“Watch your thoughts, they become Words. Watch your words, they become Actions. Watch your actions, they become Habits. Watch your habits, for they become your Character. Watch your character, for it becomes your Destiny.” -the Upanishads
Attitude is everything. If you are familiar with the Law of Attraction, you know that you will attract into your life whatever you focus on. What you give your energy and attention to will come back to you. When you concentrate on increasing your positive thoughts and feelings, there is a snowball-like effect and you will eventually attract more beneficial and constructive things into your life.
Unfortunately, the contrary is also true. Negative thoughts and emotions only attract more of those unproductive thought patterns. These can quickly turn into a downward spiral of worse-case scenario thinking that can lead to stress, anxiety and unhealthy self-soothing practices.
In these uncertain times, it is easy to get sucked into the negativity of the situation around us. Most of us have been spending our days with our eyes glued to the news and our fingers constantly scrolling through social media. These activities can produce even more fear, worry, feelings of uncertainty, and tension in our lives. Constantly focusing on the devastation that this worldwide pandemic is creating can cause us to internalize negativity and as stated above, bring more of that into our lives.
In order to re-shift our mindset and attitude to bring about positivity, we must be aware of where we are directing our energy. We must intend to refocus our thoughts on the often-overlooked things in our current life that still bring joy and happiness (and these are numerous!).
Yes, this is a very scary time and we need to take necessary precautions to keep those we love safe. Prioritizing changing our perspective and outlook can make the current situation and uncertainty of the future much easier to handle. You may even find ways to embrace and enjoy the current circumstances.
Choosing to have a positive attitude can help you focus and plan for the activities, routines, and self-care practices that will truly allow you to nurture yourself in this time when we need it the most. It’s time to redirect our thoughts to finding the silver lining and incorporate practices into our lives to tap into that positivity.
With most of us quarantined at home, take some time to consider the positives of the situation:
Quality time spent with family and loved ones. Even if they are thousands of miles away, Facetime and meeting platforms, such as Zoom, make it possible to stay connected and feel like you are with your closest friends and family. Get creative by hosting virtual dinner parties, happy hours, coffee breaks, book clubs, wine nights, or even dance parties!
Healthier environments. With less cars on the road and companies turning off their lights, the burning of fossil fuels worldwide has dropped, and air quality has improved significantly. Pollution has been greatly reduced, CO2 emissions have fallen, and the sounds and sights of wildlife is visible in areas where it has been hidden for decades due to pollution. This gives us even more reason to get outside, feel the sunshine, and breathe in the fresh, cleaner air all while practicing social distancing.
More available time. With typical schedules and routines falling by the wayside and most of us confined to working from home, we may now find extra time in our schedules. Without the time spent getting ready for work, commuting, running out to tackle errands and grabbing list-minute items for dinner, we can invest time in the things that we never had time for before.
Devote specific times during the day to things that make you feel great and bring in positivity. Give your home a complete spring cleaning, work on health-related goals (Merritt’s Live Facebook classes!), get creative in the kitchen by experimenting with recipes and foods, start a new hobby (reading, knitting, swing, baking, etc.), or even take this time to learn a language. With so many online options to help, the possibilities are endless. This is truly the time to focus on self-care and rejuvenation.
Generosity and community support is increasing. Communities have banded together to support each other. Companies around the world are stepping up to lend a hand to those in need. Front-line workers are offered donations (coffee, food, shoes, car rentals, Air B&B accommodations, Wi-Fi, etc.). Individuals are showing true generosity and caring by offering to shop for older neighbors, performing checks on loved ones, dropping off care packages, and generally looking out for each other. We can only hope this kindness continues when the virus is but a memory.
Additional positives to consider. Since our business casual wardrobe has now been refined to sweats and yoga pants, it takes the guesswork out of getting dressed, eliminates the expense of dry cleaning, and adds some other benefits. Ladies, no need to wear a bra every day. Studies show going bra-less can improve muscle tone and breast shape, increase circulation, and lead to added comfort and better breast skin health. Also, if you’re wearing less makeup these days, you may notice smaller pores, fewer breakouts, and more moisturized skin.
Flexible schedules allow us to create a routine that is conducive to our new lives (morning workout break at 10 am? Yes, please!). Lastly, with financial worries abound, take comfort knowing that you are saving money on gas, eating out, and all those miscellaneous expenses that seem to add up every day when out and about.
Having trouble shifting to a positive outlook? Consider incorporating the following practices to help change your mindset and attitude. Control what you can control. Since so much is out of our hands, find things that you DO have control over. Keep your home organized and clean. Control what you’re putting in your body by making home-made meals and snacks. Find other things in your life that you have complete control over and keep your focus on these.
Practice gratitude. Identifying the things in life that you are grateful for correlates to positive emotions. There are still so many things to be thankful for and these are what we should focus our attention on like the beautiful spring sunshine, snuggles with your pets and loved ones, delicious food, laughter, having a roof over your head, etc. Challenge yourself to identify three things each day that you are grateful for.
Limit intake of news and social media. Choose a single news source you trust and place a limit on the amount of time spent tuning in. Set your alarm and once the alarm goes off, move on to another activity. Put a time limit on social media as well, as we all know how easy it is to get sucked into Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. for hours on end.
Set boundaries. Just because you are working from home does not mean you have to be constantly on call or connected. Shut down your emails and finish all work calls at a specific time each day. Designate certain times for breaks and use this time to focus on things that bring you joy. If you find yourself constantly in anxiety-filled discussions about what’s going on, try some tactics to change up the conversation to minimize the negativity.
Stay connected. Don’t isolate yourself socially just because you are in physical isolation. Schedule calls with family, plan to sync up a Netflix show with your friends or hold virtual game nights with the neighborhood families. Keep yourself bonded to those you love who bring about positivity into your life.
Take a daily inventory. Each evening, take stock of something positive that you either accomplished, learned or are grateful for. This helps to dilute the negativity we absorb and serves as a reminder that not everything right now is bad or depressing.
It’s quite easy to allow a pessimistic mentality to prevail when we solely focus on the negativity of the virus, social distancing, and the other afflictions of COVID-19. Limiting our exposure to these and focusing on the positives can flip the switch on our mindset and attitude, making a world of difference in our lives. Try to remember, attitude is everything and what you focus on will grow. Learn to stop and smell the roses, both literally and figuratively.