It’s not so easy to be upbeat sometimes. With bad things happening and uncertainty all around, life can get nerve-racking. Yet there are ways for keeping positive in negative times. All it takes is a little bit of focus.
Fear, Isolation, and Uncertainty
There are a lot of things that can make us freak out: when a new threat is introduced into our life, when the things we normally depend on are missing or thrown into chaos, when we are separated from those we know and care about, or when we simply don’t know what’s next.
It’s even worse when all of these hit at once. As much as we want to be happy, cheerful, and positive, it can be a chore. How do we live a wowful life when there’s so much negativity around us? What’s the secret for keeping positive in negative times?
There is no magic elixir to take to make all our troubles go away, but there are a few easy things we can do to make things better. In fact, just doing three things can add a lot of calm into an otherwise chaotic situation.
Look for Bright Spots
As people were starting to freak out about Covid-19 (I mean – toilet paper? With all the possible options of things to stockpile you want toilet paper?) it was tough to see the good news. Because there was so much confusion early on with conflicting reports depending on where you were getting your news, no one knew what to expect.
When everyone started to realize how serious it was, there was a lot of panic and a lot of fear. There was a lot to complain about and a lot to be concerned about.
But when have complaining and worry ever helped anyone? These are not methods for keeping positive in negative times.
Instead, we need to look at bright spots. Instead of looking at the people hoarding so much toilet paper that you’d think they were going to TP Buckingham Palace, find the stories of the courageous men and women making the situation better.
When I was searching around on a break, I came across a Bored Panda article that highlighted some of the bright spots during social isolation. It changed my perspective from one of frustration to one of hope.
Share the Bright Spots
At the same time it’s not just enough to experience the good for yourself. It’s better to share. Why? For two reasons.
First of all, when I found that article, I shared it on social media. As people started reacting to it I felt even better. Why? Because I was helping others deal with the situation as well. Instead of worrying what would happen to their jobs, their bills, and their health, they were focusing on the best in humanity and being inspired.
Additionally, it was a great time to create bright spots, perhaps by baking cookies for neighbors or volunteering to deliver food. During that same time I saw a lot of people on social media offer to pay bills for others – up to ten people a week.
Keeping positive in negative times is an active proposition: you must put effort into making your world better. Share the bright spots so that the positivity starts to spread.
The best way to keep the positivity flowing is to stop the negativity.
When things are going south we like to know what’s going on. I was off the week of 9/11 and when it happened I just sat in front of the TV all day looking for any little bit of information I could get.
But the fact is I didn’t need that information. Most of it wouldn’t help me in the least. Of the hours of chaos and destruction I consumed I really only needed to know about 5 minutes worth of information.
Sometimes the best thing we can do for our mental health is to stop absorbing information. Keeping positive in negative times requires us to detox from a constant stream of information that really isn’t informing us at all, but just keeping us focused on things we can’t control.
Instead, take time away to focus on living life. Find things to enjoy. Focus on the bright spots and share them with friends. Work on actively making the world better.
Life has hiccups, trials, and complete upheaval, but if we focus on the good and give less of our time to the bad, we can make our world better for us and for the people we share it with.