This recent headline in the Berkshire Eagle led me to ponder-how can you stay hopeful when you're deluged by an unending surge of bad news?
Here are three strategies, based on the thinking of some of our wisest philosophers, that have proven effective:Put yourself on a low-neg, high-pro diet.
I once participated in a workshop led by Louise Hay -
a brilliant healer and writer. One suggestion that has stayed with me is to be mindful of how much negativity you allow in. Louise recommended that you cut back on how often and when you expose yourself to the news. She warned against watching TV or reading the newspaper before going to sleep. If you don't, you take in all of those terrible images just as you're about to rest and recharge for the following day. These stories sink deep into your psyche, coloring how you experience life.
I took Louise's advice to heart and, upon moving to the Berkshires, got rid of my TV entirely. I'm now more selective about how/when I take in the news and all the other offerings served up by the boob tube. The results have included a sunnier outlook and increased time to devote to more constructive pastimes.
Bad news sells newspapers, but it doesn't build morale. Instead of just focusing on the sad and bad, give equal time to the good. Notice who's been rewarded for serving the public, take note of acts of kindness - the ones that you perform as well as receive. Make a daily habit of practicing gratitude and appreciate all that you been blessed with. By changing your mental diet, you'll uplift yourself and others, too.
Change the things you can
The Serenity Prayer, written by Reinhold Neibuhr, advises that you accept the things you cannot change, have the courage to change the things you can, and the wisdom to know the difference. There are many challenging and tragic situations in the world, most of which are out of your direct control. It is uplifting and energizing to focus on issues that are within your 'sphere of influence.' By focusing on and contributing to the causes where you can effect a change, you'll make an important difference in your community, and your outlook with brighten as well.
Although moving your body may not immediately improve the situations that are troubling you, it can provide many other pluses. For starters, you'll feel more energized and filled with that great feeling that comes when you know that you're doing something good for yourself. Moving your body can help you get unstuck and change your perspective.
Much has been written about the mind-body connection. We know that we can de-stress through meditation and yoga, and unleash endorphins through walking. Moving your body puts space between you and your troubles. It helps you see new hopeful options where before you may have seen none. If you find it hard to get moving on your own, consider finding a buddy to join you. Especially at this lovely time of year - why not take your troubles out for a walk? You may shed some of them along the way, and some pounds as well!