How to Remain Optimistic during Dark Times

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A recent report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that 40% of American adults are struggling mentally due to the pandemic. With continuous reports of unemployment, economic decline, and racial tension, it’s not surprising. It also doesn’t help that people have been staying at home for most of the year. Lockdowns help mitigate the spread of the virus. But it can harm people’s mental health. A study found that people are more stressed after lockdowns than they were before. That’s why it’s crucial to find ways to be positive during trying times. Here’s how:

Embrace Your Spirituality

Take the time indoors to get in touch spiritual side. For a lot of people, religion is the answer. Following the fundamental principles of the disciple-making movements is a great place to start. It involves praying, studying the bible, and engaging the community. Even if you’ve never felt religiously inclined, it’s never too late to start. Considering the benefits, it’s certainly worth a try. According to the Royal College of Psychiatrists, people with religious beliefs have better mental health than those who don’t. If you’re struggling to see the light, perhaps you can find it at church.

On the other hand, spirituality and religion are not synonymous. Religion involves a community, but spirituality is an individual practice. You don’t have to be baptized or belong in a faith community to be spiritual. Instead, you can meditate and practice breathing exercises. In a fast-paced society, sensations and events can be overwhelming. Sometimes all you need is time for yourself so that you can unwind and clear your mind to feel better.

Spiritual practices can also come in different forms. The essence of spirituality is listening to your body and mind. You can find your calm by painting or playing music. The important thing is that you do what feels right.

Reduce Your Exposure to Negative Triggers

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The human mind is complex. Sometimes people continue to do something even if they know that it makes them unhappy. Take social media, for example. Over the years, it has become more and more relevant. Reports have shown that businesses mine social media users’ data for their own gain. There are also studies linking social media use and negative mental health effects. Despite damaging reports over the years, usage remains the same. The latest figures from the Pew Research Center show that the shares of Americans who use social media are unchanged in the past few years. Even if people know that it’s unhealthy, it’s difficult to change when you’re already hooked.

The great news is that it’s never too late to right a wrong. You can start by identifying what’s making you feel bad. Unrealistic social media posts might be affecting your self-image. Or it can also be news shows that constantly broadcast bad news. It can even be a toxic person at work.

Once you’ve determined what’s causing you to feel bad, the next step is to reduce or quit it cold turkey. If it has something to do with technology, you can use parental controls to limit your exposure. If a person is the one who’s making you feel terrible, put some distance.

Don’t Dwell on the Bad Things

Knowing it is one thing, but practicing it is an entirely different thing altogether. But the key to happiness and contentment is to avoid dwelling on the negatives. There will always be something terrible happening somewhere in the world. It might be magnified and amplified this year. But terrible things were happening before the pandemic started, and they’ll continue to occur even after a cure has been found. The tough pill to swallow is that you don’t have a lot of control over it. You can only change your perception.

It can be challenging to see the positive side of things, but there are a few things you can try. You can form a habit of keeping a list of things you’re thankful for. It doesn’t have to be a significant accomplishment. It can be something as minor as surviving the work week or preparing a good meal. Research has shown that gratitude leads to greater happiness. The more you give thanks and acknowledge all the positive things, the more you’ll get used to it. Once it’s become a habit, it’s much easier to remain positive even during trying times.

You don’t have to be happy all the time to help your mental health. It’s impossible and impractical. But it is important to see the bright side during dark times. It can help you deal with your problems and ease your stress.

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