Any tips about staying positive in tough times? There are some stressed-out people in my circle sharing negativity with everyone around them and I don’t want that to be me.
First, compassion. We all lose our composure sometimes. It takes a strong will not to let dark moods and scary situations bleed into interactions with others. It’s natural to want to vent. There is a line; however, that one should not cross. It happens when we stoke the fears of others unnecessarily rather than exercising some restraint.
Dr. Hans Hagemann suggests “cognitive jujitsu”: When you feel anxious, don’t suppress it, describe it – are you angry, overloaded, or what? Labeling your state of mind (possibly in writing) uses the prefrontal cortex of your brain, which is more rational. This tames the stress-fueled limbic system in the middle of the brain and restores peace.
My usually cool-as-a-cucumber co-worker vented briefly today. It struck me as a textbook example of emotionally intelligent communication. He opened up about a few concerns and it actually helped me feel better. He shared that he heard a podcast that “sent his mind reeling all damn night.” And then he moved on to state two positives: “I’m appreciative to have more time with my kids, the flexibility to work from home. . .” and wrapped up with a reminder that we’ll (hopefully soon) be meeting over lunch (out) again.
We can cope with uncertainty by adopting a growth mindset. Skills we’re gaining now will be useful for each of us in the days ahead and in generations to come.
We can cope with uncertainty by making a quick list of all that is not changing. Perspective is powerful.
Any new normal will include some of the more comfortable conditions of the past.
It’s often wise to challenge thought patterns. Notice what you’re telling yourself, your running dialogue. The mind likes to seize upon possible negative outcomes and project them into worst-case scenarios. It’s trying to help, but that impulse was more useful earlier in our species’ evolution. It can become a drain on our own energy and on those with whom we interact in present day life.
So, you have an important choice to make: will you focus on the (scarier) possible or the (more likely) probable? If you make no choice, your mind will control you rather than the (much healthier) other way around.
If during trying times, we are impacted less than others, we can keep our privileges in mind. Take a small step to show concern for others’ welfare or uplift someone today. Immediate payoff is palpable: you become part of the solution.