If you are in the United States, or a citizen of the United States living elsewhere, you were probably celebrating your independence yesterday. My oldest son and I have a tradition where we watch the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest and then we go to a friend’s for an afternoon of fun outdoor activities, great food, and fireworks on the way home. This year was more precious than usual because last year at this time, we were unable to get together with these friends who’ve we spent at least the last twenty five or more Independence Day holidays with.
We got there a few minutes late, but we had to see Joey Chestnut break his hot dog eating record. There were already several people there and they were chatting about all kinds of things. As people came and went throughout the day, there was a common theme in a lot of the conversations. They were worried about the “new normal.”
It seemed to me that people had already made up their minds that the future was not going to be good, and life would always be filled with problems. The mindset of my friends had changed in a lot of ways, but the most concerning was the hopelessness I heard from some. I found this very concerning, and kept trying to change the conversation so that it sounded more positive.
Keeping a positive outlook can be a struggle for some during times of uncertainty and understandably so. It’s easy to feel surrounded by doom and gloom when you’ve been virtually sequestered. Making things even more difficult is the constant flood of information coming from the news and social media sites. It’s important to take your mental health seriously, and mindset seems to be the key. There are two camps out there when it comes to mindset during challenging times. Some people are able to focus on the positives, while others seem to be more challenged to keep a productive, positive mentality.
This “new normal” that people kept talking about comes along with all sorts of new ways of living. Some of these ways are temporary, and others may be long term. The thing is, no one really knows, yet people had already made up their minds that it wasn’t going to be good. Keeping a positive attitude can really be everything when it comes to a healthy mindset. We may be asked to change our behavior and how we interact with others. This can feel isolating. But, what about thinking of it as an opportunity to spend much needed quality time with your immediate family.
Maybe you found yourself unexpectedly out of work and home with the kids. You could give in to the worry and let it stress you out. Or you can use this extra time spent with children and bring the family closer. Try making it a fun experience to remember! Not all learning is done in the classroom or behind a computer screen. How about taking the kids outside for a nature walk to collect leaves or flowers and then label them. Or, try a homemade weather station, where they measure and record the daily temperature, rainfall and humidity. There are plenty of resources out there for fun, active learning ideas.
Another way to keep positive is to really try and unplug. It’s necessary to take a conscious step back from the media or computer screen. Try not to let yourself be inundated with negative news twenty four- seven. Remember, there are still good things happening in the world. Maybe search for some funny videos to watch, or Facetime with friends and family. Do something to make yourself smile.
Sometimes something as small as what you’re wearing can make all the difference in how you feel. Even if you’re working from home now, getting up and getting dressed as if you were headed to the office, may give that needed mood boost and positive motivation. Achieving a positive outlook can be as simple as daily positive affirmations. Find what works best for you.
Giving yourself a mood-makeover is something we can all do to help ourselves stay focused on the positives during times of uncertainty. Remember, no one is perfect. So, if you feel yourself starting to slip into negative thinking patterns, try making a conscious effort to rearrange your mindset. A positive attitude can go a long way!
Find your purpose – find your joy!
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Did you find a few more ideas of your own? If so, I’d love to hear about them in the comments, and as always please reach out with your thoughts.