Positivity | How Do We Find the Bright Side?

Washington (GGM) Analysis | March 27, 2020
NWHillReport-Pic by Noreen Wise

With so much concern and worry and upheaval, layered on top of a traumatic health crisis that spans the globe, which impacts every single life on earth in some way, it’s hard not to feel completely overwhelmed and helpless. Many of our livelihoods have been uprooted and some smashed to the ground. We’re forced to abruptly move in a new direction and quickly master the challenges. That’s very easy to say, but much harder to do. In fact, how do we actually accomplish this?

One step at a time. The following are a few small takeaways that I learned from twenty-five years of surviving traumatic events. I often wonder if I hold the world record for how many life-altering extreme crises a human can overcome. I keep following this same procedure though, so I’m hopeful it will be beneficial to others.

  • Follow advice. When all the key experts say the same thing, and data highlights the validity, as well as our common sense, we simply must do it. In this case, stay home. With the concept being so easy to grasp, why are so many not following through? Probably because it’s difficult. Somewhere in our subliminal conscious we might feel frustrated that this is being forced upon us and we want to rebel.
  •  Changing our perspective. I admit, I’m a very healthy person with a strong immune system and feel that I’ll likely not catch covid-19, although I might somehow become an asymptomatic carrier. I’ve convinced myself that if I stay away from everyone, I can still go out. I run on nearby trails and am very careful to leave a 6 foot gap between anyone I pass. However, while running today, a tiny gnat flew into my mouth. I quickly conjured up a mental image of the little critter flying along the trail, touching every person it passed and now it was in my throat. I was horrified. From now on, I’ll wear an improvised face mask when I run.
  •  Using the right lens. But just because I feel relatively protected running on a trail, I have to check myself about other possible outings (Friday night takeout pizza for example). My rule of thumb is to ask myself, would I go for pizza if this crisis was Chernobyl? No, I definitely wouldn’t. So I tell myself that that’s what this is. Extreme circumstances. Sacrifice pizza. Easy.
  • Nature. Surrounding myself with nature, especially lots of trees, flowers, and green meadows, elevates my spirit every time, without fail. Beautiful trails are usually free.HillReport3-27-2020a
  • Finding the silver lining. I’m sure many of us the first week had a long list of frustrations about why this is so maddening. I know I did, especially after 25 years of life-altering, unfair traumas. Not again, was all I could think. But since my normal routine is to search for the positive when I begin to feel negative, I happily racked my brain:
    • There won’t be any school massacres this spring. This is a big deal. Back in January, I became very worried about a possible spring school massacre. White Nationalists had been gathering and seemingly plotting attacks, and with the 2020 election season beginning, I was fearful there would be another horrific slaughter. But now, no chance. This is a huge blessing.
    • Students who are constantly bullied at school, will have a much needed break from all the cruelty.
    • Be careful for what you wish for. I’ve been stressing about finishing several screenplays for over nine months, but haven’t had time to finish, and may have said a few too many prayers about this. Now I have plenty of time to finish.
    • It seems highly probable, that many young people between the ages of 16 – 24, will find completely new career paths to pursue. By late summer 2020, they’ll be thanking their lucky stars for this unexpected curveball that altered their destiny.
  • Starting the morning on the right foot. Eating right is essential for positivity. I start every morning with 1/4 cup of organic, raw sunflower seed kernels. It’s the ultimate happiness boost. Once done, it’s ten times easier to find the bright side.
  • Getting a good night’s sleep. Deep sleep is very important. Eye shields that block all light, is the easiest way to get deep sleep, 6-8 hours being the ideal. I typically get 6.5 – 7 hours.
  • Exercise. A daily workout routine clears the mind, channels most frustrations and fills us with mood boosting endorphins.HillReport3-27-2020b

Going through this list every single day and checking off each when completed, creates a daily routine that becomes habit. Focusing on these small details, changes our perspective. I keep adding more positives, since everyday something new seems to pop up unexpectedly. And because I’m not able to think of the negatives, when I’m focused on the positives (our brains can only think of one thought at a time), the negatives soon become very distant. I wake up one morning and realize I’m in a whole new world and it’s a wonderful and exciting place to be.

But during a deadly pandemic, following the rules really is essential. Staying home is the bright side. Being attached to a ventilator in a packed, makeshift hospital in convention center is definitely a negative that’s nearly impossible to overcome.🌱

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