At a time when the world feels like it’s spiraling out of control, it’s hard to retain our sense of individual purpose. It’s easy to feel like our actions are insignificant in the vastness of the globe and its problems, but honing in on these three things we still control is a great solution for not letting hopelessness overwhelm you.
Focus: While the pandemic may have you missing things like vacations or parties, it also means you have the time to truly invest your time into whatever you choose. So how are you using this distraction-free time? Are you endlessly scrolling social media or are you finally starting that book you’ve always wanted to write. Are you aimlessly wandering the house or are you going to get on the phone and call your representative to participate in initiating real political change?
Attitude: One thing we do have control over is our own attitude. Recognize the privilege you may have in being able to safely sit in your home and ask yourself “how can I see this differently?” Practicing gratitude is one of the best ways to see your current situation in a positive light. You have the chance to take a rest, learn a language, or just enjoy that virtual happy hour with friends. Focus on what you have, not what you have lost.
Reactivity: You want to be informed and responsible, yes. But you don’t need to be glued to the news. That doesn’t help anyone. Research has shown that stress can suppress the immune system, which makes us more susceptible to any illness.
So why not dial down the outer world noise each day and take some “joy breaks”? Limit your news intake and social media scrolling to an hour each day — that’s still a lot! Go for a walk, if that’s allowed in your area. Enjoy your coffee or tea in the mornings on the sofa or on your patio with some classical music playing. And don’t forget: not all news media paint the world in such a bleak color. At the Optimist Daily, we are working hard to change the tenor of news media away from panic-inducing click bait.