The editor of Great Walks has a thing or two to say about our current situation.
Viruses, wildfires, climate change... sometimes it feels like the world's going to hell in a HiLux, however wrapping yourself up in a blanket of fear won't help.
American philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson said 'Fear defeats more people than any other one thing in the world' which got me thinking about this concept of fear which lead me to discovering US psychology professor Barbara Fredrickson's wonderful book, simply called Positivity.
In it she offers five golden rules to push away fear and embrace positivity and here they are:
Practice gratitude Recognising and appreciating the good aspects of your life, no matter how small, can have a tremendous impact on your emotional wellbeing. Yes, life's pretty rough right now but as my Mum used to say, "This too will pass". We'll be ok.
Be kind You'd think that was a no-brainer but maybe we need to be more aware of its potential for positive change. Helping others has been scientifically proven to boost your own mood and lengthen your lifespan.
Connect with others This is important! Warm, trusted relationships are an essential component of emotional wellbeing. Strong social ties can boost confidence and self-esteem, as well as provide a psychological buffer against stress, depression, and anxiety. Now that might sounds tough to do right now as we're told to stay at home BUT you can still make a phone call or Facetime - or if you do meet meet up with a friend practice good social distancing.
Spend time in nature As Great Walks readers know, the environment can play a big role in triggering or soothing stress, and researchers say the more green in your life, the better you’ll feel. And as we said last week, going for a bushwalk or just a brisk walk around your neighbourhood is acceptable.
And finally, savour goodness We perpetually rush through life experiences – especially good ones. Learning to savour life means slowing down and appreciating moments of joy, contentment, and peace, no matter how small. The longer something is held in awareness, the more neurons that fire and store the object or thought in memory.
Savouring positive experiences and thoughts will “teach” the brain to fall into a more naturally positive pattern and push aware fear. Look forward to a positive experience, relish it while it’s happening, and later allow the positive feelings to re-emerge as you hold the experience in your memory.
Here endeth the lesson!