No matter how rich, smart, hot, or spiritual you are – sometimes life just sucks. Here’s how to stay positive on your worst days, how to make your life more meaningful, and how to be happy when you feel sad, tired, and droopy.
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This article was supposed to be a new and improved version of one of my most popular blog posts: 150 Things to Do When You’re Bored at Home. But when I started looking for specific things to do when life is boring, I kept coming across flimsy “how to stay positive” articles. That got me wondering why people need to learn how to be positive – is it because life sucks? Of course it is! So off I veer in a wild new direction. Come, let’s figure out the best ways to stay positive when your life is sucking all the joy and peace out of you…
I like to share the gospel truth – because it really is the only way to stay positive when life sucks. You’re gonna love it!
5 Ways to Stay Positive When Life Sucks
These tips for bringing more positivity into your life are a combination of practical, literal action steps (my Link of Love) and life-changing ways to create more joy and peace in your life. They’re not about helping yourself feel better or connecting with the universe or finding some tricky little secret. Rather, these tips are about finding the truth and clinging to it with all your hands and feet.
And they are in reverse order of importance, which means the most important tip on how to stay positive when life sucks is at the end. Because Jesus said, “So the last will be first, and the first last,” in Matthew 20:16.
Yes, Jesus gave tips on how to stay positive when your life sucks! Imagine that. He may not have phrased it exactly that way, but He was pretty good at holding on to his joy and peace even when they were crucifying Him.
1. Plan a Link of Love
Happy Birthday to me! I’m turning 47 years old next week, can you dig it? Man, seven
minutes years ago I wrote 12 Creative Ways to Celebrate and Honor Your 40th Birthday. This year I’m writing about different ways to stay positive when life sucks. Hmm.
Anyway, this is what I’m doing on my birthday:
Meeting my husband, my friend BB, and her son 9 year old son JJ at my favorite neighborhood pub (the Raven! like in Poe’s story). Hopefully there will be a good drinks special that night. We’ll eat pizzas and burgers, and we’ll color little pieces of paper. Each paper will have different words on it, such as “Faith” “Hope” “Love” and “Joy” – and we’ll use an elastic to wrap that little piece of paper around a treat, such as mini chocolate bars and wee bags of chips.
We’ll walk from the Raven Pub to BB’s house for birthday cake and ice cream – stopping at every house on the way. We will each have a bag of treats, and the person who answers the door can pick a treat from the bag! I’ll tell the door person that it’s my birthday and we just want to spread a little love, hope, peace, faith, goodness, joy and fun around the neighborhood. Reverse trick-or-treating!
This is my “Link of Love” birthday project – so named because it links my friend BB’s house with my own home. And I think you should join me! Why? Because the best way to stay positive when your life sucks is to plan something that takes you outside your safe little space. Let me know in the comments section below what time you can meet us at the Raven.
2. Do something daringly (or just boringly) kind and helpful
Maybe you don’t believe a Link of Love will increase positivity in your life – or maybe you have nobody who’ll walk alongside you. You don’t have to plan a crazy or weird “act of kindness” to stay positive – but you need to find ways to reach out and give to others if you don’t want your life to suck. Why? Because research proves that giving changes not only your mood, but your physical body as well.
“Those who perform five acts of giving over six weeks are happier than those who don’t, that when you give, you get reduced stress hormone levels, lowered blood pressure, and increased endorphins, and that acts of kindness reduce anxiety and strengthen the immune system,” writes Ann Voskamp in The Broken Way: A Daring Path into the Abundant Life.
She adds that five random acts of kindness in a week can increase happiness for up to three months later. “Researchers had asked 77 adults to record three things each day for weeks — any and all stressful events experienced, any and all helpful acts, like opening a door for someone, helping a child with schoolwork, or loaning anything. And that was the full-stop epiphany of the research: ‘helping behaviors seemed to buffer the negative effects of stress.’
Voskamp calls it “finding your own pocket miracle.” You don’t have to do something daring or weird to reduce stress and learn how to stay positive when life sucks! Even a small gift can change their day, and yours. Just those little things can make a big difference: holding the door open for someone, sending a quick email or text message to someone you haven’t heard from lately, or baking cookies for your neighbor.
3. Dig up that dream that’s buried in your heart
God created us for a purpose. He created YOU for a reason – and He planted specific dreams in your heart and certain talents in your fingers and brain. He loves you deeply, He knows everything about you – good and bad, beautiful and ugly.
What is your dream, your purpose, your calling? Maybe you’re sad because it’s crushed. Maybe you’re searching for tips on “how to stay positive when your life sucks” because your heart is broken. Maybe your dream is dead and your purpose shattered.
So what now? You take a deep breath, and let go of the thing that is dead. Yes, it sucks. Yes, your life is different than you imagined or hoped. Yes, you’re shattered…and yes, you are alive! You are actually searching for ways to stay positive. You’ve come so far, and you know there’s more to life than struggling with suckiness.
You can hear the roar of Something Greater – and the whisper of Something Holier.
4. Know that everything must be broken – life sucks – before it gets awesome
“The seed breaks to give us the wheat,” Ann Voskamp’s farmer husband tells her in The Broken Way. “The soil breaks to give us the crop, the sky breaks to give us the rain, the wheat breaks to give us the bread. And the bread breaks to give us the feast. There was once even an alabaster jar that broke to give Him all the glory.”
Voskamp’s life really has sucked in tragic ways. So tragic, in fact, that she cut herself to relieve the pain. I don’t know if she looked for tips on how to stay positive, but I know she found the truth, the light, and the joy. And she writes about Him in her books.
If you’re dealing with health issues, read How to Stay Positive When You’re Sick.
5. Step into the light, blinking and hesitant
Remember how I said the “first shall be last”? I meant that the most important tip for staying positive when life sucks would be at the end.
The most important tip is Jesus.
Forget learning about “how to stay positive when life sucks”! There is no comparison between self-help tips for positivity (even the Link of Love and pocket miracles I mentioned in this article) and the depth of joy and peace that Christ offers. Self-help tips, Links of Love, and pocket miracles pale in comparison to the awe and majesty of a Spirit-filled life.
There is no comparison.
The good news is that you can swim in oceans of peace, joy, freedom, healing, love, grace, security, and power! You can come to life in a whole new way, you can experience the energy and forgiveness of God. Whatever you’re looking for can be found in Him.
When I wrote How to Find God and Change Your Life Forever, I think I neglected to say something very important: all you have to do is accept Jesus into your heart. That’s how you live free and full, joyful and spirit-filled. Jesus is the key, the secret, the truth.
Dear reader, how are you? You’ve been through so much, including this little blog post. What do you think about my tips on how to stay positive when your life sucks?
What do you think?
May you find hope and healing, life and light, no matter what is going on in your life. May your life be filled with joy, peace, and power. Hold on to your faith; never let go of the gospel truth of Jesus.
And may you be filled with the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, now and forever.