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How to Stay Positive in Negative Situations

Illustration for article titled How to Stay Positive in Negative Situations

From having your foot trampled on the subway to dealing with incompetent customer service reps, it seems there's a never-ending supply of annoying situations that innocents like yourself have to put up with on a daily basis. And unless you've got the Poker Face of a professional player, you may run the risk of freaking out on the next person who chews with their mouth open in your presence. But while you can't control other people and their barnyard behavior, you can control yourself — and your reactions to negative situations. Here's how to keep a wonderfilled perspective when the world is conspiring against you.


When something goes wrong at work. One little glitch in an otherwise chill workday is enough to make you want to run through several walls, leaving nothing behind but a vacated desk and several drywall outlines of your body. Surprisingly, that impulse isn’t far from what you should actually do when disaster strikes. Get up from your desk and take a walk outside. Some people think that walking even puts you in a meditative state, which can help you separate your feelings of despair over an unsaved spreadsheet spontaneously closing from what you actually need to do to accomplish your task (like take a deep breath and start from scratch). When you return, your mind will be a clean slate — and better equipped to problem solve.

When waiting. Waiting in line for the latest donut sensation, waiting on a hundred-degree subway platform, waiting for a friend who’s always late… it doesn’t matter what you're waiting for, because the experience is universally the same: it sucks. Which is where reading comes in! You know all those fancy 800-page books you have strategically strewn about your bedroom? Take one of those things, shove it in your bag, and break it out when the waiting gets tough. Reading while you wait makes the time fly, it accomplishes something positive, and it means you can finally stop lying about having read that “life changing” novel. How could this possibly be a negative situation?


When the Wi-Fi in your coffee shop stops working. A faulty Wi-Fi connection is enough to send some of us into a rage, and rightfully so — especially when you really need the internet! Um, what is this, the 1500s? This urgent email can’t wait the ten minutes it’ll take the overworked barista to fix that ancient modem — oh wait, yes it can! Remember the good ol' days when we did things that didn't involve network keys? Like…play Solitaire? There’s very little in life that’s more satisfying than those cards flying all over the screen when you win. (If you don't have a PC, download Solitaire here — quick, before the Internet goes out again!)

When you’re just in a bad mood, ALL RIGHT? Bad moods happen to the best of us. Maybe you missed your bus this morning, maybe your cat peed in some mystery location of your apartment, maybe something awesome happened to your arch nemesis and your urge to be a hater is skyrocketing by the second. Luckily, bad moods are fairly easy to overcome. First, recognize and acknowledge that you're in a bad mood. Should be easy — are you clenching your teeth? Furrowing your brow? Audibly sighing every two seconds? Once you recognize that your bad mood exists, you take away some of its power. How? Well, because it's a mood, not an ultimate decree or a mandate. It's fleeting and in no way represents the state of your life. Your life, in comparison to this funk you're currently indulging in, is probably pretty sweet. So celebrate a little! Listen to your favorite guilty pleasure song, IM with a friend who makes you laugh, have an Oreo…or three. Bad mood - 0, You - 1,000,000.


When faced with everyday annoyances, try to look on the wonderfilled side of things. You know what they say, after all — when life gives you lemons and you want a snack…have an Oreo instead!

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