It’s easy to get stuck in the negative cycle. Too many pressures, too much stress, too much bad news , too much to do and we find ourselves unable to break out of the mental doom & gloom. Guilty as charged, presently eating a family-sized bag of Bugles as a way to cope with images of destruction , problems without solutions that work for everyone, a sick child whose symptoms leave me scared, and a tribe of health care workers who just want this pandemic to end who are scared and exhausted.
We ask for help. We send up our white flags of surrender. And those who are supposed to have our backs are in the same position. What do we do now? Where do we find hope that this too shall pass? When does the fear cease?
Eating a bag of Bugles isn’t the solution to finding optimism and fear only leads to me trying to control things I cannot. The APA defines being an optimist as someone who “anticipates positive outcomes, whether serendipitously or through perseverance and effort, and who (is) confident of attaining desired goals.”
“Through perseverance and effort” – that describes the MO High tribe. By flexing our perseverance muscles, we are becoming resilient, and with resilience, we gain knowledge on how to deal with adversity and stay focused on our goals.
We don’t go through trials as silos, we go through them in community. This means two things to me. First, we have people around us to help, even if they don’t have solutions, they have a hand to hold, a shoulder to lean on, an ear to listen. Second, we help others as we persevere, they look at us and how we handle ourselves and gain knowledge of how to deal with adversity. We provide them with hope that they too will overcome.
We have to be able to first acknowledge there are things beyond our control or ability to influence. But there are some items I can control: I can put my bag of Bugles away and find a healthier way to cope. I can do something for someone else- a food basket for a sick family, buying lunch for that person behind me in line, a note dropped to a person I care about or who has helped me. I can go for a walk and make a list of all of the blessings in my life.
None of these will fix wars, hurricanes or illness but each will fix my ability to remain optimistic in the midst of hard times.