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7 Powerful Ways to Stay Positive During Difficult Times

By Stephanie Eng-Aponte

Reviewed by Briana Rodriquez, R.D.

Expert Reviewed

Raise your hand if lately every day feels like a Monday, and life just won’t quit handing you lemons. How do you stay positive and break out of this funk? On days when the silver lining is hard to find, knowing how to stay positive and motivated can help you to turn a difficult day into an enjoyable one. Check out our top tips to make it easier to look on the bright side and see the positives in every day.

1. Seek out and celebrate positive moments

Jot down some feel-good thoughts in a bullet journal, make a list of a few things you’ve accomplished for the day or take a few notes on your phone. Maybe you took some time to chat with your best friend, organized your closet, got lost in a new book or listened to your favorite band. Taking just 20 minutes to acknowledge positive experiences could help you feel less stressed, experts say.1 If it made you feel great, write it down!

2. Get a good night’s sleep

Poor sleep could leave you feeling tired, unmotivated and irritable – and no one wants that! But waking up on the wrong side of the bed doesn’t need to be your new normal. In fact, experts suggest that improving your sleep quality may help to improve your mood.2 To get a better night’s rest, National Sleep Foundation recommends practicing healthy sleeping habits, known as “sleep hygiene.”3 Try these sleep hygiene tips to catch those zzz’s!


Not sure how much rest you need? The foundation advises that adults aim to get between 7-9 hours of shut-eye each night.4

3. Eat well

Photo by Maëliss Demaison on Unsplash

StayPositive_EatWell_Photo by Maëliss Demaison on Unsplash.jpgDid you know? A balanced diet could help support your mood and your weight loss goals. According to experts at Harvard Health, most of your serotonin (a hormone that helps to control appetite and sleep and mediate moods) is created in the gut, which contains millions of nerve cells.5 Your gastrointestinal tract, along with your serotonin production, can be affected by the “good” bacteria in your body.5


Try this: Nonfat plain Greek yogurt is packed with probiotics, the helpful microorganisms that are the same as or similar to the “good” bacteria in your body.6 Yogurt is a nutritious choice for breakfast, a quick snack or even a low-sugar dessert. And it’s not just delicious: One study found that people who included yogurt in their diet and exercised increased their serotonin levels, which may be linked to improved moods.7

4. Add more movement to your day

Whether you go all-out for a sweat sesh or take a stroll around the block, finding ways to intentionally add movement throughout the day could help boost your mood. One study found that people who measured their daily activity with a fitness tracker and moved more had a lower risk of depression, compared to those who moved less.8,9


Traditional exercise moves aren’t the only way to help support a good mood: The study’s lead researcher emphasized the importance of overall movement, which could be anything from taking the stairs to putting away laundry.9 Get a head start by trying these 9 exercises right at home.

5. Try a digital detox

There’s no doubt about it: Digital distractions can stress you out! If you’re feeling bombarded by social media and news stories, take a step back from your feeds and give yourself a break. If you want to ease into a digital detox, you don’t need to cut yourself off from technology completely. Instead, try setting boundaries for yourself, like these:

  • Avoid checking your emails first thing in the morning and right before bed.
  • Cruise your social media feeds for a couple minutes, then get up and go for a brisk walk.
  • Turn off push notifications for a few hours.
  • Stash your devices during mealtimes.

Without all the chatter from your digital devices, you’ll make more time to connect with your own thoughts and needs.

6. Listen to music

Playing your favorite tunes could actually have a beneficial effect on your mood. Songs with slower tempos, longer notes and gradual chord progressions can be more calming than faster ones, experts say.10 But when in doubt, choose the jams you love — music affects everyone differently.


Let the music be the star of the show and avoid other distractions, experts suggest.10 Soothing music might not have the effect you want if you’re busy scrolling through your news feeds. So, whether you like listening to records, CDs, cassette tapes or music videos, turn up the volume, get comfortable and let your stress melt away.



7. Talk it out

Photo by FilippoBacci on iStock

video-chat-connectIf you’re feeling stuck, try bouncing some ideas off of a friend, family member or your Jenny Craig coach. Sometimes, all you need is a fresh perspective. Maybe you need help breaking through a weight loss plateau or finding ways to eat healthier at home (and avoid overeating). Make a positive difference in your day by identifying the things you’re struggling with. Then, talk them through with someone you trust. Your weight loss coach, in particular, can work with you to come up with solutions you might’ve missed and help you to get back on track.

Staying positive when times are tough

If overcoming a bad day is at the top of your to-do list, try a few of these tips to help lift your mood. Learning how to stay positive and motivated is a skill you can strengthen: You just need the right tools! A powerful support system, including friends, family (and even your weight loss coach) can help you to push through challenges and come out on top — you don’t have to do it alone.


If weight loss is one of your goals, we’re here to help! Chat online with a Jenny Craig weight loss coach to get started today.





[1] https://bit.ly/39cpFxc

[2] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6456824/

[3] https://www.sleepfoundation.org/articles/sleep-hygiene

[4] https://www.sleepfoundation.org/articles/how-much-sleep-do-we-really-need

[5] https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/nutritional-psychiatry-your-brain-on-food-201511168626

[6] https://nccih.nih.gov/health/probiotics/introduction.htm

[7] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6189615/

[8] https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamapsychiatry/fullarticle/2720689

[9] https://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/more-evidence-that-exercise-can-boost-mood

[10] https://time.com/5254381/listening-to-music-health-benefits/

Stephanie Eng-Aponte

bio-photo-stephanie.jpgStephanie Eng-Aponte is a copywriter for Jenny Craig and has written for the health and wellness, tech, and environmental industries. Stephanie graduated from Rutgers University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism and Media Studies. They employ an “eat first, write later” approach to food blogging and enjoy the occasional Oxford comma. Outside of writing, you can find them photographing a muttley crew of rescue pups, brewing kombucha, or exploring San Diego.

Favorite healthy snack: green apple slices with sunflower butter

Reviewed by Briana Rodriquez, RDN

bio-photo-briana.pngBriana is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Certified Personal Trainer for Jenny Craig, based in Carlsbad, California. She is passionate about utilizing food as functional and preventative medicine. Guided by a simplistic and optimistic approach, Briana’s philosophy is to help people improve their health and achieve their goals through the development of sustainable habits to live a healthy life. In her free time, you can find her strength training, indoor cycling, coffee tasting, and at local eateries with her husband and two dogs. 


Favorite healthy snack: peanut butter with celery alongside a grapefruit-flavored sparkling water (so refreshing!) 



This article is based on scientific research and/or other scientific articles and was written by an experienced health and lifestyle contributor and reviewed by certified professionals. 


Our goal at Jenny Craig is to provide the most up-to-date and objective information on health-related topics, so our readers can make informed decisions based on factual content. All articles undergo an extensive review process, and depending on the topic, are reviewed by a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) or Nutritionist, to ensure accuracy. 


This article contains trusted sources including scientific, peer-reviewed papers. All references are hyperlinked at the end of the article to take readers directly to the source. 


Edited by Elisa - Jenny Craig

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