Learn to Smile During Times of Adversity - Ryan C. Lowe
In one of the chapters in Get off Your Attitude, I talk about how to deal with the obstacles and challenges that we all face in life. I also share ideas and principles on how to deal with adversity in a positive manner. In this article I will do the same, suggesting how you can deal with negativity and remain 100 percent in charge of your happiness.
Most people deal with adversity and circumstances in a negative manner. It’s the way we are programmed. We want to lash out every time something bad happens to us. But that is not the way to handle life, at least not a happy, joyful life.
Here’s my master strategy for dealing with life:
I just Smile!
Smiling is a choice that we all have. One of the easiest ways to do this is to surround yourself with things that make you smile. Then add another coat of things that make you laugh. Hang around fun people; watch funny movies; and, read books that put a smile on your face.
It’s easy to get sucked into other people’s drama while watching negative TV shows and finding all the ways to be unhappy. You’ll be more productive when you’re around things that make you happy—not to mention — you’ll have a lot more fun.
A long time ago, I accepted the fact that life isn’t fair. It’s not. Not even close. It’s hard. I know there are times you wonder, “Why are so many bad things happening to me?”
I have had my tragedies and setbacks in my life, as many have had. There were events and times when I could have wondered why these things were happening. However, I realized that wouldn’t solve anything. That would only make things worse. I had to force myself to smile, even though I didn’t feel like it. I didn’t want to be happy and cheery. But I smiled—and it made life a little easier.
Smiling doesn’t necessarily change what is going on around you, but it does change the way you look at adversity. Instead of coming at it with a “why-me” mentality, try to look on the bright side of things. You can choose to make the best of it.
People come to me and say, “But Ryan, you don’t understand what’s going on in my life. You have no idea how bad it is.”
That’s exactly the time when I tell them to smile; to put on a brave face; keep going, and try to make the best of a bad situation. You know what a smile really changes? It changes your attitude toward the situation.
Why Aren’t You Smiling?
Is there something going on in your life, such as an illness or money problems that seem insurmountable? Is it your spouse or some other loved one? Is it your job?
The truth is nothing’s keeping you from smiling. You can smile any time you choose to. Go ahead and try it right now… not a fake smile —do it for real. Treat yourself to a warm, genuine smile. Doesn’t that feel great? You made one simple choice and it changed the way you feel.
You’re wired to feel better when you smile. It’s your natural emotional response. The simple act puts you in a better mood, no matter what else is going on around you. It’s the same in choosing to have a positive attitude. It makes you feel better and puts you in a stronger frame of mind to deal with your problems.
What Makes You Smile?
I’ll tell you what makes me smile—my niece and nephews. Their laughter and smiles are infectious. I can’t help but feel great after being around them for a few minutes.
What about you? What makes you smile? I hope you’re as fortunate as I am and have family that makes you smile. But what else makes you smile? Do you have a hobby or something that helps you relax? Does a good movie make you laugh? How about reminiscing with an old friend?
A smile doesn’t just benefit you—it’s also for people around you. Just as my nieces and nephews put a smile on my face, try to be the person that puts a smile on others’ faces. It could be while you’re at work or just having coffee with a friend. Be the person other people want to be around.
Learn to Smile!
Smiling doesn’t mean you pretend everything’s going right. Smiling is a choice to find the positive in every adverse situation and to deal with it in a mature way. Here is the acronym I created for smile:
Stop and think – don’t react. Think about what happened.
Measure the problem – How big is it? Is it something that will blow over in a few minutes? Or is it a part of a much larger issue?
Identify solutions – Don’t necessarily go with your first instinct. Think and find positive solutions to the issue.
Live and learn – look at the problem as a learning experience. What did you learn from this situation?
Enjoy the outcome – Give yourself time to recover before leaping into something else.
Remember this, a smile relaxes you and helps you find a place where you can deal positively with the curve balls life has thrown at you. A smile reminds you that you have a choice of how you’re going to let life affect you. Are you going to react with negative emotions and actions, or are you going to respond maturely and deal with the problem on your own terms? It’s your choice. Make it a positive one.