With so much discouraging news, it’s quickly become clear that we might need to work a little harder to find the silver linings. We can make smart choices about social distancing, wearing a mask, good hand-washing hygiene and taking care of ourselves, but aside from that, we don’t have a lot of control over the Coronavirus and developing a vaccine.
We do have control over how we choose to move forward. There is good reason to be optimistic and look for the silver linings. Optimism is associated with a whole host of positives, including a stronger immune system, reduced risk of chronic diseases and greater odds of longevity.
So, let’s get to it. Ten ways to find the silver lining in uncertain times:
- Looking for the upside has become a way of life. Some would consider it a matter of survival during a worldwide pandemic. We need to believe there is good in the world…and there is! From the neighbor kids playing porch concerts and delivering care packages to elderly neighbors, to people making time to pick up the phone, send cards, share music, adopt shelter pets, donate masks and raise money for others. Kindness matters.
- Helping someone else is a great way to change the world (and our attitude) for the better. According to Marianna Pogosyan, Ph.D., in helping others, we help ourselves. “Research has found many examples of how doing good, in ways big or small, not only feels good, but also does us good. For instance, the well-being-boosting and depression-lowering benefits of volunteering have been repeatedly documented,” says Pogosyan. “As has the sense of meaning and purpose that often accompanies altruistic behavior….Moreover, there is now neural evidence from MRI studies suggesting a link between generosity and happiness in the brain.” Psychology Today, May 30, 2018
- More time for gardening and working in your yard. Less time out and about means more time at home. And now that the weather is warming up, why not spend some of it turning your yard, porch or patio into a beautiful, relaxing place.That could be as simple as buying a hanging basket or elaborate as planting up a raised garden bed or containers with fragrant herbs and flowers. Either way, studies have found that being outside and gardening can reduce depression and anxiety, relieve stress, lower blood pressure and accelerate healing.
- More time for walks. It didn’t take quarantine and stay-at-home or safer-at-home orders to uncover the benefits of walking, but it sure made us more prone to put on our shoes and get some fresh air.Walking and other exercise lowers blood sugar and is good for the heart, bones and muscles, immune system, mental health, waistline and brain, staving off age-related memory loss, Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.
- If you needed a reminder about how remarkable and brief life can be, here it is. We’ve heard about the high toll Covid-19 has taken on human life around the world, and how it has forced families and friends to spend extended time apart. The numbers are sobering and loss of life, heartbreaking.Life is fleeting under any circumstances. Stay curious, connected, hopeful and grateful.
- The resilience of nature. The Coronavirus has transformed daily life. It has also transformed the natural world in remarkable ways. Mount Everest is visible from Kathmandu, Nepal for the first time in living memory. Rare leatherback turtles have returned to lay their eggs on empty beaches. Water and air are cleaner. And with zoos closed to the public, some animals, like rare giant pandas are successfully mating.
- The resilience of the human spirit. Friends and families have camped outside hospitals to show their love or to see their first grandchild. When lifesaving masks concealed doctor and nurse’s faces, they pinned pictures to their shirts so patients could see their smiles. A Kansas farmer shared one of just five N95 masks with the Governor of New York—he wanted a doctor or nurse to have it.Look for the stories of people who rise to the occasion and share the best of themselves.
- We can relate. You’ve heard people say, ‘we’re all in this together.’ We’ve got a lot in common right now. Keep that in mind the next time you’re feeling lonely or anxious. And don’t forget to share how you feel with someone you trust.
- Humor. Sometimes it takes a little humor to help us cope. During quarantine and a case of serious cabin fever, our dogs are tired of going on walks with us, people are living in and loving their pajamas and we can only reorganize the spice rack so many times.Plus, when did toilet paper become the hottest ticket in town?
- Heroes are everywhere. Thousands of doctors and nurses have come out of retirement to help tackle the coronavirus pandemic and millions of healthcare professionals and first responders have put their lives on the line to help others.An Italian engineer turned scuba masks into ventilators, sports arenas have been converted to hospitals and homeless shelters and people from all walks of life are raising money and stepping up to help others. No act is too small, especially to the person on the receiving end.
We hope you’ll join us in looking for the silver linings. And remember, we’re here for you if you need us.