Tips on How to Reduce Negativity
"Don't it always seem to go that you don't know what you've got 'til it's gone."
For decades this song has been covered by numerous bands. It's message is as relevant now as ever.
With the restrictions to prevent the spread of COVID-19 many of us can't help but resent "our new normal" that includes the loss of jobs, the cancellation of life events, public gatherings and social activities, as well as the mandatory wearing of face masks.
However, focusing on what we have lost does not improve our situation. The anecdote is to have an attitude of gratitude and turn our attention to the many blessings we have in our lives.
For instance, I recently returned from a camping trip. It was nice to see more than my immediate neighborhood. I haven't even run to the grocery store in months. Yet, I had reservations about an excursion.
In spite of a t-shirt that proclaims the opposite, I'm not a happy camper. I love the outdoors, but camping is a messy business. Even the easiest tasks are work. I haul water, cook outside, relieve myself in a bucket and have limited access to a shower.
There are, however, a few silver linings.
The nighttime sky with its incredible "starscape" is breathtaking. Daytime strolls present a variety of magnificent trees, plants, birds and other wildlife that help me feel more connected to nature. When I return home I have a new appreciation for even the most ordinary things. I rejoice in my first hot shower. I give my washing machine a loving pat on its enamel lid as I throw my smelly clothing into its basin. And the sound of a flushing toilet is like music to my ears.
Truth be told, we ALL have a lot to be thankful for. I have found that transforming an attitude from grouchy to appreciative is a matter of focus. The trick is to make a concerted, ongoing effort away from the things that we find upsetting to those that bring us joy.
This appreciative effort extends to humankind. Even people we never meet have helped us in countless ways. They grow the food we eat and provide essential goods and services we depend on every day. It is essential we look beyond our own needs and appreciate our connections with others. To ignore this humanistic concept gives rise to a society suffocating in isolation, mistrust, hostility and apathy.
We are so much better than that.
The good news is it is not too late. We can start by now appreciating things now and not wait until it's gone.