Using Positivity to Cope With COVID-19 Stress
Updated: Apr 10
Let's be real - this Coronavirus thing sucks...PERIOD!
We are all being challenged to stay physically healthy and mentally strong, and it could just be me but some days it is a real struggle to keep it all in perspective. I have to remind myself that this type of stress is not normal and it is okay to feel a little overwhelmed. So I’m reminding you of the same thing - you cannot control all that's happening outside but you can control how you respond.
When faced with adversity, you have two choices: Focus on the negative and wonder why; or focus on the positive and search for the lesson in every situation. Life is truly about the choices you make and choosing a positive or negative outlook is very much in your control.
Why Positivity Matters?
Researcher, Barbara Fredrickson, is a positive psychologist at the University of North Carolina and her research has proven that positive and negative thoughts each have an effect on our brains. Those with a positive outlook on life are open to more possibilities, look for opportunities to succeed, and are better problem solvers. Those with a negative outlook, however, focus strictly on the negative feelings or thoughts, which can lead to self-doubt, self-esteem issues, or depression.
Build Your Positivity Skillset
Positive emotions lead us to pursue activities that broaden our skills, which can benefit us for years into the future. Take the example of a young basketball player. In elementary school, she simply loved to play with friends. These joyful and carefree activities drove her to join a team at a young age, where she developed her athletic ability, listening ability, and ability to collaborate.
Even though the work on the court increased as she grew older, she developed a sense of accomplishment after practice or big games. She respected teammates and coaches, and learned about teamwork. This basketball player will carry these traits throughout her life and each one stemmed from those positive emotions of having fun with his friends.
How to Find the Silver Lining in Every Situation
Right now life is not filled with unicorns and rainbows. 2020 has thrown us curve ball after curve ball which is not always easy to recover from. Unexpected occurrences (like a pandemic) can throw you off kilter. Anger and frustration are natural emotions which should be acknowledged; however, the key is to put those negative emotions aside and focus on the things that you can control to dig yourself out of the negativity wormhole.
Here are some steps you can take to refocus and redefine those negative feelings:
Step One. Find gratitude in the situation as being grateful naturally pushes you into a positive mindset. If you are quarantined at home with your little ones, be grateful you can catch all the fun moments you'd miss if you were at work and they were at school. Be grateful the kids are staying safe and healthy indoors. No matter how big the situation, find a glimmer of hope in your gratitude.
Step Two. Look for the blessing and the lesson. Let's say you’ve sent out 10 proposals to participate in various Virtual Summits and all 10 proposals have been rejected. Your lesson is to look more closely and make proposal 11 that much better than the previous 10. It's all about Learn what did not work and adjust your offers and pitch until you get a yes.
Step Three. Practice self-care every day. Five minutes of meditation, a 10-minute walk at lunch time, or virtual happy hour can do wonders to clear your mind, improve your focus, and invite some positive vibes into your mind.
Most importantly, try to let go of the fear: I know it is easier said than done but you CAN overcome the overwhelm by changing your lense to one of positivity and gratitude. Treat yourself well and allow yourself time to train your brain to be grateful and to find the lesson in what can feel like a senseless time in the world.