Today’s Solutions: November 29, 2021

Almost everywhere you look in the traditional media, pessimistic news makes up the headlines, creating a cloud of negativity that looms over the US. For those of us with kids, how can they be raised without them adopting this pessimistic outlook on life? Here are a few ways. First, pay more attention to the positives in your life, and help your kids do the same. There’s one problem with the pessimist’s perspective: it’s wrong. Humanity has made enormous progress by almost every measure, but that progress has become the water in which we swim, and like fish, we take the water for granted. We focus on the beasts that are still out there in the deep rather than on those we have tamed because that’s what we’re designed to do—to one on possible danger and ignore the rest. To train your brain to enjoy the good stuff with equal weight, try this: the next time you hear a good story or achieve something in your own life, deliberately rest your mind on that experience and stay with it—and encourage your kids to do the same. The second way is to change the language you use to describe current events.  Researchers found that even when people with a more pessimistic outlook use positive language to describe situations they find traumatic, their feelings about the situation become more positive, and their more generalized sense of optimism increases. That’s something we can try at home. Next, moderate your news intake. On any given day, ugly things have been said and done, and our 24/7 media cycle ensures we don’t miss a minute of it. Being informed by all those terrible things won’t do much good in your life, so why keep your new notifications on at all times? Lastly, involve yourself in your community. Passionately following the “big scary” news can not only leave us feeling helpless and distraught, but it can also distract us from the smaller issues where knowing the facts, and then acting, voting or volunteering, as a result, might make a difference. Instead, put your energy towards making sure you and your family are a part of the world immediately around you.

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