We’re in some of the most stressful times of our lives. People are getting sick, the economy is collapsing, more and more people are losing jobs or filing for unemployment, we are becoming more fearful of going outside and we have no idea when any of this will end. We can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel, which makes it all much scarier. Knowing how to stay positive and believe in that light at the end of the tunnel can help in making this time pass by more smoothly and relieve the stress of the times.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that by staying positive you’ll somehow reverse our course or change the outcomes. We still have to take precautions, practice social distancing and be vigilant; and as with any stressful period, you have to ride it out. But our ability to get through it in a healthy and constructive way depends on us maintaining a positive mindset.
Finding ways to stay positive and maintaining positive thoughts can be tough. Here are some ways you can stay positive and get through this stressful period, or any other, that may come your way.
How You Can Stay Positive
1- Stay busy and occupied
Distract yourself from what is going on around you. Much of what causes us stress are things out of our control. Continuously thinking about them, and perseverating, can cause more stress and negative thinking…and what’s the point, its out of your control anyway!
Instead, work to stay busy with work, with hobbies or tasks around your home. Set to work getting things done that you’ve been wanting to do. Distract yourself with activities that require your full attention.
2- Stay off of social media (or take breaks)
It’s important to stay up to date on the news and arm yourself with the facts and recommendations on how to handle the Coronavirus crisis. However, it’s not good to read social media posts on anecdote after anecdote of all the bad outcomes and issues plaguing healthcare and our society at this time. Being constantly surrounded by bad news can make you more stressed and make it more difficult to stay positive.
While yes, it’s important to know what’s wrong, when you surround yourself constantly with bad news, it can perpetuate negative feelings and negative thoughts, which can have a huge effect on your mental health. So, take breaks from social media and take a breather from all the news out there. Acknowledge that we are in a crazy negative situation and create positive moments for yourself to help you get through it and cope.
3- Take care of your health
Exercise is a great place to start to reduce negativity and stay positive. It mitigates your stress hormones and releases endorphins leading to calmness and happiness. Plus, it can help you let go of your tension and relieve stress. Regular exercise also boosts the immune system and helps you sleep better.
While the coronavirus outbreak has everyone sheltering in place, you can still do workouts from home. We are lucky that we live in an era of the internet. Everything is available to you online, and much of it nowadays is free. Take advantage of all of the resources we have and start exercising your way to staying positive.
You may not be able to go to the grocery store as regularly as you use to, but if you still have a home, a kitchen and ingredients to cook with, you are lucky. Stay positive with the knowledge that you have the ability to care for yourself, and use the opportunity to continue healthful eating, OR start to infuse this habit into your diet if it’s lacking.
Eating well can also serve to maintain good immune health, contribute to how well you sleep and your energy levels during the day. Food is medicine. Use it to your advantage.
Work to reduce stress
There are many ways to relieve stress and help with positive thinking. In addition to the above try to meditate and take moments for yourself to decompress. If you need some ideas to get started, check out 10 Ways to Relieve Stress and Improve Sleep.
4- Give thanks everyday for what you do have
Research shows that when you practice gratitude you can increase your happiness and sense of contentment. One way to do this is to spend time each day to make a gratitude list: write down, or take note, all the things that have happened that day, or things that you have, that you are grateful for.
Doing this can help you find something positive in each day and contribute to keeping a positive attitude. When you take note of all that you do have, you come to realize how lucky you are and it can make you feel better about whatever situation you’re in.
When you make your list, in addition to writing down the big things, jot down the small things as well. For instance, I’m grateful for my hot showers and my stockpile of tea. Be grateful for the little things as they are just as significant and important because that’s what you do/use on a day to day basis that gives you comfort and a sense of normality. Recognize and acknowledge those things and give thanks. Despite all the negative, we have a lot to stay positive.
5 – Stay connected with family and friends
Your social health is just as important as your mental health and physical health. Scheduling sessions to chat regularly with your friends and loved ones can not only relieve stress but work to give you back your sense of community and belonging while giving you an outlet.
If your friends are anything like mine, you’ll also get a good laugh and hopefully be able to make plans for getting together when this crisis has passed. Being able to plan for the future can help you stay positive and give you something to look forward to.
6 – Give back
If possible, try and find ways to give back during this time. This can be in the form of donating supplies, donating money, or donating your time, for instance helping your neighbors with groceries.
It’s hard to stay positive when you feel as if you have no control. Giving back can return that sense of control to you AND can give you positive emotions of fulfillment and satisfaction that you’re doing what you can. Plus, positivity can be contagious. Seeing your smiling face can help a neighbor pick themselves up!
Dealing with stress and crisis situations is a part of life. The bad days can take a toll if unless you are able to find a way to get through them in a positive way.
Thinking positively doesn’t mean that you are ignoring the problem. It’s a way to cope and handle it so that you can get through it in a healthy and meaningful way. Of course, there are moments when staying positive is impossible; in those instances don’t ignore your emotions. Allow yourself to feel what you need to feel. But when you feel like you need help or are looking for a way to re-focus on the positive, then I hope this list helps to get you there.
Featured image courtesy of unsplash