Optimism feels a little harder to come by these days. We’re in the midst of an unprecedented pandemic that has upended what normalcy looks like across our day-to-day lives. Every new update we read or hear seems to get grimmer by the minute.
The world doesn’t look like it did a few months ago. If you’re having a difficult time adjusting, don’t be too hard on yourself. Everyone is facing uncertainty right now. If you’re an employee, remote work may have started taking its toll, or you may be unsure when you’ll be able to return to work again. If you’re a business owner, worrying about your employees and the health of your business has undoubtedly weighed heavily on you for all these months.
Even beyond the COVID-19 crisis, difficult periods of life are never easy. It may be hard to maintain a positive mindset during these dark times, but you can’t let panic, fear, or anxiety consume you. How do you withstand the ebbs and flows of uncertainty? Here are seven tips for staying positive:
1. Reflect on what you’re grateful for
No matter what you’re going through, there is always something to be grateful for — your family, a good friend, your pets, or even just sitting outside. Spending time in reflection doesn’t always come naturally to everyone, so be patient with yourself as you practice drowning out the bad with a more positive, focused perspective.
2. Surround yourself with positivity
Studies have proven that moods can be contagious. Surrounding yourself with people who make you feel good will boost your mood. Leaders often bring their work stressors home with them, so carving out time for family or friends helps ensure you don’t go to bed in a bad mood.
3. Prioritize your physical health
Mental health and physical health impact one another. A poor night’s sleep, an unhealthy diet, and insufficient exercise can have adverse effects on your mood. Taking care of your physical health will leave you less stressed or tired throughout the day.
4. Limit your internet use
Posts you see on social media or news articles you read online often incite more negativity than hope. If you find yourself feeling anxious after spending time on your phone or computer, start limiting your daily internet usage. It’s important to stay informed, but it’s also essential to preserve your mental health.
5. Spend time in nature
Spending five minutes a day outside can increase your happiness. Strive to do more hiking, running, cycling, or simply relaxing outside. Small steps in activity yield big changes in attitude.
6. Keep a journal
Writing therapy is an effective form of expression. Negativity is often hard to put into words, which makes talking it through all the more difficult. Simply putting pen to paper can help you better process your emotions.
7. Do something nice for someone
Small acts of kindness help put our own lives into perspective. Doing something nice for a friend who’s been struggling through a tough time, or supporting an organization that’s close to your heart, can make your challenges seem less daunting.
A notable psychiatrist, Viktor Frankl, says this in his book Man’s Search for Meaning: “Ultimately, man is not subject to the conditions that confront him; rather, these conditions are subject to his decision. Wittingly or unwittingly, he decides whether he will face up or give in, whether or not he will let himself be determined by the conditions.” In other words, you have control over how you respond to uncertainty, so embrace positivity instead of negativity.