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The key to remaining optimistic in hard times

Author: August Clarke

When nothing seems to be going right, it can be difficult to stay positive. This is particularly relevant right now, with COVID-19 circulating. With school and highly anticipated events being shut down on top of the additional economic and medical stresses the pandemic is causing, it may not be easy for you to summon much optimism right now.

For this blog post, I am going to share with you four things I find are helping me feel happier and more positive right now.

1. Reflect on the positives in your life

I saw this TikTok that I thought was a pretty cute idea. Basically, you find a jar, decorate it however you want, and every time something good happens in your life you write it down and put it in the jar. At the end of the year (or whenever you need a boost) you can open it up and see all the great things that have happened to you that you may have forgotten about. This is awesome because, as the TikTok-er points out, it forces you to look for the great things in your life as they are happening.

If the positivity jar isn’t really your style, you can reflect in other ways too. Try spending 5 minutes each day thinking about all of the things you are grateful for or write it down in a journal if you like that better. It can go a long way in boosting your optimism.

2. Think about what you’ve GAINED from a setback, not what you have lost

This is a super important one. It’s easy to focus on the negative aspects of whatever situation you are in, but I challenge you to look for the good. For instance, COVID-19 may seem like a total bummer, but there are still positives to focus on.

Instead of moping about how you can’t see your friends, it may be helpful to think about how you can use all of your free time to tackle some of the things you have been meaning to do. Maybe you are using this time to focus on reflection and self-growth. Perhaps you can use it to do something you’ve been putting off, like spring cleaning, or fine-tuning a new talent. Maybe being stuck at home is giving you an opportunity to deepen your relationship with one of your family members. No matter how much you may be struggling to see the light at the end of the tunnel, there are always ways to look at the bright side.

3. Focus on what you can control; forget the rest

It is so frustrating when you are struggling with something that you feel you can do nothing about. The truth is, there are rarely easy solutions to our problems, and that’s a difficult thing to face. Usually the way that I try to deal with this is by focusing my energy on the things that are directly within my control and trying not to think too much about the rest.

Try to think about how you can make things better for yourself rather than trying to solve the problem itself.”

Returning to the COVID-19 example, I have no control over when the government will start opening things up again, but I do have control over my personal health and hygiene, how I use my free time to be productive, and my methods of keeping in touch with my friends (to name a few). As a pro-tip, try to think about how you can make things better for yourself rather than trying to solve the problem itself.

4. Laugh and smile often

It’s hard to maintain a negative attitude when you are laughing. What I have been trying to do during quarantine is make sure that I am regularly engaging in things that make me feel happy, and one of the most effective ways of doing that is by doing things I know will make me laugh. For some that might be watching TikToks, YouTube, or comedies on Netflix. For others, that could mean facetiming a friend who has a good sense of humour or a particularly positive outlook or sending memes back and forth. Whatever it is, try to make sure that you are looking for things to smile about!

I hope that all of these tips are useful to you. At the end of the day, remember that if you are struggling there are always people to talk to. ConnecTeen is here to support you through text, chat, or phone.


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