Everyone feels down from time to time and — especially when you’re dealing with the stress of handling a major project, leading a team or even running a business — those negative feelings can leave you feeling like questioning whether anything will work out right.
One way you can relieve those feelings is to actively seek out positive thoughts. To help get you started, we asked Young Entrepreneur Council members to share a few questions people can ask themselves when they are seeking to regain their confidence when facing a mental or emotional rut.
1. ‘Why Am I Down?‘
By taking a step back and asking yourself, “Why am I down?” you can begin the process of evaluating your situation intellectually instead of emotionally. Once you start rationally approaching the situation at hand and the reasons for your feeling down, you will be able to recognize that you are likely in a down moment that you can bounce back from, rather than a crisis that is unmanageable.
2. ‘Is This Goal Worth the Cost?‘
Without fail I begin to question everything when I lose sight of the finish line. I forget that I am running to win the race, and not just to run in a race. Is your business goal worth the cost you’re investing in it? Is mine? If the answer is no, then it’s time to move on. If the answer is yes, then it’s time to dig deep and give it all you’ve got!
3. ‘If It Was Your Last Day, How Would You Live Your Life?‘
When I put things into this perspective, I change my thinking from despair and dread to just doing my best at the moment and enjoying it! Reminding yourself of your abilities might be a fast way to make yourself feel that you are not enough, and in your last day, you are always enough because you are here, living. Keep yourself in the moment.
4. ‘What Positive Encounters Have I Had?‘
We all love having a hype man, but rarely do we think to be our own. Keep a record of every positive encounter you’ve had: whether it’s a text compliment, a contract that you won, a thank you card from an employee or anything else that, when you received it, made you feel proud of yourself. On days you question your potential, pore over the accumulation of those accomplishments.
5. ‘Am I Alone?‘
It is my experience that feeling down happens to everyone in every facet of life. It is human nature. When I find myself in one of these funks, I ask myself if I am alone. Understanding that everyone around me has been through this same thing before (including myself), I remember that this is just a phase and I will once again get through it.
6. ‘Do I Need a Snack?‘
We all have moments where we feel down. Things aren’t going our way, or they’re taking longer than we’d like. In times like this, I ask myself, “Do I need a snack?” Truthfully, when I am feeling like this it’s because I’ve let my emotions take control, and my blood sugar is low. Taking a step back, taking a breath, and getting some healthy food in me helps me refocus and re-center my thoughts.
7. ‘Why Am I Doing This?‘
I think about the reason for all my hard work, the one big thing, the idea that kept me going until now. Feeling down is natural, we’re all humans. And when times get tough, the best thing that can get you back on track is your “why.” Your why is different than my why. You’ll have the energy when you realize how much you’ve already achieved, and soon, you’ll be ready to go all in again.
8. ‘Is This the Hardest Thing I’ve Faced?‘
We’ve all gone through trying times in life and have likely already faced challenges more extreme than what we’re currently going through. Reflect back upon what you’ve already accomplished and know that you’re a survivor and an achiever. When the going gets tough, always remember that you signed up for this when you chose greatness in your life.
9. ‘How Far Have I Come?‘
A question to ask yourself when you’re feeling down is: “How far have I come?” Many times we look forward so much that we forget to look at how far we have come. When we see all the obstacles we have overcome, we can feel equipped and believe that we can continue moving in the right direction because we know we have before. We have the ability to face adversity and hard times and come out on top!
10. ‘What Is the Worst That Could Happen?‘
The one question I would ask myself is “What is the worst that could happen?” It’s almost magical how acknowledging your fears lessens their power and helps you focus on the positive. Chances are that the worst that could happen isn’t all that bad. Running through this simple mental question helps you see your fears from new angles, helps you formulate any Plan Bs, and puts you back in control.
11. ‘Where Do I Want to Be?‘
Sometimes imagining the life you want to live is enough to inspire change. When you feel unsure of yourself, remember that there’s someone out there who needs to fill the spot you want. Why can’t it be you? Use this to motivate you to take the steps necessary to move forward and reach success.
12. ‘What Would I Tell Someone Else in the Same Situation?’
A helpful way to change your perspective is to look at your problems from the outside. Pretend that you have a friend who’s having exactly the kind of day you’re having. What would you say to them? Looking in from the outside gives you a more balanced view of your own problems. You’ll soon be able to see that a minor setback or bad mood doesn’t have to dictate the rest of the day.
13. ‘Where Are My Priorities?’
Feeling down happens, especially during the winter months. When you start feeling full of self-doubt, take some time to reflect on your priorities. I’ve found that the core cause of my self-doubt is that I spend too much time worrying about things that are out of my scope. We can’t control everything, despite our strong will. You have to make sure your priorities are focused in the right area.
14. ‘What Am I Doing Right?’
When I start feeling down during the winter months, I take some time to reflect on the things I’m doing right. In most cases, I’m dwelling on a problem that isn’t nearly as important as it feels in that moment. Allow your mind to drift and consider the accomplishments you’ve achieved this year for more confidence and an improved mood.
15. ‘What About Me Am I Grateful For?‘
Although it sounds conceited, it’s important to recognize the great things about yourself so you feel motivated to do great things. Ask yourself what it is about you that makes you feel grateful. Are you good at getting up early in the morning? Do you feel driven to the point of always completing what you start? Are you creative? Think about what you admire in yourself to spark positive thinking.
These answers are provided by Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most successful young entrepreneurs. YEC members represent nearly every industry, generate billions of dollars in revenue each year and have created tens of thousands of jobs. Learn more at yec.co.