This pandemic is a difficult time for all of us. Most of us are stuck at homes with all of our family members. After two or more weeks, it’s not a surprise people are getting more and more frustrated and angry.
For me, it was especially hard as I gave birth two weeks ago and spent a week at the hospital. I was terrified hearing about another ward being closed as a patient simply didn’t tell the truth and brought the coronavirus in. All the patients got stuck in there for the next two weeks. Luckily for me and my baby daughter, the maternity ward was clean and we were relieved to go home last week.
What helped me during this difficult experience was positive thinking. I tried to focus on the fact that we were still safe, that my breast milk supply was more than sufficient, that our condition was good, etc. I tried to see all the good in the situation I was in rather than worry in advance. Thanks to that I managed to stay optimistic despite the postpartum mood swings and arrive home in a relatively good mental shape.
Advantages of positive thinking
Staying optimistic and focusing on the bright side may not only help your health but may also make your life easier and more satisfying.
For your health
Positive thinking can help you during difficult times as it allows you to stay resilient. It can also help deal with everyday stress. Thanks to that, it is good for your general health, especially the immune system (so important now). In the longer run, it helps prevent anxiety and depression.
For your life
Positive thinking makes you more productive and constructive as you stop focusing on what-ifs and rather think of how to move forward. Positive people usually focus on goals and ways to achieve them. They are generally more confident and always see something good in other people.
For your family and relationship
When your family starts to get on your nerves, try to think about one good thing about each of them. Try to be more grateful for what you have, what kind of people they are. This way we can repair relationships.
How to develop positive thinking?
The good news is that everyone can learn to be more optimistic and how to think in a more positive way.
A good starting point is to have a healthy lifestyle, both physically and mentally. Try to take better care of yourself and your body. Don’t skip meals, drink enough water, sleep enough, and stay active.
Surround yourself with optimistic people. Emotions are contagious. You’ve surely noticed that one happy person can bring good vibes to everyone in the room. Similarly, an eeyorish person could ruin your mood for the rest of the day.
Rewire your brain
Now, the most important part of learning positive thinking is to notice your self-talk. Our self-talk is statistically more negative than positive. Try to notice what your internal voice is telling you. Mindfulness training and meditation may help here as they make you more self-aware. If your internal voice is talking in a negative way, just rephrase its words so they become a positive message. You can also practice positive self-talk e.g. by repeating affirmations.
Since our brain cannot distinguish between reality and imagination, visualizations are also extremely powerful when trying to be more positive. If you only worry and visualize the negative outcomes of future events, your brain will do everything to make that negative outcome come true (e.g. sabotage your skills by being overly stressed). On the other hand, if you think of the positive outcome and visualize it, your brain will be rewired to contribute to achieving that success.
Whenever something bad happens to you, try to find something good in it. Two weeks ago I had to stay in the hospital for nearly a week because my newborn baby girl had to undergo some medication. It was a very stressful and rather negative situation. I was worried not only about my baby’s health but also about the risk of the coronavirus being brought into the maternity ward. If it had happened, we would be locked down in the hospital for another two weeks with a much higher risk of infection. What helped me was thinking about the upsides. For instance, I could spend some time with my baby girl alone before going home. I was afraid I’d be overwhelmed with two children after I get home. This way I could recover after the labor and learn my baby’s needs and her language. After that, I not only felt better physically but was also more confident about how to take care of the newborn.
Another way to be more positive is to practice gratefulness. It’s not hard after you learn to find the good in every bad. Then you can more easily realize all the things you may be grateful for. I find it especially useful when I get angry with my husband. It’s usually over small, unimportant things. I try to think of all the good, or fun, or loving things he does. No expectations, just appreciation. And the anger ceases.
One last tip. Never underestimate the power of a smile.
All in all…
During this grim time finding something optimistic may seem hard and pointless. However, it is positive thinking that can help us not only survive but thrive during the worst of events. Positive attitude can be learnt and its benefits are limitless.