Here are the methods I learned to stay positive during times of stress. These skills are also mentioned in our video course “Retire on Social Security“. Here I divided them into four categories. On this page are the ones I do first.
Take Action – When something bad happens I look for things I can control in the situation, and work on those. If I’m not sure what to do, I do anything I can think of. Even if I’m doing the wrong thing I figure it out soon enough and try something else. But I won’t know whether it’s right or wrong unless I try.
At best, I improve my situation dramatically. At worst it’s a learning experience. But I still feel better about myself than if I did nothing. I always keep moving. When I take action I greatly increase my chances of surviving, and even thriving.
But taking action is about much more than accomplishing things. It’s about my mindset. Do I have fear, or does my fear have me? As the saying goes, courage is not about having no fear. It’s about being afraid and doing it anyway. I always consider the situation carefully, and then take action.
- Do the Right Thing – I found that when I do the right thing my self-esteem improves. When I feel good about myself I feel good about my life and the world. It’s important to stay optimistic. We can never give up.
Stay Connected – It’s always important to feel connected to others, but in these times of “stay home” it’s even more important. It’s very beneficial for people to express their feelings at a time like this. Call your friends and family just to see how they’re doing, and ask how they’re feeling these days.
Try not to interrupt with things like “Everything will be fine” or “I know exactly what you mean” or to try to fix them. That just tells them you’re not really interested. It’s much better to just listen carefully without judging, and let them know you hear what they’re saying. Everyone needs to be heard.
Also, unless they are purposely trying to be alone, most people are glad to have someone interested in what’s happening in their life.
Self-Improvement – What have you always wanted to bring into your life but never had the time? What about learning to meditate, playing a musical instrument, painting, writing a book, cooking, sewing, Tai Chi, Yoga, or studying the cosmos? Any form of creativity will help your mental health.
Will you be better off or worse when Covid-19 comes to an end? What about starting an on-line business? There are many people out there who need the knowledge you’ve accumulated, and are willing to pay for it. And for the first time in history you can reach almost all of them quickly and inexpensively on the internet.
Or you could learn a skill that your next target employer is looking for. You could upgrade your resumé. Is there a business course you could take on-line? What are your passions? What about learning a language? A hobby you enjoy can increase the quality of your life.
Keep a Journal – My journal has been an important part of my life for 30 years. When I have thoughts and feelings going around and around in my head and I’m not sure how I feel or what to do, putting them down on paper helps me sort them out. I think more logically when I write.
And when something unpleasant happens I put my thoughts on paper, put them in a drawer and forget about them. Then I can get on with my life without carrying that burden. Even if I have a digital journal, expressing my thoughts and feelings, and closing the file, makes it easier to think about other things.
Responsibility vs Fault – In order to keep my personal power I must take 100% responsibility for everything in my life. That doesn’t mean everything is my fault. It just means I’m responsible for how I react to what happened in the past, and what’s happening now. I can choose what I do, and even how i feel.
If I’m not happy with something in my life it’s up to me to change it. If I don’t take responsibility for everything in my life I become a helpless victim.
Home Maintenance – What better time to get rid of the clutter and clean your place. Your mind will feel less cluttered. And it will help take your mind off your problems. You’ll be more calm and feel better about your life.
Doing repairs helps you feel better about yourself because you’re more capable. You’ll be more able to solve problems wherever they arise. If you haven’t done a lot of repairs, search Youtube.com for a video on your project. If you don’t find exactly what you need, just go slow and look for the simplest solution first.
If you need to take something apart take pictures with your smart phone every step of the way so you can put it back together. Be sure to put all the small bits in a safe place, and put your tools back as soon as you finish using them so you don’t lose them.
Be patient with yourself. You’re having a learning experience. If you make a mistake just start again. You’ll get better every time you do it.
- Everything is Temporary – It’s important to remember in times like these that everything is temporary. As the good book says “This too shall pass”. There have been many large scale diseases over the years, and every one of them came to an end. But we can’t sit around and wait. We need to take action.
Feel My Personal Power – When I start to feel afraid of anything I purposely make myself feel a little bit angry. Anger is powerful, like I can do anything and nobody can stop me. I’m not afraid of anything.
Of course I don’t let it get the better of me. I’m a kind and gentle person. But there are times when feeling a little bit anger means I can relax, focus, and do whatever needs to be done at the time. Feeling your personal power is a wonderful feeling. I highly recommend it.