• Leanne Harpur

Finding the Positives in Negative Times

Finding the Positives in Negative Times

The news is overwhelmingly negative at the moment, people are frightened, worried about what’s going to happen to themselves, their families and jobs. It can seem as if there is no gap in the clouds at all…but when you’re having one of those days cooped up indoors and wondering when all this will end, there are a few ways you can try to reframe what’s going on to make it, if not entirely positive, a slightly more positive experience.

This Too Will Pass…

Yes, it’s an old line, but it’s true.While we’re stuck in what seems like a never-ending quarantine it might seem that it’s never going to get better, but it will. Remind yourself that although this is horrible, scary and makes life difficult for us all, it’s temporary. While we don’t know how long it will last, normal life will resume at some point and this will all be a memory.

Find the Lesson

There will be something we can learn from the current situation, even if we’re feeling a bit lost at the moment. Psychologists who deal with trauma believe that an important way of helping someone work through it is to help them see that they have some agency, and an ability to do something to find their meaning. Think about whether there are any lessons you can learn from this crisis, things you may have found in yourself, your home, your job that can be changed in the future? Look at the bigger picture too – has the crisis fired you up to join a political party, a charity, volunteer for something? Then it hasn’t been totally in vain.

Gratitude

Feeling gratitude is the one of the quickest ways to change your mind set. If you are starting to feel overwhelmed try to list all the things in your life that you are grateful for. Start in your immediate surroundings: the place you have to self-isolate (your home), the people in your life who love you, the device you are reading this post on, having a kindle or book to read or TV to watch Netflix on, the weather (sunshine and rain are both good!). You get the idea. Then move outside your immediate circle and include things like our front line workers (from cleaners and catering to nurses and doctors), farmers for keeping the food supply going, delivery drivers, grocery store workers, and no mater what your political beliefs, I think we can all be thankful we don’t have the “big orange fella” in charge!

Move Left and Right

That sounds odd but stay with me…Research has shown that doing repetitive movements like knitting, coloring and painting – even jumping rope, are helpful at self-soothing because of the way they engage your brain in the activity and need you to concentrate. Even better are activities that engage the left side of your brain: running, drumming, skating, or hopping. Or join an online yoga or exercise class. My boys go outside and hit the sliotar off the wall of the house REPEATEDLY! These simple things can be surprisingly calming…Probably why adult coloring books and running are so popular?

Express Yourself Artistically

Many people seem to be indulging their creativity at the moment, and there’s a good reason to encourage this. The part of the brain that deals with emotions is very receptive to creativity, and this makes creative pursuits a great way to express your feelings. Stick with something you know or try a new pastime – but make it creative: drawing, dancing, music, singing, learning a musical instrument. It doesn’t matter if you’re technically accomplished, it’s about releasing emotions and engaging your creative brain.

Start A Long-Term Project

So, you’ve always wanted to learn how to play an instrument, there’s a 1000-piece jigsaw puzzle or expert LEGO set you’ve been meaning to tackle, and you’ve never completed a Rubik’s cube. What better time to make a start? Your choice of project doesn’t have to be anything challenging or highbrow either – perhaps you’ve always wanted to read the Harry Potter books or watch Game of Thrones but never got around to it? Start now, give yourself something to distract you from the things you have no say or control over.


If all else fails...take a nap!



Keep calm and stay safe…

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