Today our country continues to grapple with a global pandemic. Many Americans find themselves unable to shake the negative physical and emotional stress that has plagued them for months – and it’s difficult for many to see an end to the devastation. But Americans are vigorous responders to crises and have proven repeatedly to be results-oriented. We like to deal with crises, get over them as quickly as possible and move on. So, in the midst of the ongoing uncertainty, we are adjusting our behavior and adapting our expectations.
We encourage everyone to balance their perception of these challenging circumstances with realistic optimism, where it’s warranted. There is plenty of evidence for the power of positivity that we think is worth repeating. A good place to start is simply accepting that it’s difficult to be positive in a crisis. Overcoming a default sense of dread is a personal responsibility some can accept and some cannot. Here are some steps we have been encouraging among our family and friends.
First, take a moment to envision every positive thing you can identify in your life. The old admonition to ‘count your blessings’ is never bad advice when spoken to yourself. Many of those blessings are the people in your life, so take time to express your gratitude to them. Make extra-ordinary time to experience a sense of awe and inspiration for things you do enjoy, allowing yourself the opportunity to reflect on joyful times. Bringing this feeling of joy into the present moment can allow you to look forward to things you expect to enjoy in the future.
Another step for some could be to detach as much as possible from things you cannot control. Shift these attachments to matters you can control. Record voter turnout this year is proving a perfect example of this healthy human avenue, regardless of your political outlook. For a lot of us, tuning out and turning off the news to read a book or spend time outdoors alone or with family or friends can do wonders. Nature’s fresh air and sunshine have long been praised for elevating your physical and emotional well-being. LAUGH – a lot! Volunteer your time to someone in need – this almost always brings our own problems into a different perspective. Concentrating on a passion or a purpose is a great way to get the endorphins flowing. It’s contagious too. Others will see you, inspiring them to follow.
Seek the companionship of a loyal and trustworthy friend or family member. Sometimes deep personal feelings shared with a trusted confidant will empty the power of those feelings. You may draw strength from your companion and possibly help them as much as yourself.
Finally, remember these steps are more natural than they may seem and need only repetition to gain rhythm and momentum. Human beings will always be subject to positive and negative feelings, but we have the power to choose which ones to feed and which to starve. Commitment to nurturing a positive attitude can often lead to better decisions and more flexibility in adapting to challenging change.
Have a great weekend!