Did quarantine get you down? If you’re like me, and just about everyone else, you’re sick and tired of the grip this pandemic has on us. I’ve used so much alcohol-based hand sanitizer that my hands feel hungover. And what about these masks? I don’t even recognize friends in public anymore. Should I say “hello” if their eyes look familiar? I’m basically socially distant from my old way of life. Now pile on job loss, canceled vacations, and closed movie theaters, so it’s hard to escape from reality. This takes its toll on our happiness our health, and it’s difficult to stay positive.
I see billboards saying, “We are all in this together!” Does that make you feel better? Maybe a little. It reminds us that our anguish is shared by other people. Your level of misery varies depending on your circumstances but knowing that others are suffering from us makes us feel a little better in an odd way. We can say, “Well, at least everyone else is miserable too.” That notion doesn’t warm my heart, so what can we do to stay positive through negative circumstances?
Everything Starts with Gratitude
Begin with the fact that things can certainly be worse. When we focus on what we have instead of what we don’t have, our gratitude takes control of our attitude. What you focus on gets bigger. If you focus on problems, they get bigger.
If you focus on your blessings, they become bigger than any problems. The choice is yours. When you start your morning routine, recall three things you’re grateful for and when you lie down for bed, think of three things that happened that day that were positive and think of what you are looking forward to tomorrow.
Keep it in Perspective
When we feel stress or anxiety, our mind becomes intensely focused on the problem. Problems appear bigger than they are. We need perspective. If you rank all of your problems on a scale of 1-10 where 1 is a spilled drink and 10 is a true catastrophe, most of your problems will be 1’s or 2’s. Instead of globalizing the situation, ask yourself, “Will I still be as worried about this next week?” or “Will I even care about this a year from now?” Asking these questions helps put everything in perspective and reduce your stress and anxiety.
Undo a Negative Feeling
You need to remind yourself that you are in control. You, and only you, get to decide how you feel at any moment in time. You can undo a negative feeling by refocusing your attention on something that makes you happy. Treat yourself to an at-home spa day, or just listen to your music of choice. Maybe watch a good movie on TV, workout, or do a recreational activity that makes you feel good. The popular idea is to do a virtual happy hour with friends and make yourself a drink and some snacks.
When you implement these tips in your daily routine, you can change the lens through which you look at the world. You become more optimistic, and your stress and anxiety levels decrease. Your health and happiness will thank you for staying positive and keeping your chin up.