How to keep moving forward when the world is more challenging than normal

Life isn't always easy, no one ever made that promise. It would get pretty boring if it was anyhow. I was reflecting today over the past year, and recalling how I started 2015 back in January. I had a lot of mountains to climb, but time passes, as it always does, and most summits have been reached, or I'm really nearly there.

When you're deep down in the pit of a ravine, it can feel never ending. It's hard to imagine seeing that light at the end of the tunnel. Yet that light always comes.

I'm an optimistic person, but this wasn't a happy accident. Over the years I've worked really hard on my internal dialogues, until seeking joy became my natural default. The old me would be drawn to the negative, to the defence mechanism of predicting the worst. It's not a happy space to occupy in the world.

So when times are tough, I try to remain forward thinking. Here are some of the ways I try and stay cheery when the world feels more challenging than normal:

1. Remind myself that of course, "This too shall pass", because it always does. If I need proof, I can recall other stressful times, that are now long gone. Even stressful times from a month ago are often hard to recall now. Things pass, and they quickly lose their power over us.

2. Appreciate the small joys. A glass of wine in the bath, a new book from a charity shop,an afternoon spent with friends, a crisp sunny morning. You get the idea. I have developed a knack of becoming over excited about seemingly silly things, but it definitely beats never getting excited about anything.

3. Be more forgiving of yourself. We often expect nothing short of perfection from ourselves, yet will forgive those we love for their imperfections, because we grasp that no one is capable of living free from mistakes. We will stumble, and that's ok. The test is how we get back up again, smile slapped across our faces ready to bounce even higher.

4. Don't over indulge your own thoughts. Sometimes I just get really strict with myself. Allowing ourselves to wallow in our own thoughts can be so counter-productive. It can often be the case that we're worrying about things that don't even end up happening, or just that worrying doesn't enable a solution more likely to appear. When I feel myself beginning to drown in negativity I force myself up and about. I may go for a walk, play happy music or phone a friend who needs me more than I need them.

5. Become a solution finder, rather than a problem solver. No challenges that we face are unique to us, and have been worked on and through by many before us. The solution may not be easy to see, or easy to do, but there are always ways to step forward. Rather than allowing my mind to dwell on the problem (why did this happen), I accept the situation and try to work on ideas for the next step (Ok, here we are....now what?).

Life passes pretty quickly, and it's up to us to take notice of all the awesome that surrounds us. No one said it was meant to be easy, stop waiting for it to be a smooth ride.