How I’m Staying Positive While Our Country Crashes and Burns

Let’s face it, we as a country have had a rough go these past few years. It feels like almost every day, we come dangerously close to self-destruction. Just when we think we’ve taken a step forward, we somehow immediately take two steps back. It’s hard to stay positive but it’s not impossible, here’s how…

  1. Staying informed. We’re flooded with information all day every day and that can be overwhelming. With the emergence of “fake news,” it’s hard to tell what’s real and what’s been sensationalized to manipulate certain feelings and outcomes. What we’ve had to learn and adapt to rather quickly is the ability to sift out the genuine information from the propaganda. Now, if we read a headline that sounds particularly scandalous or melodramatic one of the first things we do is check the source to make sure we’re not being bamboozled into thinking something crazy like, oh I don’t know, another country is going to use their own funds to build a stupid wall to keep their own people from getting over said wall. Because that would be insane.
  2. Keeping an open mind. One thing I know I’m guilty of is catering my news to my beliefs. It’s no secret that there is a divide in this country and it’s only getting bigger. Refusing to listen to or even entertain the ideas of opposing views is the easiest way to keep your blood pressure down but it’s also the easiest way to add to that division. I think the goal is not to change the minds of those who see things differently but to come to an understanding of where those views stem from in the first place.
  3. Being vocal. There is no better feeling than being well versed and competent about an issue you feel strongly about. We have so many ideas and comments thrown at us every day, it can be difficult to stay focused and concise about your own feelings. Being able to vocalize your thoughts and feelings in an intelligent and thoughtful way and argue your point of view in a manner that’s cohesive and comprehensive can feel almost euphoric. If I could bottle up that feeling and sell it, I’d be a rich woman.
  4. Keeping online trolling to a minimum. Nothing destroys my faith in humanity faster than the comment section of any online article. We all do it after a particularly emotional piece; go straight to the comment section for validation that what we think and feel is the majority and is therefore right and it ALWAYS blows up in our face. I’m sure some of the opinions are genuine, I’m also sure some of the opinions are garnered by sad trolls looking for attention and to get a rise out of people. None of us have time for that and I’ve come to the conclusion that the comment section is not a healthy place for me.
  5. Talking with family and friends. Nothing takes the edge off imminent and consuming dread like a good support system. Being able to discuss the everyday struggles facing our country with people we know and trust is not only healthy but cathartic. Every time my friends and I get into deep conversations about the state of things I come away with new insights which often change my outlook for the better.
  6. Taking time to enjoy real life. Getting out and actually doing something in the real world can do wonders for your psyche. Sometimes I’ll get on the old soc med for a quick update on what’s happening in the world and I emerge five hours later, hopeless and disheveled, wondering where it all went wrong. This is not sexy and does no one any good. Putting down the phone and taking time to get outside and move your body whether it’s just going for a walk around your neighborhood or actually interacting with real humans is so necessary for staying sane.
  7. Two words: puppy videos. I once read that watching puppy videos before bed makes for a better nights sleep. Whether this is factual or not, I don’t know, what I do know is that it’s important to find little pleasures in life no matter how silly they may seem. Personally, I like puppies; they’re little, they’re cute and they make me feel like everything is going to be okay…if only for a brief moment in time.
  8. Being proactive. There’s no better time than the present to get out and get involved in a cause that means something to you. If we’ve learned anything over the past two years, it’s that it only takes a few to make a big change. If you’re looking for inspiration, here are just a few: Democratic primary winner, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez who literally hit the ground running to win New York’s 14th congressional district, for one. Girlfriend is 28 years old and was bartending this time last year. Literally any of the students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas speaking out against gun violence, they’re all remarkable students between the ages of 16 and 18 who are currently traveling the country to spread gun violence awareness, urging young people to vote and making an incredible impact.
  9. Look inward. While it’s not likely that we’ll ever control the actions of others, one thing we can control is our own actions. Looking inward and making an effort to feel good about ourselves and our place in the world is the healthiest thing we can do for ourselves. It’s not selfish, it’s self-care and that positivity will radiate into the world and hopefully infect others.
  10. When in doubt, screaming into the void. It’s safe, it’s legal and most of all, it’s effective!