8 Tips for Finding Optimism in the Face of Anxiety

The COVID-19 outbreak is unsettling. It’s natural to feel anxious. But it’s also essential to find reasons for hopefulness during these challenging times. Optimism isn’t about ignoring the bad in the world. Instead, it creates space for focusing on the positive.

Here are 8 tips for nurturing optimism in this anxious period:

1. Limit your daily news intake

Concern about COVID-19 is natural, but overindulging in negative news can be damaging. Instead, try to shift your attention elsewhere when the news is overwhelming. Check in with reputable sites to stay informed about the situation and safe, but give yourself breaks, too.

2. Focus on what you can control

A lot is happening that’s outside our control, so it’s best to focus on what you CAN do and what you CAN control. Wash your hands properly and often. Practice social distancing. Wipe down and disinfect surfaces that are used often. Be part of the solution.

3. Meditate

Research shows that meditation positively impacts a person’s emotional, physical, and mental health. Think of meditation as a way of training your mind to maintain a positive, grateful, and peaceful outlook. Just 5 minutes in the morning and evening may help you maintain some optimism.

4. Savor the ordinary

Take this opportunity to be more present and more grateful for those everyday ‘ordinary’ moments that are truly full of joy—the goodnight kiss to our children, the way our dog’s tail wags whenever we walk into the room, or a great cup of hot coffee in the morning. Be grateful in a way you never were before.

5. Search for the good

A crisis can bring out the worst out in people, but it can also bring out the best. Look for the good stories. There are many being shared online that shine a light on positivity and inspiring acts of kindness.

6. Practice random acts of kindness

Don’t just search for the good. Be the good. Help your loved ones and neighbors in ways that still adhere to social distancing. Inspire positive actions by being inspiring to others.

7. Find the silver lining

Search for the silver linings in this dark cloud. Maybe you’ve been struggling to work out and get healthy. Maybe you’ve found it difficult to make enough time for your family. Or maybe you’ve been hoping to take care of that one home project that you never get to. Take advantage of the time you’ve been given and generate some positive momentum.

8. Connect more deeply

“Social distancing” is somewhat of a misnomer. Physical distancing is what’s recommended, and true connection isn’t about physical proximity. It’s about being in the moment with someone, feeling open and being your true self when you talk with them, offering empathy and kindness toward them, really listening, and developing mutual trust. Use this time to connect more deeply with the people you care about.

We all want to get this virus under control, save lives by flattening the curve, invent a vaccine and treatment medicines, and come through this challenging time. Take action every day to be part of that solution. If you do that, it’ll be easier to remain optimistic and hopeful.