The uncertainty of our times is perhaps the most significant challenge we face.
The stop/start nature of the seemingly unending series of lockdowns can test the mettle of even the most optimistic among us.
So, how can you maintain a positive outlook when the cloud of ever-recurring lockdowns looms heavy overhead?
Is it even possible?
Yes. Not only is it possible, but it is essential.
Let’s look at a few powerful practices to help keep a positive mindset in these testing times.
If you want to get your mind right, get your body right first.
Vigorous exercise releases endorphins into the bloodstream. These ‘feel-good’ chemicals act as pain relief and help produce a feeling of well-being in the brain.
The mood-boosting effects of exercise will help you avoid getting bogged down in the mud of anxiety and depression.
Get moving and keep moving.
Cultivate an Optimistic Outlook
Optimists live longer. According to recent research, up to 15% longer on average.
A shift in your outlook doesn’t only improve your health and longevity. It makes your life more enjoyable too.
Easier said than done, though, right?
Optimism is about the cultivation of a positive mindset. Try to focus on the positives of any given situation.
Stuck in lockdown? Be grateful for the extra time it affords you to work on your goals.
Miss your friends and family? Take a moment to nurture these relationships by letting the important people in your life know how much they mean to you.
Find the silver lining in every cloud; this is the mission and the mark of the optimist.
Limit Social Media Use and News Consumption
24-hour news cycles and social media are a combination dangerous to our mental health, particularly in times such as these.
We’re hardwired to focus on danger and the signs of trouble.
It’s an evolutionary impetus that has kept us in the game since the earliest times. However, our instinct for focusing on the negatives and the threats in our environment can also be our undoing.
Sure, you might need to know the latest restrictions to keep yourself on the right side of law enforcement, but do you really need to check Facebook every 15 minutes?
The constant torrent of information and counter-information can get exhausting and demoralising.
Consume the media sparingly – don’t be wholly consumed by it.
The regenerating power of nature is undoubted. Ideally, spend some time in the park or your garden.
However, if this isn’t possible, there are still options.
Stand on your balcony and soak up some fresh air first thing in the morning. Even open a window, sit near it for a while, and listen to the birds.
No birds? No problem. You’ll find recordings of birdsong easily online. Simply close your eyes and allow your imagination to generate the natural world for you.
Unquestionably, these are challenging times. But, as the old Persian adage has it, This too shall pass. Don’t lose sight of this simple fact.
Remember to check in with yourself throughout the day.
If you find negativity is swamping you, take a moment to gently guide your thoughts towards those things in life you are grateful for – and there are plenty of things worthy of your gratitude.
Remember too, that it is only when faced with resistance that we can grow stronger.
See the opportunity in the difficulties that lie ahead and seize it.