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The Subtle Art of Staying Positive

Residence tutor Magdalena shares her personal experience on how to avoid the coronavirus blues.

28.05.2020

by Magdalena Kosik

Hey everyone, in today’s article I would like to address the question that has been present in our lives during the last days or even weeks – how to stay positive and optimistic during the quarantine? I asked myself this after a Skype meeting with my friends, which I left with pretty much mixed feelings. I have noticed that the range of emotions regarding the isolation within my group varies from a mild depression to a great satisfaction. I am aware of the fact that each person is differently affected by the current situation in terms of job, income, family and health, but I have wondered, how come, within such a homogeneous group as ours, do we emotionally differ from each other to this extent?

Apart from having generally more introverted or extroverted tendencies, what makes each person react so uniquely to this situation is, in my opinion, the mindset. You have probably seen many YouTube videos with titles like „The mindset of a billionaire“ or „The most powerful mindset for success“,  which are usually pretty helpful to learn how to stay more disciplined and focused on ones goals. It is not the main topic of my essay today, but I wanted to mention this example, as it shows the importance of setting the right mindset, before we are actually able to achieve our long-term goals. It applies not only to our actions in terms of career, but also has an influence on our perception of the world and the way we react to different events.

That being said, I would like to share with you some of my “mindset rules”, that help me to overcome the pessimistic thoughts during this strange time of social isolation and uncertainty about the future.

1. If you cannot change it – learn how to accept it

Try not to waste your time and energy focusing on how bad it is not being able to visit your family or go on a trip that you have been planning for so long. Complaining and feeling sorry for ourselves is the first intuitive “behavior” of our brain during this kind of situation, but it is also very counterproductive and harmful for our well-being. If the rule or decision has already been made, there is logically no point in going through this over and over. Stay neutral, accept it and move on.

2. Expect nothing and appreciate everything

This mindset is a common feature of optimists’ view of the world – it helps to minimize the feeling of disappointment and increases the gratitude towards small things in the everyday life. Gratitude plays a major role in releasing positive emotions and making us more focused on the bright sides of life. It has multiple benefits, not only for our mental but also for our general health. Try to figure out if there are any positive aspects or potential chances due to the current situation – for you personally, the society or the system – and start to appreciate anything that you will be able to find.  

3. Don’t forget that thoughts and feelings are not actual facts

If you are feeling lonely at the moment, it doesn’t mean, that you are not being missed or loved. If you are feeling sad, it doesn’t mean that you are a pessimistic person. If you are feeling offended, it doesn’t mean that the other person in fact wanted to offend you. The tricky part here is learning to observe those emotions, without letting them take control over you. Try to take a step back, acknowledge their existence and decide, how helpful they are in your life. Focus only on those thoughts and emotions that make you feel and think positively, as well as help you to achieve your goals.

4. Challenge yourself

Being unable to plan the nearest future and waiting for the situation to change without knowing for how long is pretty depressing. The solution could be to consider this time as an opportunity to take up a challenge – not only as a distraction, but also as an opportunity to improve and make yourself proud. It could be anything from cleaning your closet, trying to figure out how to play a guitar or spending less time on social media. Challenging yourself keeps you motivated, can lead to a personal growth and brings you satisfaction.  

At the end of this article, as it focuses so much on the mindset, I would like to quote Anaïs Nin on importance of perspective and preconception: „We don’t see things as they are; we see them as we are.“

Stay positive, healthy and safe!

 

This article was first published in the Residence Blog.

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