Depression Hack: Focus on the Good

The world is a hot mess. Tensions are running high, hatred seems to be everywhere you look, and mass shootings are almost becoming the norm.  Why is this happening? Has this happened before? Is it politics, race relations, the distribution of wealth, or are people just reaching their breaking points? Most importantly, is there an end in sight?

Many psychologists feel that society has inevitably brought us to this point through social media/constant connection/the worldwide web. We simply have too much information and too many ways to connect instantly with millions of others. That was supposed to be a good thing, but it has turned into a nightmare. In essence, we have created the hot mess and there is no end in sight.

So . . . What can we do? How can we cope?

What can we do?   What we can do is outlined in our previous post, “Be Good = Get Good.” Don’t contribute the the madness and evil of the world. Be a good person. Make the right choices. Choose to be kind and generous. Spread happiness, not hate. Be a positive influence in the world.

How can we cope?   We can cope by focusing on the good. There is still good in the world. There are still butterflies and sunshine, ice cream sundaes and apple pies. What we need to do is focus on what is good in life and block out what is bad. The Christian Serenity prayer states it best: 

“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference. Living one day at a time; enjoying one moment at a time . . . taking, as He did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it . . . “

We may not be able to bring about world peace, but we can bring peace into our own lives by focusing on what is positive. Look in the mirror. Take a deep breath. You are alive. Willie Nelson, 84-year-old country superstar, celebrates the fact that, “I’m still not dead,” in his recent song. There is always something to be thankful for, whether it be your next breath, an unexpected check in the mail, an open parking spot, or a mild, sunny day. There is always a silver lining if you look hard enough. This is what gets many disabled people through each day. If they have amputated legs, they focus on the fact that they still have a healthy mind, strong arms, and loving support. Someone in the absolute worst shape can undoubtedly always find at least one positive thing to focus on. Prisoners of war, victims of tragedy and terror, castaways, and the terminally ill have all made it through unthinkable trials by focusing on the good.

There is really no reason NOT to focus on the positive. You can examine every “bad” thing in our world and replace it with thoughts about something good. In the same way, you can think about every bad thing in your own life and replace it with something good. Practice doing this and don’t ever let yourself feel hopeless. No matter how hot the mess gets, there is always hope. Stay positive friends. You can prevail.

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