, ignoring them is every bit as unhealthy. Find comfort in the discomfort. Embrace and process every emotion as it sweeps over you. And remember—this, too, shall pass.

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Originally published October 17, 2023


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