We are living in some rough times.

The COVID-19 pandemic has hit the world hard, quarantine is difficult and there are growing tensions across the globe. It is enough to make anyone feel like there isn’t much positivity around us. The internet in particular can be a grim place, giving us unprecedented access to information and (often bad) news. If you feel overwhelmed, you aren’t alone.

At the same time, the web is an incredible tool for fostering a sense of well being and camaraderie. We have seen so many reach out to provide one another with support, care and assistance as the months drag on. Whether finding aid or just someone to talk to, without the internet we would be in a far lonelier place right now.

Still, that doesn’t make the negativity found there any less toxic. While there may not be a way to completely clean it up, we can all do our part to make it a bit brighter. We just have to turn our collective efforts to spreading more positivity online.

First, Take a Deep Breath

This is always the first step. It is so easy to find things online that spark an emotional reaction, whether that be sadness, anger or even sentimentality. In any case, it can be a lot to handle. Especially if you are being bombarded by it day in and day out, every time you open up your newsfeed.

So take a deep breath and look away. Remember that you don’t know the majority of the people on the other side of the screen. Even if you do, you don’t have to let their opinion – or just bad news – ruin your day.

Develop Some Perspective

They say we are all going through the same storm but we are all in different boats. Some of us were hit more than the others, so develop some perspective and be thankful for all you have. It could have been worse.

Perspective is so hard to maintain sometimes. That overload of information makes it seem like nothing but horrible things are happening around us. You may even feel unsafe, like danger is lurking around every corner.

Yet, we are living in a world that is safer than it ever has been and there is scientifically proven data that backs that fact up.

When you are feeling like everything is spiraling out of control, remember those figures. Then share them with others. We could all use the reminder once in awhile that things aren’t as bad as the internet can make them seem.

Whether you are a business owner trying to navigate the coronavirus reality or a college student coping with anxiety, there are online tools and resources to get help. Just breathe.

Distance Yourself From The Toxicity

Not everywhere on the web is going to be good for you. If you surround yourself with toxicity you are bound to be affected by it. Your mood can sour, you can become depressed and that can carry over into the rest of your life.

Just because you like roses doesn’t mean you have to prick your fingers on the thorns. Do a little pruning of your internet activity. Start cutting away anything that isn’t positive for you.

That Facebook group where everyone seems to be constantly fighting? Leave it. That subreddit that makes you feel as though there are no good people left? Stop visiting it.

Make Your Social Media Time Productive

When quarantine began, I was spending a ton of time on social media, like most people. But I felt like I was wasting that time, just stagnating.

A group of friends locally came up with a little group, where we made sanitized care packages for people we knew who were older, immunocompromised or just down on their luck. It became a surprisingly large operation and turned into a group of hundreds of people.

You can turn your social media time into something productive that spreads positivity. If you ask, you are sure to find plenty of others eager to join you.

Overcoming digital distraction is not easy but doable. All you need is to start moving in the right direction.

Clean Up Your Friends List

You know that guy you went to high school with who does nothing but post conspiracy theories and insults on his Facebook feed all day? Or maybe that aunt you see once every three years who you never seem able to agree with? The mutual friends you met once at a party but really don’t know or have anything in common with? They can probably all go.

The internet has become a kind of catch all in our lives of old coworkers, distant friends and relatives we have little to no connection with. That can be fine, but when you are trying to spread positivity, it can help to cultivate who you are spreading it to and who is giving it back. Especially if those you usually come across tend more toward the negative side.

Seek To Be Inspired and To Inspire

Of everything on this list, this may be the most useful tip. What is it you are trying to get out of the internet and your usage? If you are just assuaging boredom, you are not getting nearly as much out of it as you could be. The web has a wide array of content that can spark even the most tired imagination, in any genre you can imagine.

Whether you are into art, literature, sports or even collecting obscure antique kites, you can find something about it online. It isn’t limited to hobbies, either. Plenty of DIY articles and videos exist so you can try something new. You can develop a new skill, or share one of your own with those who could be inspired by you.

One thing I have been doing lately is trying to find inspiration in the little things people do and say. Anytime someone says something that resonates with me, I screenshot it. I have a private folder on Pinterest where I upload them, with the names blacked out. Whenever I feel a little down, or just need that spark of inspiration in my day, I go to my folder. I collect other quotes, images and videos I find around the web there, as well. It is becoming quite full and going through it is a part of my daily routine.

Every once in a while, I will share something I have found with a friend, relative or even colleague when I can see they could use a bit of cheering.

How do you spread or find positivity online? Would love to hear from you on Twitter @JessyTroy

Image by Alexas_Fotos from Pixabay