Nov 04, 2020

How to Keep a Positive Attitude During Tough Times

By Joyce Venezia Suss

The year 2020 has presented extreme challenges to most people, largely because of the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic impact; natural weather disasters; and a volatile political atmosphere. While it would be easy to sink into a state of despair, it’s important to avoid the negativity and focus on the positive.

That may be easier said than done, but it’s important for your physical and mental health, and to help lift the spirits of those around you. Here are some suggestions to help you feel hopeful about the future and improve your quality of life.

Start the day on a positive note. Wake up with enough time to dress and eat breakfast, and listen to music instead of the news.

Focus on the good, even if it’s in short supply. A classic Jewish quote states, “Who is rich? He who rejoices in his portion.” There is always something to be grateful for, no matter how small.

Spread good thoughts. Instead of complaining to others, share jokes, observations about upbeat topics or photos of your adorable pet. Spread compliments and keep smiling. Avoid controversial topics, even if you have to walk away.

Do good things for others. Share a treat or some flowers with a lonely neighbor. Bring food to a food pantry. Offer to watch a friend’s children while she takes a walk. The act of giving is contagious and makes you feel a sense of accomplishment.

Always have something to look forward to. That doesn’t have to be an expensive vacation. It can be as simple as planning for a weekend outing, or treating yourself to a pumpkin spice latte on the way home from work.

Visualize. Think about – and start planning, if only in your head – happy events in the future. If you lose your job, consider it as an opportunity for something even better. Remember the adage, “When one door closes, another one opens.”

Think positive – and speak positive. Even if you are dealing with a financial or health crisis, focus on the “glass half full” and incorporate that into your conversations. Turn “I can’t” to “I can.” Instead of complaining, find something positive that’s worth sharing. Likewise, hang out with positive people. Their optimism is inspiring – and contagious in a good way!

Meditate – anyone can do it! Practice simple breathing and stretching routines, and learn to clear your mind. There are apps that can guide you through the process of relieving your anxiety.

Find constructive ways to unwind and relax. Instead of watching endless news shows, opt for classic movies, comedies, or home and food networks. Take up a new hobby or do some crafting. Exercise, soak in a scented bath, read a good book, bake cookies and put together jigsaw puzzles.

Music can change your mood. You can sing along to your favorite upbeat songs – and dancing is even better. But surprisingly, sad songs sometimes bring back good memories and carry strong messages that can make you feel better. Miranda Lambert’s “The House That Built Me” is a good example.

It’s OK to have a brief pity party. When bad things happen, you are allowed to cry, get mad, feel sad – get it out of your system. But if sad thoughts linger and depression sets in, reach out to your support network or find professional help.

Recharge your batteries. Get enough sleep. Take a mental health day to switch off the outside world. Take a walk during your lunch hour.

Lastly, just smile! Turning your lips upward actually releases endorphins and serotonin, the “feel-good” hormones.