How Your Most Negative Stories Can Turn into Your Most Positive Ones

· guest blog

We’re all going to face challenges in our life, that’s just part and parcel of the journey. Failing to accept these challenges or embrace them is going to lead to a great deal more suffering down the line.

The challenges that we will face will differ from person to person. Some will go through a great deal of pain early on in their lives, while others will lead a “normal” life before facing tough times later on.

The important thing to remember is that these challenges and these negativities don’t have to remain this way.

While some of the challenges that we’ll face will be as simple as trying to decide what kind of cereal to have in the morning, we have to expect to go through physical, mental, spiritual or emotional pain at some point.

It’s how you deal with these negativities that will not only define that particular moment in your life, but also help to shape the rest of your life too.

“You meet people that have been through ultimate pain…and not always, but often, they become some of the people who contribute the most to society.” – Tony Robbins,

I’m hugely grateful to my past mental health struggles. They’re firmly in the past now, but they continue to define my future. When I was started suffering, it felt like my world had collapsed. When I could no longer get out of bed or remember what month it was, my world did collapse.

I needed to take the time to tackle this challenge and this negative story. It was when I began to recover and began to frame this negative story into a positive one that my life really started to change.

Was I going to dwell on the fact that I’d lost two years of my life? Was I going to keep kicking myself for the opportunities I’d deliberately avoided because of my struggles? I could have, but I didn’t.

I used the extreme negativity of my story to shape my story moving forward as a positive one. I began to look after myself better, I strengthened the relationships that mattered in my life, and I worked hard to find a job that I still enjoy getting out of bed for.

I travelled 18 countries in a year, met hundreds of new people, threw myself into tons of opportunities, and felt myself developing the whole time. When I started to get stressed, I remembered to look back on my past mental health struggles, and how I’d created a positive life for myself from that.

I’m not saying you need to suddenly leap out of bed with a huge smile on your face if you’re going through a tough time. Whatever it may be, we all deserve a period where we need to deal with what’s happening and ask for sympathy and support from others.

It’s about how you deal with that problem after enough time has passed. Maybe it’s a problem that you’ll have with you for the rest of your life, but when you’ve taken the time to process it and accept it, how will you continue to allow it to define your life and your story?

I can honestly say that suffering from mental health issues was easily the best thing that’s ever happened to me. It’s taught me that money doesn’t matter, how important certain relationships are, and how crucial it is to find a purpose doing something that you love.

It may seem strange at first, trying to frame the negatives in your life as positives. You may even be reading this thinking I’m being ridiculous and fanciful. But it works. When you come to understand that life is a mountain to climb, with ups and downs, rather than a straight road to walk, it helps you handle the negatives and work for the positives more.

If you’re interested in listening to more on this, there is a great TED Talk by Andrew Solomon on the subject.

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George Bell is a freelance content strategist and mental health writer, who blogs for The Huffington Post, leading mental health charities and his own personal site on mental health issues. You can reach him at

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Will Aylward