Ever since the pandemic hit us, many have gone into isolation. During this time, we saw an increase in mental health cases such as depression and anxiety. Due to the isolation and loneliness, some people found it extremely difficult to cope during this period. Especially when you are stuck at home alone for a long period of time, derived from human interaction. Thus, we must always find ways to stay optimistic during these difficult times. Keeping our head up and setting a goal for the future and striving towards it.
As many of us struggle silently, away from all the glitz and glamour of the world, most do not reach out for help. Therefore, it is important for friends and family alike to check up on each other regularly. Contact your sibling that’s been stuck in another state due to school. Ring up that friend that used to text you every day. A simple “how are you” or “what’s up” can mean a lot to many people.
Staying Optimistic During Difficult Times
1. It Is Okay To Feel Down Or Sad
The first thing you need to do in order to stay optimistic, is to acknowledge that you are allowed to feel sad. It is valid if you are not functioning as you used to. Burnouts are okay. These are emotions that are a part of you and you need to feel and let them out in order to release them healthily. Keeping it all in may even be bad for your health. It is completely fine to break down as well. There is nothing wrong with feeling emotions. As long as you let yourself release in a healthy way, you can strive towards being more optimistic.
2. Build Emotional Resilience
Emotional resilience refers to reacting strategically and well to stressful situations and bad experiences. When you receive bad news such as the passing of a loved one, your emotions can go into meltdown. With good emotional resilience, it can help to deal with stressful situations and bad days much easier. To build emotional resilience, you first need to be aware of your feelings and responses to all the different situations. Next, practice the art of thinking before you act. Understand your negative emotions and actions, create a decision-making system to help cope in difficult situations. Be sure to allow yourself to fail without treating it as if it’s a defining moment in your life.
3. Be Social
With the initial circuit breaker rules, we couldn’t go out and meet with friends as we did in the past. During the lockdown, we found ways to interact online. So, to help you stay optimistic during trying times, find ways to stay social. Even if you don’t feel like going out, there are numerous ways to be sociable. For example, all the different social media platforms where you can interact with friends and even make new friends! Even if it is playing games and making friends, it allows you to interact with others. Thus, you are able to stay social and optimistic.
4. Practice Mindfulness
Practising mindfulness can help us with positive thinking and even helps with building emotional resilience. Mindfulness allows you to become more aware of your surroundings and yourself. There are many ways to practice mindfulness, including meditation, yoga, breathing exercises or more. The goal of mindfulness is to make you aware of living in the moment, rather than worrying about a future that hasn’t happened yet. Thus, it can help you stay optimistic about what you have right now. Allowing you to think positively about your present situation.
For some people, exercising can be a happy place. Some people find peace and relaxation in exercising as it allows them to focus on one thing only. Exercising can also make you feel good about yourself, especially when you do it for your own benefit. When you exercise and sweat, chemicals such as dopamine and endorphins are released from your body. These chemicals are powerful as they can make you feel happy and positive. Therefore, it even helps lower our stress levels. The best part is that you don’t have to perform intense workouts, as simple exercises that make you sweat is sufficient enough.
6. Exploring Nature
Exploring nature or taking care of plants can help with your mental health. Research has shown that spending time with nature can actually help with mental health issues such as anxiety and depression. This is considered ecotherapy and can be done just by interacting with nature. As it makes you feel positive and optimistic about yourself.
7. Music Can Help
Music can be a big part of someone’s life. Like musicians who have said that music is what they live for, just listening to music can save a person as well. Listening to music can help improve your mood and mental health. Shocking as it is, you don’t have to just listen to happy music to feel happy. Studies have shown that listening to sad music can actually make you feel happier. Of course, all this depends on the person themselves. So, go with what’s right for you. Music also allows you to connect with other people who feel the same as you do. So, it is also a form of social interaction which allows people to feel less alone. Most of the time people tend to like listening to music that contains lyrics that are relatable.
8. Self-Care Is Important
Self-care is just as important in making yourself feel optimistic and positive. Treating yourself once in a while or rewarding yourself for achievements no matter big or small is also impactful in your mood. Although it seems insignificant, it can actually make you feel more positive and happy about yourself. So, eat dessert for breakfast, buy that pair of shoes you’ve been eyeing or just relax all day. Taking care of yourself is the best way to make yourself feel good and become more optimistic during times of difficulty.
9. Focus On The Positive
Once in a while, you should stop everything you are doing and focus on all the positive things you have in your life. Reflect on every good thing that has happened to you. Big or small. Acknowledging that you are happy, even if you didn’t notice it can improve your mood and positivity towards life. The ‘three good things exercise’ is excellent for instantly transporting you to a happy place. With this exercise, you can list three good things that happened to you that day.