The current Covid-19 pandemic has challenged us physically, socially, financially and psychologically. The psychological impact is widespread and many individuals are experiencing feelings of grief, loss, anxiety, hopelessness and depression. These feelings are exasperated by the present lack of control in our lives and the unpredictability of the future. As the weeks progress with limited encouraging news, individuals are having to dig deeper, to “gut it out” in order to maintain a positive, forward-thinking attitude.
And yet, the field of Psychology tells us that a hopeful attitude is exactly what we need to have during these difficult times. Optimism, positivity and hope may be the exact medicine that we presently need. How do we maintain optimism in our lives amidst such tragedy? Positive Psychology teaches us that our thoughts and attitude can greatly impact how we feel and act; and a hopeful attitude will help us weather this unexpected storm. What we say to ourselves, how we explain these life events and the “tapes” that we allow to run throughout our heads will result in how we react and handle these present trials. We cannot control this pandemic, we cannot control the length of our quarantine, and we cannot control some of the consequences, but we can control our day to day lives and find meaning in our daily activities. As Epictetus (1AD) stated, “What disturbs people’s minds are not events, but their judgement on events.”
David Kessler, a renowned writer and collaborator with Elizabeth Kubler-Ross on grief, states that to weather these difficult times we:
We are not alone in this. We are in this together. Let’s continue to offer one another encouragement, validation, love and support; and the communal awareness that this time in our lives is temporary and we will get through this together.