Positive Outlook Imperative During Tough Times

With distance learning, COVID-19 restrictions, and smoke driving us inside, it’s very easy to get wrapped up in all the negativity that is everywhere. While it can be difficult to cope with all this change in the world, it’s more important than ever for us to stay positive in the face of uncertainty.

According to Lumen Learning, positivity can lower stress levels.

Personally, adapting to online school has added to my stress levels greatly, which is why interweaving small moments of happiness into my day–like staying in touch with friends and family–has helped me stay grounded. Some people cope by exercising and relaxing to feel less stressed, and it’s important we continue doing what brings us joy.

It’s also important to remember all the good in your life to maintain perspective. According to Sanford Health, “There are still things to be thankful for…[it’s important to have] an awareness of the good things in the sense of gratitude.”

Being grateful for the little things can help you focus on the positive things you do have and shifts your attention from the negative.

Avoiding reminders of subjects that trigger anxieties or feelings of overwhelmingness is another good strategy for having a glass-half-full mentality. 1 way to do this is to limit your time watching the news.

“Media coverage tends toward sensationalism, showing repeated images designed to grab your attention, and repeated exposure to that is not good for our mental health,” said UC Irvine professor Alison Holman, according to Greater Good.

Therefore, watching the news can cause a distress cycle; fears about the future worsen as people continue watching the news. Taking a break from the news can help cast those fears from your mind and redirect it to more positive things.

Sophomore Elizabeth Chien tries not to “spend a lot of time thinking about the depressing parts of the world.”

“Remaining positive is extremely important,” said Chien. “Thinking too much about that kind of stuff and reading too much news on social media is not the healthiest thing to do.”

Keeping a good routine, while it can feel difficult, is an excellent way to stay level-headed. In Hackensack Meridian Health, doctor Ramon Solhkhah believes “a lack of structure…can contribute to stress, anxiety and even clinical depression.” Routines not only establish a sense of accomplishment but also are a good way to distract us from the crumbling world around us. They create structure in a time where it can feel like there is none.

Our daily schedules are 1 of the few things we have control over. In these chaotic times, it can be easy to forget what you do have control over. By focusing on what you do have control over, like keeping a good routine, it can establish a sense of balance.

It’s very easy to lose sight of the good things in our lives, but keeping these things at the forefront of our minds will keep us sane during these trying times.