The stress and anxiety that we are continuously exposed to can be contagious and impact our relationships and our own feelings of safety, internal peace, and positive outlook. On a philosophical level, I can’t help but hope that the level of disruption we are experiencing will result in a progressive transformation for our whole culture and us as individuals; that it will force us to rethink how we measure success and really see one another.
Although positive transformation is what I hope for, I must also admit that I have been struggling to keep it together. I feel grief and depression, like so many of us. While I know I am not alone in this suffering, my empathy for others leaves me feeling helpless at times. I witness the spreading of the negativity and that sinks me further. But my internal voice tells me that we need positivity now more than ever. So how can we create and spread microcosms of goodness in resistance to the bullsh*t we see in the world around us? Here are a few things that I have found help:
- Try TIE: TIE stands for Temporary, Isolated, and Effort… so when I am feeling super down I remind myself that this feeling is temporary, that it is isolated to this specific part of my life (i.e. there are other things going well, and people who love me), and finally, if I make an effort I can change the way I’m feeling or this circumstance to make it better. (credit for TIE goes to 6 Seconds, The Emotional Intelligence Network – see video for educators below)
- Channel energy towards something that feels healing and good. This is something that I turn to instinctively as a self preservation mechanism – as exemplified by Myles Ahead. For me, cooking healthy meals or walking in nature are invariably things that make me feel good. I love to share some of what I have prepared with friends, or when I am out in nature, I pick up random garbage to leave the space better than how I found it.
- Sometimes on those nature walks, I have to quell my frustration at the disposable bottles and coffee cups I pick up, and that is when I practice ‘letting it go’. I wrote about this before. It is tough to get good at letting things go, but it is hugely liberating and a great thing to role model. It may be helpful to remember that when we don’t let it go, we are actually hurting ourselves rather than creating something good.
- Remember that emotions are contagious… We all know this to be true. Walk into an argument, and you can feel the energy. Someone smiling at you on the street brings a completely different energy. So if we want to try to create an antidote to all the stressful challenges the world is facing at large these days for ourselves and the kids in our lives, we can do that by practicing consciously to find things that help us feel good and bring that energy with us as we walk through our days. #SpreadTheLove!
At the end of the day, the human spirit and our desire to make the world a better place has to be the antidote to the confusion and chaos in the world. How empowering is it to know that you and me – that we collectively – have the power to be a part of that positive transformation? For me, it brings a sense of hope and that we are creating and growing a positive microcosm of positivity together as a community. And let’s face it, that is pretty awesome!
For Children: 8 picture books that inspire a positive outlook.
For Youth: A film about a conjuring optimist.
For Caregivers: A video that explains the Optimism Technique: creating perspective in challenging times.
For Educators: A Social Emotional Learning expert explains how educators can use and increase optimism.