For several months I have taken note of so much negativity on social media platforms. Someone puts up a post or a comment and within seconds there is a barrage of negative comments and in no time at all the comment section goes totally off topic as insults or aggressive dialog goes back and forth at one another between people who, most of the time, do not even know one another.
Another thing that has also been clear to see across social media platforms is the divide between people’s opinions over the various restrictions that have been implemented since the outbreak of the pandemic and more recently the topic on vaccinations.
I personally refrain from debating on controversial topics because most of the time the arguments become heated, and it breeds a ground for hostility and animosity that most of the time remains between those “debating” or arguing and such debates are not something I care to entertain. However, my approach is not necessarily a good or a bad thing. It simply boils down to my personal choice on when and how I choose to express my personal opinions. I am all for a good debate but when the debate turns to one of anger and insults, I would rather focus my energy on something else more productive for me.
The pandemic has created so much sadness, loss, unspeakable grief across the world and health challenges for many. Along with that there are many who are suffering with increased depression, anxiety, fear, and isolation. These feelings have taken a toll on people’s mental health and overall well-being.
Through it all, we can still look for ways to feel and be happy. We can nurture ourselves through whatever pain we are going through. We owe it to ourselves to treat ourselves with self-love.
There is always something to appreciate in our lives, no matter how bad a situation is that you may be going through. No matter how small, look for things to appreciate. Do you have eyes to see, ears to hear, a plate of food, a roof over your head, some good health even if there are some other health issues, family, friends, a job even if the money you get is not enough; is your glass half full or half empty? Either way are you thankful that you have a glass? No matter what, always try to look for the things you can appreciate and say thank you for them every day.
Through the act of giving, we give our love and support. If you see a sad face offer a smile. Do we exercise enough understanding to be able to give more? Giving is not only about financial or material support; it is also very much about giving emotional support.
Connect to yourself. Pay attention to how you are feeling. Do you have any triggers? Are you feeling drained and without any motivation?
There is more to life than all the negative, the pain, the loss etc. During low periods it is not easy to look passed the bad things that we have gone through or are going through. Practicing regular meditation helps us to become mindful with all that we feel, say and do. In order to connect to yourself you need to allocate some “me time” everyday – not only when you are feeling overwhelmed. One very good way to do this is through meditation. Meditation is the art of quieting your mind. Give yourself some quiet time every day to close your eyes and just keep still while taking some slow deep breaths to begin with and as you focus on your breath let go of the chatter that is going on in your mind. Every time your mind starts to wonder, concentrate on your breathing. Meditation can be done anywhere and at any time, in a sitting or lying down position or even while out walking. It is all about finding time to quieten your mind and to pay attention to your feelings and how your body responds to certain stress factors. If we never take time out to pay attention to what we are feeling how will we be able to take care of ourselves? We can only act on certain things once we are aware of them. So, give yourself time everyday even if it is for just ten minutes to practice meditation.
When we experience any kind of misfortune, we often go through periods of sadness, grief, anger, regret, resentment, and bitterness. Life happens and there are things we go through which are inevitable. One way to deal with the inevitable is acceptance. Our reactions to the misfortune are natural but at some point, we realise that no amount of negative emotions we feel will change the inevitable and that is where acceptance comes in. Sooner or later we have to deal with the inevitable because there is nothing we can do to change what has happened. As hard as we think we cannot accept it, we have the strength within us to endure. How we deal with it affects our happiness or unhappiness.
Remember that happiness comes from within. We can choose to find happiness in the midst of all the chaos in the world. Tragedies are inevitable. But we can eventually choose to rise above the loss and pain of all tragedies we suffer by altering our thoughts. All that we achieve is a direct result of our thoughts. Our thoughts determine our actions.
I leave you now with this beautiful poem.
“JUST FOR TODAY
1. Just for today I will be happy. This assumes that what Abraham Lincoln said is true, that “most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.” Happiness is from within; it is not a matter of externals.
2. Just for today I will try to adjust myself to what is, and not try to adjust everything to my own desires. I will take my family, my business, and my luck as they come and fit myself to them.
3. Just for today I will take care of my body. I will exercise it, care for it, nourish it, not abuse nor neglect it, so that it will be a perfect machine for my bidding.
4. Just for today I will try to strengthen my mind. I will learn something useful. I will not be a mental loafer. I will read something that requires effort, thought and concentration.
5. Just for today I will exercise my soul in three ways; I will do somebody a good turn and not get found out. I will do at least two things I don’t want to do as William James suggests, just for exercise.
6. Just for today I will be agreeable. I will look as well as I can, dress as becomingly as possible, talk low, act courteously, be liberal with praise, criticize not at all, nor fault with anything and not try to regulate nor improve anyone.
7. Just for today I will try to live through this day only, not to tackle my whole life problem at once. I can do things for twelve hours that would appall me if I had to keep them up for a lifetime.
8. Just for today I will have a program. I will write down what I expect to do every hour. I may not follow it exactly, but I will have it. It will eliminate two pests, hurry and indecision.
9. Just for today I will have a quiet half hour all by myself and relax. In this half hour sometimes I will think of God, so as to get a little more perspective into my life.
10. Just for today I will be unafraid, especially I will not be afraid to be happy, to enjoy what is beautiful, to love, and to believe that those I love, love me.
If we want to develop a mental attitude that will bring us peace and happiness, here is Rule #1: Think and act cheerfully, and you will feel cheerful.”
—Written by Sybil F. Partridge