With all of the chaos in the world today– mass shootings, floods, hurricanes, earthquakes– it can be easy to become discouraged and fearful. You might be tempted to think, “If bad things happen to everyone, what’s the point of trying?” or “If such terrible people exist in the world, there is no hope for humanity.” This kind of thinking falls into the dangerous ‘all or nothing’ trap. It’s important to remember the world isn’t full of only bad things, or even only good things. Life is full of a mix of good and bad events. If you struggle with discouragement and fear when faced with what seems like an unending onslaught of terror, here are five tips for keeping a hopeful, balanced outlook on life.
- “Look for the helpers.” Most people know the quote by Fred Rogers by now, “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’” What his mother advised is something we should all keep in mind when faced with tragedy. Sure, there may be people who choose to do horrific things, but there are far more people who are willing to help, rescue, and support those who are in need. Looking for the helpers in these situations will help us to keep a balanced outlook on our society, and help us maintain hope.
- Remember that life is a cycle of good and bad. While the good can’t last forever, neither can the bad. When we are going through a hard time, if we remind ourselves that it won’t last forever, we can maintain hope and positivity.
- Keep a gratitude journal. Keeping a gratitude journal has many benefits. One such benefit is that taking time each day to think of a few things we are grateful for can help us maintain a positive attitude and will remind us that there are good things in life to look forward to and to focus on. (You can read this blog here to learn even more benefits of keeping a gratitude journal.)
- Cultivate positive relationships and support systems. Having positive human connections is crucial to our happiness and ability to cope with stress and trauma. Having relationships with people who support you, uplift you, and are there for you when you are down can really help to ground and remind you that there is always hope and love in the world.
- Focus on what you can control. Often, we get carried away with worry over tragic or frightening events because we can’t control them. It can be hard to accept that. However, there is still much in our lives that we do have control over. We have control over our attitudes, how often we reach out to people, and our hobbies. While we might not always have the time that we wish we had, we can use the time that we do have to cultivate our hobbies, reach out to our friends and families, and do the things that we love with the people we love.
Whether you are overwhelmed with the life you have been given or the state of the world, keep in mind that there is always hope. Remember to look for the helpers, try keeping a gratitude journal, keep in mind that life is a cycle of good and bad events, cultivate positive relationships, and focus on what you can control. If you do these things, the stress and the fear of life will seem less daunting, and you will be able to maintain a more balanced outlook.