How to stay positive during difficult times
I recently received an email from a former client, a friend who I will call “Cleo”, to protect her privacy.
I really admire Cleo. As a retired lawyer, she's been a tireless animal rights advocate and environmental activist, always defending those who cannot defend themselves, making a difference in many ways.
I am fully aware that Cleo may read this message, and I want to emphasize that I am sharing this story with appreciation for her work and my deep respect. In fact, I have probably acted the same way in the past.
To give you more details, Cleo sent me an e-mail in which she shared her response to a blog called The Most Unpleasant Article You’ll Ever Read, that a prominent holistic healer sent to her in a newsletter.
Here is Cleo’s response:
Given the on-going stress, anxiety, loneliness, sadness that so many are experiencing these days, is there a chance that in each of your daily newsletters you could start to include even one happy, positive snippet which makes people feel a bit better & even put a tiny smile on their faces? Although your articles are so well-researched and informative, these days we could all stand a bit of pleasure, levity, humour, compassion somehow linked in. Otherwise, WE ARE WEIGHED DOWN BY SHEER NEGATIVITY."
First off, I tip my hat to Cleo for writing this honest and “spot-on” reply. In fact, I wrote to her saying how much I appreciated her statement. But as time progressed, I realized that even though Cleo meant well by cc’ing me, the article she sent me had a negative impact on me. It brought me down. I was experiencing the infectious nature of negative marketing first-hand.
I guess the creator of the negative message possibly meant well, but I dare to suggest that they were fully aware of the addictive and irresistible nature of negative messaging, especially because the page was full of ads for products.
This year has been very challenging and difficult for many people, and I trust you will agree that we all would benefit from happy and uplifting news in light of 2020.
I remember that in 2019, almost everyone I know was stretched to the max, having less and less time for what really mattered. They didn’t have enough time for their dogs, family, and friends, or for taking their time in nature and noticing the beauty of the world around us.
There is a silver lining to 2020, as it has made us slow down enough to see that our society needs to change the way we live, and exit the crazy ever speeding train of "modern life." In early 2020, civilization was running at full speed, and we forgot that running too fast usually results in a “faceplant.”
We have been forced to slow down and think about what we need to change. I hear people pondering over who is at fault, but no matter how or why this happened, all that really matters is what we are going to do about it, and how we use this time to create a better, happier, and more sustainable world.
No, I don't believe the doom and gloom theories, because I am old enough to remember Y2K when the world was supposed to end - and it didn’t! I was a direct witness to the fall of the Iron Curtain of Eastern Europe, which most people didn't believe could ever happen.
We must do our best to remain positive (and negative, I mean virus free ;-), focus on helping others, keeping their spirits up, and learning how to fix what needs fixing. Perhaps I can inspire you to help me create a list for “How to stay positive in difficult times", that I would like to share in one of our upcoming newsletters.
Here are 8 ideas for starters:
- Take your dog out at least twice a day for 1-2 hours.
- Call a friend or a family member to see how they are, and focus on them by listening and being genuinely interested in what they are saying.
- Tell yourself you’re good enough to solve the challenges that lie ahead. You can do it, and make sure you start now.
- Create a simple positive routine, start your day with yoga or exercise, spend time in nature, and focus on making a difference in the lives of others.
- Listen to positive podcasts on the topics you love and say "No, thank you." to negative news. Remind yourself that negative news is designed to be addictive and manipulate you into watching more.
- Choose a book or audiobook. Here are a few I love: Fierce Intimacy by Terry Real, I Am Enough by Marisa Peer, How Not to Diet by Micheal Greger, M.D., The Choice by Dr. Edith Eva Eger, Where Dogs Go to Live by Jeff Allen with Michelle Allen, and The Calling by Rha Goddess.
- Ask your dog to stop watching, reading and listening to negative news, too! (just kidding!)
- Spend more time with people who are upbeat and positive, and who see the glass as being half-full, not half-empty. This is not to suggest we should not help those who feel down, just be mindful not to surround yourself with an unbearable amount of negativity.
Most of all, you can post additional tips on how to overcome hardships and negativity in the comments section below. I can’t wait to read your contributions.
Stay safe, and give your dog a hug for me!