After spending more than a year being confined to their homes, losing loved ones, and facing the struggles of online work and school, many have adopted a negative mindset towards the pandemic. We can’t blame them! COVID-19 has impacted our lives in more ways than one and it is becoming difficult to keep looking ahead with hope with all the talk about new strains and another wave of the virus. However, the pandemic does not have to be completely dismal. Even in stressful times, one can always adopt an optimistic mindset and encourage positivity in their life.

Surround Yourself With Positivity

            Yes, COVID is all around us and there is always a constant reminder of the pandemic in the back of our minds, but we can accompany that reminder with things that bring us comfort, whether that be people or material objects. Studies from Psychology Today prove that a person generally feels happier when they are around other people, which shows how vital social interaction is in our lives. Of course, it is not advised to be around many people for safety purposes, but an easy way to interact with others is arranging family activities within your homes and setting aside time to video chat or call your coworkers, friends, and relatives. Even a few minutes of conversation and laughter can improve someone’s mood immensely and give them a more positive outlook.

            Additionally, people often find comfort in objects that resonate with them or that hold a particular meaning. When being quarantined, one can surround themselves with books if they enjoy reading, or listen to their favorite music, or indulge in their comfort foods. This method of gaining positivity may seem cliche and purely common sense, but you would be surprised to know how many people forget about their interests once they are immersed in the stress of the pandemic. The next time you find yourself complaining about COVID-19 or not having much hope for the future, try picking up a hobby that you used to love, or watching a movie that reminds you of the good times. It makes all the difference!

Help Out in the Community

            Another excellent way to look forward with confidence and optimism is to dedicate your time to helping those around you, especially those who have been negatively impacted by the pandemic. Easy and efficient ways to do this are donating face masks, writing comforting letters to retirement homes, volunteering at local charities and food banks, and donating to GoFundMe fundraisers for struggling families. You may think the impact you can have as a singular individual may be small compared to the immense damage COVID has caused, but even a little help goes a long way!

            The first step to truly making an impact in your community is being educated about what the people around you are struggling with. Make an effort to check the news and talk to people that you don’t normally speak to find out what you can do to make someone’s life even a little bit easier. Check in with local hospitals and healthcare facilities to see if they are understaffed and donate money to organizations who are actively trying to repair the damage of the pandemic. By knowing what is happening around you, you are able to target weak areas of your community and facilitate the journey to COVID recovery.

            You may be asking, how does doing good deeds help me think more positively? Well, the answer is very simple. It is in human nature to obtain satisfaction and comfort from making other people happy. Studies from The University of California at Berkeley state that giving to others makes a person even happier than they would feel after treating themselves. This is because happiness is often contagious and people enjoy seeing their loved ones smile and laugh, therefore boosting that individual’s own happiness.

            When we do good deeds around our homes and community, it makes us feel good and more positive because we know that we are making other people happy in the process. Community service also makes us feel productive and effective, and after many of us have spent numerous lazy months in quarantine, feelings of accomplishment are very valued.

Have Time for Yourself

            COVID has brought numerous stressful aspects into our everyday lives, meaning that after a while, working and doing regular activities can seem like too much to handle. This feeling is not specific to any individual. In fact, APA President Bruce Schwartz, M.D. states that the pandemic is having negative impacts on many people’s physical and mental health, meaning that their positivity is decreasing by the day.

            A simple way to combat this overwhelming amount of stress is to allot time everyday to spend on yourself with no obligations attached. This can be as straightforward as making yourself coffee every morning or as random as spontaneously going on a road trip. Having time to enjoy yourself without the pandemic constantly weighing you down is becoming increasingly necessary as we close in on 15 months with the virus in our lives.

            Unwinding for an hour each day allows you to release any pent up stress or negative thoughts that may be festering. Furthermore, the activity gives you the opportunity to see the good in your life and the positive aspects of your days that you may have previously overlooked. By making it a priority to self-reflect and spend time with yourself, you promote the well-being of your mind, body, and personal happiness.