The importance of staying positive in negative times

The below is a guest blog by Gillian, a QFCC Youth Champion

“There is no normal life that is free of pain. It’s the very wrestling with our problems that can be the impetus for our growth” (Fred Rogers)

This year there has been a lot of change in our lives. Schools and educational institutions have closed and re-opened, working at home is a new norm for many, and the baking of sourdough has made quite a comeback. Nevertheless, we are all dealing with these changes in our own ways.

One phrase that I have noticed being mentioned frequently during this time is the phrase ‘staying positive’. Although positivity is a great outlook to have, you wouldn’t be human if this was the case 24/7. It is okay to have periods of negativity, as it is okay to have periods of positivity. We, as people, grow the most when going through hardships and uncertain times, now more than ever.

On the other hand, the constant flow of uncertain and ongoing negative news is for many a new experience, particularly for children and young people. So, the question is how do we stay positive when it may seem like the world has opposite intentions?

Here are some helpful steps to improve your positivity during this time:

  1. Stay Connected: It is very important to remain in contact with your friends and family, especially during social isolation or distancing.
  1. Seek out the good in every situation: It is important to realise that the news projected towards us focuses on the negative situations rather than the positive, when in fact all around us there are constant acts of selflessness, bravery, and compassion that we often overlook. Children are especially vulnerable in this case as they start to question the constant scary and negative events depicted on the news as they are too young to understand the gravity of the situation.
  1. Self Care: It is okay to take some time to focus on yourself. This can be anything from taking breaks, exercising, to more practical actions of organising and cleaning.
  1. Seek Help From Others: It is important to seek help from others, even for small things. This could be by seeking extra support from colleagues or teachers, or seeking out mental health support such as counsellors.
  1. Get Educated: Becoming more informed about the circumstances around you can help you feel like you have greater control over your life. For example, it is very useful at the moment to keep on top of changing rules, restrictions and safety precautions around COVID-19.
  1. Support Young People: For children and young people living through this current unprecedented time, their heightened thoughts of anxiety and uncertainty can have long term and immediate impacts on their emotional wellbeing. For this reason, Children’s Health Queensland have developed a storybook/digital video Birdie and the Virus that is designed to support the mental health and emotional wellbeing of babies and young children, their parents and families by explaining the COVID-19 pandemic. Birdie and the Virus also reinforces the importance of staying home, hand washing and keeping connected with friends during isolation.

So when you start to feel like you are attracting negative thoughts and mindset remember that firstly this is a completely normal part of being human, secondly to focus on what's good in your life, and thirdly don’t be ashamed to seek external support through organisations, and support systems. As we allow ourselves to develop a positive mindset, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.

Some great support services include: