18th November 2020
“Stay positive” is something we hear a lot of at the moment. But is it really that easy when you’ve been teased with a glimpse of normality and it’s now been snatched away for yet another national lockdown? It can be hard to see a way out of the situation we’re in and a life beyond Coronavirus, when we can finally hug our loved ones again and get back to all those holidays and parties we’ve missed.
Don’t worry, if you sometimes find it hard to keep your chin up and stay positive, it’s simply your brain doing what it’s hardwired to do and focussing on threats. Back when we were cavemen our brains adapted to the very real threat of being killed by something around us, very useful for when there may well be a lion behind that bush. But today this displays itself as pessimism when our minds search for threats and we imagine things to be worse than what they really are.
Sadly, various studies had shown that pessimism can cause us to be less healthy, increasing the likelihood of ailments such as depression, common colds and cardiovascular disease. All things we really want to avoid even more so right now. So how can you go about trying to re-train your brain to focus a little more on the positive side?
First, try to focus on the facts – stop thinking “what if” when you can’t know the outcome. Sadly, none of us have a crystal ball, and if anyone does, I’m sure they’re very rich somewhere on a yacht right now. I appreciate the irony of suggesting a focus on the facts when the government have announced some very negative statistics but worrying about what may happen isn’t going to do the current you any favours. Most of our negative thoughts are just that – our mind wondering as opposed to facts.
Then, find a positive – it’s more than simply stopping yourself from thinking that negative thought, the next step is to teach your brain what it should be focussing. Try to find something positive to focus on, no matter how small. A positive mindset can be your most powerful tool to success. Look at what you can do right now to improve your future, rather than what you can’t.
This might seem obvious, but it’s so easy for our minds to naturally focus on the negative and overthink the possible threats to our everyday lives and happiness. Yet those thoughts are the very threat to our happiness in the first place.
Above all, try not to give yourself a hard time when you do feel down and negative. It’s natural and to be frank, things aren’t at their best right now. As we go into lockdown, it’s okay to feel a little sad, stressed and anxious. But one day life will be different, and right now, you can think about all the time that you have to binge watch that Netflix series that you love, finish a whole range of new books, improve your cooking techniques even further, and finish off that DIY project you started that didn’t end up quite as good as you had hoped.
Don’t forget, Whitechurch is always here, even if you just need an ear to listen.
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