Gratitude, Hope & optimism in the time of pandemic

(The glass half full)

 

It’s been almost 1.5 years since the pandemic hit us and each one of us is handling it differently. Some of us have accommodated ourselves with the condition and the challenges it brings everyday while some people are still struggling to manage and meet the ends. I guess this has become an everyday story for everyone now. The total flipout of our schedules, managing everything from home etc has caused a kind of chaos in every sphere of our lives and it’s totally understandable that most of us have nothing to look forward to. So It is very natural that some of us are feeling negative at this time of crisis. 

Now at this point most people will get the very obvious advice: “Think positive,be hopeful and everything will be fine”. Sounds easy right? But how can one hold onto the thread of optimism and hope that something good will happen, when you’re already grappling with the feelings of hopelessness and helplessness? 

 

So if it is not easy, why should we even try to be hopeful?? Why is it necessary to feel optimistic during a crisis? Even I myself found it very difficult to suddenly handle everything from home. Like many others, I too was lost and anxious about how to keep work-life balance. The constant worry of losing a job, collapsing economy, my students and the health of my family etc etc….

So how did I manage to still push myself through this chaos? Well even though I’m a passive anxious overthinker, I have this firm belief that it’s always better to put in more effort than doing nothing. Now it’s very easy to be happy and grateful when life is going well but when life takes a downhill turn, gratitude is worth the effort.

 

As life became a little ‘Slow paced’ due to quarantine, I could see the things that I would otherwise have ignored in the rush. I made a routine to wake up to find something to be grateful for even though there was a constant turmoil around me. I believe that difficult situations itself creates a need in us to recognize the positive aspects of life e.g the neighbours helping those in need, the delivery men, the doctors, the essential workers, that chemist and grocery shop at the end of the street, being able to work and earn a steady income while many were jobless, being grateful for food, shelter and the presence of our loved ones while many lost everything in this pandemic.

Once you start realizing and valuing these little things it automatically opens channels for us to be hopeful in the time of chaos. When you have a hopeful and optimistic outlook, it actually creates new neural pathways and builds resilience in us. This enables us to bounce back to our normal functioning, deal with those difficult emotions and handle situations that otherwise seem overwhelming. 

 

Hope, optimism are essential forces in challenging situations like disasters,  pandemic, epidemics etc . Sometimes people stick to one side or sometimes they keep jumping to both sides (optimism/pessimism). It is all about our choices. What choices we make in the present decides our future.  

Look at our own  human history, it’s ladened with tales of hope and optimism…Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King, Malala, Viktor Frankle and so on…If you don’t want to flip the pages of past then identify the ‘Heroes of Hope” around you, those who inspire you, who are survivors of troubled times, who are flag bearers of resilience and optimism. 

 

Next time if you’re having a “Glass half empty moment” then lean back and think about things you are still fortunate to have. Remember your past triumphs, think about those who supported you in any way during that hard time.

At the end I’ll just conclude with the quote of Martin Selingman: 

“ Optimism gives us breadcrumbs of hope, whether they lead to a rainbow is not the point. What matters is that we are given enough crumbs to keep going”

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