9 habits of people who stay positive, even when life gets tough

Life can be hard. We all have bad days, and sometimes those days turn into tough weeks or even challenging months.

But even when things aren’t going our way, optimism and hope can be the light at the end of the tunnel.

Why is staying positive so important? Because it helps us keep going. Optimism fuels our resilience, making it easier to navigate life’s ups and downs.

It’s like a secret weapon that helps us tackle challenges head-on, bounce back from setbacks, and seize new opportunities.

So, how can you be that hopeful person who stays afloat even when the tide turns?

The secret lies in habits—simple yet powerful practices that can transform your outlook on life.

In this article, we’ll explore 9 habits that can help you maintain that optimistic spirit, even when life gets tough.

Want to be a beacon of hope for yourself and others? Keep reading. 

1. They Practice Gratitude

You know that saying, “Count your blessings”? Well, it’s not just a saying; it’s a game-changer.

People who stay positive make it a habit to think about the good things in their life, even if they’re small.

Studies even show that practicing gratitude can actually improve your mental health.

Maybe your dog wagged its tail when you got home, or you had that yummy cup of coffee this morning. These are small joys, but they add up.

By focusing on the good stuff, it becomes harder for the bad stuff to bring you down.

Gratitude isn’t just about acknowledging the good things you have; it’s also a springboard for hope.

When you’re aware of the positives in your life, no matter how small, you create a foundation for optimism.

2. They Surround Themselves With Positive People

Ever notice how hanging out with a grumpy friend can make you feel grumpy too? It’s like their mood is contagious.

On the flip side, spending time with happy, uplifting people can give you a real boost.

I remember a time when I was stuck in a rut, and a good friend pulled me out of it just by being their optimistic self.

They didn’t even have to say much; their positive vibe was enough to make me see things in a brighter light.

So, if you want to stay positive, take a look at your social circle.

Are the people around you encouraging and full of good vibes?

If not, it might be time to make some new friends who lift you up instead of dragging you down.

3. They Don’t Run From Problems

Look, nobody likes facing tough situations. It’s way easier to bury your head in the sand and hope problems just go away.

But let’s be real; they usually don’t. People who manage to stay positive don’t shy away from difficulties; they tackle them head-on.

I used to be someone who avoided confrontations and difficult talks like the plague.

But guess what?

The problems never vanished; they just festered and got worse.

Facing the music—be it a tricky work situation or a friendship on the rocks—makes you feel empowered.

You realize that problems aren’t the end of the world; they’re just bumps on the road.

So when you’re tempted to ignore a problem or postpone that difficult conversation, don’t. Address it.

You’ll feel a weight lifted off your shoulders, and you’ll be one step closer to becoming the kind of person who stays positive no matter what.

4. They Take Time to Be Alone

You might think that staying positive means constantly surrounding yourself with people, staying busy, and filling every moment with activities.

But sometimes, the key to a positive outlook is taking some time to be alone.

It sounds odd, right? But hear me out. When you’re alone, you get the chance to reflect, reset, and listen to your own thoughts.

You’d be amazed at how much clarity a little solitude can bring.

This isn’t about isolating yourself from the world; it’s about giving yourself the space to breathe and think.

When life gets overwhelming, stepping back can actually help you tackle challenges with a clearer mind and a healthier perspective.

So, when you’re feeling swamped, don’t be afraid to take a little “me time.”

Whether it’s a short walk, a quiet cup of tea, or just sitting alone for a few moments, that time can be a game-changer for your mental well-being.

5. They Celebrate Small Wins

In the rush of everyday life, it’s easy to overlook the small victories.

Maybe you managed to finish a project ahead of time, or you finally nailed that complicated recipe you’ve been wanting to try.

These may not seem like big deals, but they are wins nonetheless.

I used to think that only big achievements deserved celebration. You know, the promotion at work or hitting that major life milestone.

But then I started celebrating the small stuff—like finishing a workout or even just managing to wake up early.

And you know what? It made a huge difference in my outlook. It was like I was giving myself little bursts of positivity each time.

So, make it a habit to celebrate your small wins. They’re stepping stones to bigger successes, and acknowledging them can give you the motivation to keep going, even when life gets tough.

6. They Keep Learning

People who stay positive know that life is a never-ending learning process.

Whether it’s picking up a new skill, diving into a new book, or even learning from mistakes, they embrace each experience as a chance to grow.

It might sound strange, but one of the most uplifting moments in my life came after failing at something important to me.

It hurt, sure, but it also gave me the kick I needed to learn more, do better, and ultimately succeed the next time around.

By adopting a mindset of continuous learning, you open yourself up to new possibilities and viewpoints.

This keeps your mind sharp, your spirits high, and makes it easier to find the silver lining in any situation.

7. They Exercise Regularly

We all know exercise is good for the body, but did you know it’s also a big boost for your mental well-being?

Physical activity releases endorphins, which are natural mood lifters. They’re often called the “happy hormones” for a reason.

For me, jogging for 30 minutes is like a mini-vacation for my mind. It clears my head and lifts my mood, setting the tone for a more positive day.

It doesn’t have to be a strenuous gym session or running a marathon. Even a simple 20-minute walk can make a difference.

So, if you find yourself slipping into a bad mood or facing a challenging day, get moving. It’s a direct way to shift your energy and attitude.

Being physically active not only keeps you fit but also gives you a sense of accomplishment. It’s like hitting two birds with one stone: you improve your health and boost your mood at the same time.

8. They Limit Exposure to Negativity

In today’s world, it’s easy to get bogged down by bad news, toxic social media, or even negative people.

People who maintain a positive outlook are mindful of what—and who—they let into their lives.

One thing I’ve started doing is setting boundaries with my screen time.

Rather than endlessly scrolling through social media or news sites that make me feel anxious or down, I give myself a time limit.

After that, I switch to something that enriches me, like reading an inspiring article or talking to a friend who lifts me up.

Being selective about what you consume—both online and offline—can make a world of difference in your mood and overall outlook.

If a certain news source or person is bringing you down, it’s okay to step back.

Replace that negativity with something that feeds your soul and keeps your spirits high.

9. They Practice Self-Compassion

Last but certainly not least, people who remain positive even when life gets tough are usually their own best friends.

It’s easy to beat yourself up over mistakes, setbacks, or just not meeting your own expectations.

But self-criticism only drains your energy and makes it harder to bounce back.

Instead, try treating yourself like you would a close friend who’s going through a rough time.

Offer yourself kindness, understanding, and a generous dose of patience. Accept that you’re human and bound to have ups and downs.

The next time you’re tempted to be hard on yourself, pause and reframe the situation.

Ask yourself, “What would I say to a friend who’s going through this?”

Chances are, you’ll find the encouragement and perspective you need to pick yourself up and keep moving forward.

In Conclusion

Life has its ups and downs, that’s for sure. But even when things are tough, staying positive and hopeful can make a big difference.

Being positive doesn’t mean you ignore problems. It means you focus on what you can do to make things better. And hope keeps you going, even when things look dark.

The 9 habits we talked about are easy ways to bring more positivity and hope into your life. They’re not just things to do; they’re ways to make your life better.

So why not give these habits a try? You might find they make your days a lot brighter, even when times are hard.

And the best part? You can start right now. Being happier and more hopeful is a choice you can make any time you want.

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Lachlan Brown

I’m Lachlan Brown, the founder, and editor of Hack Spirit. I love writing practical articles that help others live a mindful and better life. I have a graduate degree in Psychology and I’ve spent the last 15 years reading and studying all I can about human psychology and practical ways to hack our mindsets. Check out my latest book on the Hidden Secrets of Buddhism and How it Saved My Life. If you want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Facebook or Twitter.

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