Being Present, Positive and Happy in Challenging Times

Finding calmness in these trying times

Are you feeling overwhelmed these days? There’s lots of negativity in the news, frustration in stores and plenty of discord online.

Since my 20’s I have been searching for order to make sense of all the chaos. Ordained as a buddhist many years ago, I often read about dharma as I continuously seek a ‘right way of living.’ Dharma generally refers to the nature of reality regarded as a universal truth taught by the Buddha.

I use these following tools and dharma every day to improve my life. With intention and implementation, these mindful exercises may be very effective in these topsy-turvy times: thinking positively, managing time, planning for impermanence and being present.

Thinking Positively
Nearly every religion mentions the power of our thoughts. Buddha said, “What you become is what you have thought.” Proverbs 23:7, reads “As a man thinketh in his heart so is he.” Further out of mainstream spiritual thinking, Esther Hicks/ Abraham Hicks shared, “If you think thoughts that feel good to you, you will be in harmony with who you truly are. 

Consider spending some time every day to concentrate on positive thoughts.  Maybe it’s during your morning shower, while you’re enjoying that first cup of coffee or maybe you’d prefer a little quiet time before bed. Try to envision things going your way (even Michael Jordan, is known to have envisioned himself making all those jump shots). These thoughts can help impact our future actions and set us up for success.

Sunset Turtle Bay

If you are overwhelmed by your reflections and thoughts, some people use the Bullet Journal method to be organized. The Bullet Journal is a method of personal organization. The system organizes scheduling, reminders, to-do lists, brainstorming, and other organizational tasks into a single notebook.

Personally, I use a few small notebooks for each aspect of my life. I have notebooks for art, websites, reflections and travel.

A few of my notebooks that help me keep track

I do understand that we can’t stay positive all the time and I know it’s very important to be with your feelings and observe them instead of trying to change them all the time. I do know that often we just need to let ourselves feel – whether it’s good and bad.

Manifest What You Want
If you’re not already, make time to reflect on your thoughts and listen to yourself.  We often tell ourselves what we really want and then dismiss our own wishes and dreams. “I want to travel the world” or “I want to be a musician” might be thoughts that we have that we dismiss out of impracticality.  Listen to these thoughts, acknowledge them and find ways to act on them.  Think positively about these wishes and dreams and envision them becoming successful so they don’t later become our regrets.

Books like The SecretThe Power of Positive ThinkingLaws of Attraction and The Master Key System tell us that there are ways to manifest what we want. If you are like me, listening is sometimes easier than reading. Here’s a link to 2 free audio books from Audible when you sign up.

(As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.)

If you can train yourself to think more positively, why not try?
Changing the nature of our thinking can change the trajectory of our lives.

Manage Time
Organization will set you free.” – Celebrity Chef Alton Brown

If you are like me you need to take care of many things plus find time to relax and have some fun. I think the only way to effectively get everything done is set up some time for it. Here’s what works for me…

time, stopwatch, clock
Time is Precious

Set Parameters
What times are free time. Sunday and evenings past 5pm? What times are nose to the grindstone?

Write It Down, Make it Happen
is a famous book. For me, once it’s on the post it note or in the calendar or in my notebook it gets pushed along until it gets done.

Don’t Get Frustrated
When you miss a goal or deadline. Just re-prioritize. 

Here are five gut-check questions to see if you are making the greatest impact with your work time: as noted in the Harvard Business Review.

Everything is Impermanent
Impermanence means everything changes, everything is in flux all the time.

Though associated most often with Buddhism, Wikipedia points out that Impermanence is an element of Hinduism. In Western philosophy it is most famously known through its first appearance in Greek philosophy in the writings of Heraclitus and his doctrine of panta rhei (everything flows). In Western philosophy the concept is also called becoming.

COVID-19 is a perfect example. The planet has seen that – despite our best efforts EVERYTHING changes, for all of us. Events get postponed, travels plans cancelled, the economy rises and falls and some of us will get healthier and some of us will not.

Planning for permanence may create anxiety. Therefore preparing for change and work towards embracing whatever change comes your way may be beneficial in many ways.

Being Present
I did not really learn about being present until I started reading about Buddhism in my 20s. For me, being present is a practice that I have not perfected but I’m always striving to be evermore naturally present.

Being present means being aware internally and externally. For me, being present is about paying attention to what’s going on without attempting to change anything. For me, being present dovetails with being mindful.

With everything competing for your attention in the physical AND digital world it may be ideal to have some parameters to help stay present.

Find time to breathe

Share Your Comments Below
What makes you more efficient?
Are there any philosophies that work well for you?
Do you have any books or videos would you recommend?

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  1. I find you to always be a calming presence and greatly appreciate your reminders to slow down and think positive thoughts.

  2. Being happy in these times is so difficult. Thanks for sharing this article and reminding it to do more often

  3. Great tips. Being present and time management are such huge ones! For me, it’s all about mindset.

  4. Thanks so much, we can all use tools to find more peace these days.

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