Staying positive and optimistic during times of crisis can be challenging, but it’s critical to your mental well-being and immune system. Today, due to the hindrances caused by the Coronavirus pandemic, even individuals with the sunniest of outlooks may be having a hard time staying positive. Remaining optimistic in the face of social distancing and isolation, dystopian and constant news about the virus, possible loss of income, communal grief, uncertainty, and gripping fear, requires conscious effort and continuous mindfulness.
Throughout the years, numerous studies and research projects have shown a correlation between overall health and optimism. Being vigilant of our mood in today’s pandemic environment should be a priority to us all. Remaining calm and constructive at times of uncertainty can help us navigate through difficulties and find a path towards our more resilient selves. Here are ten things you can do, starting today, to improve your positive outlook:
Practice gratefulness. Even when life seems bleak, there are things we still have for which we should be grateful. Keep a gratefulness journal or do a quick morning gratefulness meditation. Notice both significant and small items for which you are thankful. Important things can include your home and shelter, your health, your family, your friends, your ability to put food on your table, and other essentials. Small things are more momentary pleasures, like a hot cup of coffee, a calming bath, a good book, or a funny meme. Be sure to include as much detail into your gratefulness practice as possible.
Start your day with a positivity routine. Morning routines are important to begin with, but even more so during times of crisis. Don’t reach for your phone to check the news as soon as you wake up or while you’re still in bed. Take a few minutes to find yourself – and smile.
Slow down. Don’t rush into things, including any conclusions about information you’re getting from the news or things you’re hearing from family and friends. There is no need to hurry right now. One of the benefits of social isolation is your ability to pace yourself and let go of some usual anxieties.
Relax your body. Check-in on your muscles regularly and if you’re tensing up your jaw, or your shoulders, or if you’re frowning, breathe and relax. Get into the habit of doing quick body scans throughout the day.
Exercise. This should be part of your daily routine already, but now even more so. If you’re an active individual, odds are you’ve made necessary adjustments to keep exercising at home instead of at your usual gym which is likely on lockdown right now.
Incorporate humor and laughter into your day. This is one of the most important steps you should take in improving your positivity and benefiting from a more optimistic disposition. Numerous studies have confirmed short-term and long-term benefits of laughter on the human body and mind.
Walk away from distressful conversations and situations. In today’s highly stressful pandemic environment, it is easy to get pulled into negative interactions and exchanges that can leave us feeling distressed, frightened, insecure and pessimistic. Recognizing these encounters early on and removing ourselves from these situations and interactions can help us manage our stress and contribute to our positivity. This also includes obsessing over constant news coverage, and updates about the spread of the virus. Staying informed and aware of what is happening locally and globally are important, and we should all make sure we are as educated and prepared as possible. But creating a healthy balance between news consumption and our daily routines is also crucial in helping us maintain a sense of normalcy and control over our mental health.
Have faith. I’m not talking about religious faith, although if you are a religious person and can draw from your belief systems, you most definitely should! I’m talking about having faith in humanity; in science; in technology; in our health care heroes; in collaboration; in the good in people; in our resilience; in our perseverance; in our ability to overcome even the most outrageous of obstacles to grow and evolve; in our future; in our constant and mutual commitment to improve ourselves and our communities; in our kindness; in our empathy; in our desire to provide a good life for ourselves and our loved ones; in never giving up until we find the right, permanent solution to bring this virus to heel. In life after Corona and everything we will have learned after all of this is done. Believe in yourself and your endless capacity to love.
By Golareh Safarian Lifestyle Coach, Founder at The Healing Salon