I wrote this post back in July after the shooting that killed several Dallas police officers. In light of the political bickering and divide, I think it’s appropriate for today as well, regardless of your political affiliation.
Looking at the world today it seems as though its crashing down all around us. But don’t give into despair. Here are a few keys to staying positive and not just giving up on humanity:
1. While it’s very important to stay informed, once you have the information, stop reading about tragedies over and over. Be careful about social media- don’t read the tweets of the hashtags on Twitter that are going to enrage you. When crisis arises, our inclination is to go on information overload- and not just from the news, but from the opinions of others. At the end of the day, their opinions will change nothing- except to infuriate and discourage us. Just stay away from that as much as you can. From my own experience I have found that reading things on social media colors the way I see everything and causes me to feel, if not hopeless, at least extremely discouraged. So, I make a concerted effort to spend only a small amount of time reading tweets or posts that are hurtful.
2. Fill your time with the things you love. Instead of hyper-focusing on all of the bad news of the day, take time to participate in your favorite hobby. I spend my time watching major league baseball (y’all know I’m a fanatic). I love baseball- so I choose to fill my evenings with whatever game is being televised (it doesn’t even have to be my beloved Rangers). Escape to the things that fill you with accomplishment, joy, or contentment.
3. Take care of yourself. Get moving, if you’re physically able. It’s so hot under my Texas sky that I wait til about 8:00 pm and jump in the pool. I force myself to work out for at least an hour. Now, I HATE exercise- but it’s become a habit- and it really does make me feel better to just know I’m doing something that’s good for my heart and my mind. Plus I can clear my mind of the days worries while I’m out there. Even if you just walk some laps around the inside of your house, (don’t laugh- I do this!) it does a world of good.
4. Look for the good in the world. As Mr. Rogers told our children in times of crisis- look for the helpers. If you’re going to read stories- read those about heroes; or about us coming together; loving each other. Those stories are out there too, it’s just that we tend to be drawn to the controversial things.Seek out the positive things.
5. Most importantly for me, as a person of faith, I just try to remember that God’s love is an overcoming love, and I trust in him to get us through whatever the heartache. I know enough to understand that we may be touched by tragedy, but as long as we are breathing, we have hope for a future.