Positive thoughts? During a pandemic?  As unbelievable as it sounds, a positive attitiude is what’s needed most right now. You may feel like you’re living in a giant cesspool of fear, anxiety, and uncertainty, but it’s important not to get caught up in this swirling mess.  Your health and well-being depend on it.

Everyone reacts differently to stressful situations. None of us have ever lived through the stress of a pandemic which makes it even more overwhelming. But prolonged stress takes a toll affecting your thoughts, feelings, and behavior. The effects of stress may include angry outbursts, fatigue, headaches, worry, social withdrawal, anxiety, changes in sleep and eating patterns, and may also worsen any chronic health conditions you already have.

While we may miss our “former” lives as they used to be, at least public spaces and business are slowly opening back up. Since none of us know when the pandemic will end, preventive measures helping to slow the spread, especially to those most vulnerable, are still important – maintaining a healthy distance from others, frequent hand washing, avoiding touching your face, and wearing a mask when in public.

However, during these times of doom and gloom, even the most optimistic of us may find it hard to stay positive. It’s understandable that keeping a positive attitude during difficult times may seem impossible, it can be done. Focusing on positive things you can do for your body and mind, is what will get you through this pandemic, stronger than ever.

Here’s how to embrace positive thoughts during challenging times:

  • Have a change in outlook

The way you view life impacts your outcomes. Some may see disarray while others see opportunity. Each day is a new beginning different from the day before. By looking for the silver lining in every situation, your will nurture an attitude of turning stressful situations into more positive circumstances, helping diffuse feelings of frustration and hopelessness.

  • Stay connected with friends and family

We may be told to physically distance ourselves, but thankfully, we can still keep in contact virtually. Video chats on your computer or cell phone, connecting together through social media, or simply making a daily call to close friends, are valuable ways to feel bonded together. By opening up about your feelings during the pandemic is a practical and therapeutic means of reaching out to others who likely feel the same way. Together, find ways to restore positivity in each other’s lives.

  • Exercise everyday

No surprise but exercise is a quick way to boost positivity.  The endorphin “feel good” rush, improved blood circulation, muscles being used…it’s a win-win for having a positive outlook. The best thing about exercise is do what feels good.  It it’s walking, hiking, riding a bike, swimming, or dancing, whatever you enjoy is what you should do to inspire positivity.

  • Take a break from the news

The first step in lowering stress is to turn off the news. A news break is a must to maintain your sanity and positivity.  News, whether from TV, social media or radio, is usually driven by what sells and unfortunately, bad news ‘sells’ the best. By turning off negative messages and tuning in instead to your own daily activities, is likely a better choice for regaining some positivity. Try it for a couple of days and you’ll feel the difference.

  • Take time to unwind

Each day, carve out time to do something relaxing. It could be reading a book, watching a funny movie, listening to music or playing a musical instrument, these and other relaxing activities help you unwind physically and mentally.

  • Find ways to help others

If all we do is only think about ourselves and our problems, unhappiness and despair often follows. That’s why turning our inward attention outward towards those in need, actually helps ease not only their burdens but also yours. Start to ask others, “Is there anything I can do for you?”  All of us are struggling trying to find a balance of normalcy. When we reach out to others in need, we will also end up helping ourselves long term.

  • Focus on finding your purpose

If you have struggled to find your purpose in life resulting in less positive feelings, it may be from feeling isolated from others. Everyone needs a purpose in life to foster positivity. Being connected to and working with others towards accomplishing things together, is associated with better physical and mental health. Figuring out who you want to be and what you want to do is an important step in life. Once you know that answer, you can find small ways to try to show up as that person each day – and you do not have to be perfect – is a giant step towards creating a positive attitude and life moving forward.

Dr. David Samadi is the Director of Men’s Health and Urologic Oncology at St. Francis Hospital in Long Island. He’s a renowned and highly successful board certified Urologic Oncologist Expert and Robotic Surgeon in New York City, regarded as one of the leading prostate surgeons in the U.S., with a vast expertise in prostate cancer treatment and Robotic-Assisted Laparoscopic Prostatectomy.  Visit Dr. Samadi’s websites at robotic oncology and prostate cancer 911.