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Photo: Nikko Macaspac, Unsplash

Staying positive when it feels that the world is falling down

Tips to handle the negativity which seems all too common right now.

It hasn’t been an easy month for South Africans. Life would have been difficult enough if we were dealing with nothing more than a cold front which, in some parts of the country, set records for cold temperatures – but we were also trying to keep afloat in the midst of news of increased hospitalisations and death thanks to the pandemic’s third wave, and the isolation that accompanies lockdown. And then came the video footage of looting in our major centres, and the knowledge that even though peace has been restored, our economy is going to be absorbing the knocks for some time to come.

It’s difficult to remain cheerful in such circumstances – and, in fact, maybe it’s too much to ask that you greet each new day with a smile. But it is possible to keep yourself from sinking into negativity and depression. Here’s how.

Allow yourself to feel sad
What’s happening around us is sad. Most of us have never lived through circumstances like this, and hopefully, we never will again. In the meantime, though, we have to try to keep pushing – but if you keep giving yourself pep talks about how other generations have been through worse, you may actually be making things harder for yourself. Take some time to admit that you feel uncertain and vulnerable.

Try to build your emotional resilience
Allowing yourself a little time to feel sad doesn’t mean giving yourself permission to sink into anxiety. Counter the negative by trying to find a solution: if you’re anxious because of the unrest that took place this month, find a way to contribute to your community. If you’re scared of contracting Covid while infection rates are soaring, get vaccinated and continue to practice social distancing. Taking action will make you feel more empowered and less like a victim of circumstance.

Connect with others.
Obviously, this isn’t easy when you’re in the middle of a pandemic, but phoning your friends and family members will remind you that you are not going through this alone.