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9 easy ways to stay positive when things get really tough

Author Katie Moss shares her easy-to-follow wellness hacks for staying upbeat during hard times

Melanie Macleod
Wellness Editor
June 6, 2024
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"Life has thrown a few lemons in my direction," says author Katie Moss, somewhat downplaying what she's been through. "I've had three near-death experiences, more surgeries than I can remember, my husband and mum both had cancer, and I've struggled with postnatal depression.

"While my husband was fighting stage four cancer, I mustered all my strength and got on with living life and embracing all the things that have now become the nine pillars of wellbeing at the heart of my wellness philosophy, Rainbowtarian.

"Thanks to these nine pillars, my family didn’t just survive, we thrived. We were happy and flourished and have gorgeous memories from that period.

woman in denim jumpsuit smiling in front of a lake
Katie has found happiness in adversity

"My husband thankfully survived, and Rainbowtarian is still my blueprint for wellbeing. I live each day in full colour and feel happy, healthy and strong on the inside. I feel empowered to handle things when the chips are down – such as last year when my Mum sadly and brutally lost her battle with cancer.

"My wellness philosophy grounds us in the fundamental things that we humans need to nourish ourselves and flourish physically, emotionally and spiritually – things that get lost or parked on the backburner in the fray of modern life, with its many spinning plates and demands and pressures, but which are non-negotiable for our health and happiness.

"We only get to live our wild, precious, magical life once. So we should and can make sure it’s a life well-lived."

Read on for Katie's pillars for living a happier life, even when things are tough.

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Katie shares her advice for happiness

1. Health

Invest, invest, invest in this. You don’t have to be killing it at the gym but you do need to be staying active and nourishing your body with a smorgasbord of whole foods.

Our mind and body are so closely connected and eating natural, unprocessed foods will make you feel fresh and resilient.

Tempting as it may be, don’t drown your sorrows in junk food because it will sap your energy, confidence, motivation and mood.

RELATED: 9 easy to follow food tips for living joyfully

2. Calm

Take little moments to catch your breath and just be. Have a long soak in the bath, curl up with a book, take a walk in nature, or treat yourself to a massage.

Calm gives your brain the chance to slow down, make sense of your experiences and recharge its reserves so you can handle whatever is on your plate with clarity and strength.

INSPIRATION: Try this 1-minute hack to instantly calm down 

3. Love  

Whatever you do, don’t hide away. Reach out to family and friends who can offer so many soul-nourishing things, from a comforting listening ear and understanding to advice, practical help and motivation to keep going even when things seem bleak.

woman in the garden drinking in a pretty dress
Katie has a nine-step trick for feeling happier

Spending time with loved ones will remind you you’re not alone and offer a welcome distraction from the hard time you’re facing.

4. Adventure

Even if it’s the last thing you feel like doing, get outside your comfort zone regularly. Take a course, try Pickleball or an aerial yoga class, go on day trips, listen to a new podcast, refresh your look.

Try to have a mini adventure each day. Adventure will remind you there’s a whole wide world out there, full of things and people that light you up and make you grow.

READ: What are limiting beliefs and why are they stopping you from feeling happy? 

5. Order

Keep on top of your life as best you can. Stick to routines, keep your environment organised, don’t miss appointments or other events, show up on time. Having your ducks in a row will give you a feeling of being in control, even when you might feel anything but.

6. Purpose

Whether it’s your work or a side project such as organising an event or doing up your spare room, having daily goals will keep you focussed, distract you from your worries and concentrate your mind on building for the future once the tough times are through.

7. Creativity

Make things. Cook, pick up a paintbrush and follow an online tutorial, write a short story… anything you like. When we’re in create mode, we forget our worries and slip into a delicious state called ‘flow’, a natural high where time flies by without us even noticing.

We also give physical shape to our feelings and anxieties; inside us, they’re raw, disorganised and bottled up, but expressing them in our creation is cathartic. A finished creation will bring you pride and joy, too!

8. Fun

It might sound counter-intuitive but having a good time is a wonderful tonic and antidote when you’re going through a rough patch. It releases feel-good hormones and gives you moments of joy and respite from difficult experiences. You’ll come back with a fuller cup, feeling ready to face life.

9. Kindness

Be good to yourself. From nourishing yourself with all of the things above to going easy on yourself - putting fewer demands and expectations on yourself, turning the volume right down on any negative self-talk, and switching off the guilt about this and that – self-compassion is essential in tough times. Treat yourself to a flower subscription or other little pleasures.

When you’re kind to yourself, you’ll feel less resentful towards the world, and have greater capacity for taking care of others who may need you.

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