By Meenakshi Chopra, Clinical Psychologist
“We must accept finite disappointment, But never lose infinite hope”— Martin Luther King, Jr.
2020 has been a year of many ups and downs. With the worldwide pandemic situation going on, we’ve been burdened by frustration and a sense of uncertainty. The impact is visible on all age groups across the world be it adults or children. These unprecedented circumstances make one wonder “When would it end?”. No one seems to know the answer to this question. We can only make assumptions about how things might be in the coming future. Many of us are hopefully waiting for this nightmare to be over. But what about those few who seem to have lost hope and given up? What is it that a person can do to instil hope in herself/ himself?
Let’s understand a few ways in which one can learn to stay hopeful and content even during adverse circumstances.
STEP 1: Learn to identify unhelpful thoughts
All of us experience “negative” thoughts at some point in our lives. These thoughts could be understood as pessimistic thoughts which could be related to ourselves, others or the future. A few examples could be “I am a failure”, “Nobody supports me”, “Things will always remain so bad”, etc. It is important to understand that if one is repeatedly thinking in this manner, it is a cause for concern. Generalizing a situation or jumping to conclusions based on scant evidence are a few thinking errors that we often make. Therefore, the first step towards positivity is identifying what kind of thoughts need to be modified
STEP 2: Evaluate how these thoughts are impacting your emotional state
Another component of evaluating your negative thoughts is to understand how they are impacting your emotional state. Are they making you scared, angry, sad, etc.? The hallmark of negative thoughts is that they generate unpleasant emotions in you. For example, the thought “I am a failure” would make you sad. Or “Things will always remain so bad” might make you scared or increase your anxiety.
STEP 3: Question the validity of these thoughts
The third important step is to test the validity of these thoughts. We need to follow a more rational approach here. As mentioned earlier, we are prone to errors of thinking. And sometimes we don’t even realize that we are doing it. For example, if I’m thinking “I’m a failure”, I need to rationalize by looking at the bigger picture. Looking at past experiences where successes were achieved would help in shifting the perspective in a more positive direction. You need to be mindful of the experiences where things were not so bad as they are looking now. Looking at the glass “half full” is always a better way of reassuring oneself and for generating hope.
STEP 4 : Be consistent in your efforts
It is very important to understand that these thinking strategies can only function if you practice them consistently. Positive thinking is a process and it requires time to take hold. Being consistent in your efforts and ensuring that you practice it as much as possible is the key. Just like the body needs to be strengthened by daily exercise, the mind needs a daily dose of positivity. Only then can one develop resilience, hope and positivity.
Experienced Psychologists at Samvedna Care, having years of experience in cognitive assessments and evaluations, conduct various tests such as memory screening, neuropsychological assessments, and neuropsychologist reviews to evaluate the mental health status. Timely psychological assessment will act as a warning in case initial symptoms of certain diseases appear and will help in taking preventive measures at an early stage.
Samvedna Care keeps organizing mental health talks from time to time to answer your queries. Look them up to check the next mental health talk.