Each of us will endure difficult challenges. When these trials occur, it is easy to become discouraged, pessimistic and depressed. But, these feelings will only make the situation worse. A pessimistic attitude and negative thoughts will never solve a problem. They will only develop more depressed and discouraged feelings.

September 13 is Positive Thinking Day. This day encourages you to focus on your attitude and the way you handle challenges you face each day. When we are down and discouraged, changing our attitude can be an even greater obstacle. Here are seven ways to help you maintain a positive attitude and cast away any pessimistic thoughts during hard times.

1. Gratitude

Having gratitude in your daily life is key to becoming an optimist. Gratitude is about finding the good in your life, looking for your daily blessings, giving thanks and accepting those things when they come along. When you have gratitude, you must look for the good. Ungrateful people are constantly wearing their blinders and refuse to see the good in life. If you have a difficult time with gratitude, think of three things each night before you fall asleep that you were grateful for throughout the day. This is an excellent starting point to improving your gratitude.

2. Meditation

Meditation is a way to clear your mind. It gives you time to think through difficult situations and come up with solutions. You can meditate a variety of different ways. Yoga, prayer and even secluding yourself in a quiet atmosphere are excellent ways to clear your mind and let the positive thoughts rush in.

3. Forgive and ask forgiveness

When there is conflict between ourselves and another individual, we constantly feel tense and anxious. If we wronged a person or if someone wronged us, the only way to relieve those awful feelings is through forgiveness. Forgive those who have caused pain or heartache. Ask forgiveness for those you have wronged. When forgiveness has been granted, you will feel much happier, and your attitude will automatically improve.

4. Give three compliments daily

When we lift another individual's spirits, we also lift our own. If you see someone with a cute shirt, let her know. If he is an excellent parent, tell him how you feel. Find three people each day that could use a compliment and give them one. Be genuine and sincere in your compliments and let them know that you really care. When you affect another person's attitude, you also affect your own.

5. Laugh often

Laughter releases endorphins in your body and makes you a much happier person. The key is to regularly be around people who make you smile and laugh. When you are happy, life doesn't seem so hard, and you can more easily take on challenges that come your way.

6. Enjoy "me" time

To keep a positive attitude, you need to constantly renew your energy. You can't be burned out, frustrated and overwhelmed. You need to take care of yourself and relax. At least once a week, preferably every day, find time for yourself. Do things that you want to do, whether it is taking a nap, going for a run, visiting the spa or working on a project, find something that makes you happy and helps you relax.

7. Maintain good health

When you physically feel good about yourself, you are also improving your mentality. The way you eat and your activity level can have an effect on how you view life. Eat a healthy diet and try to exercise a minimum of three or four days a week. You will feel better about yourself, have more energy to tackle those challenges and the way you look at life will improve.

Maintaining a good attitude, especially during times of trials and heartache, can be difficult. It takes effort and hard work on your part not to let yourself fall to pieces. But, it can be done. You can live a happy, full life and overcome any challenges that come your way with a positive attitude.

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