As our nation and the world at large work to adapt to the changes implemented due to COVID-19, we have all had to adapt and overcome in our own personal ways. You hear so many people say that we must stay positive during this time, which I believe is true.
According to Psychology Today website, “people who are grateful feel less pain, less stress, suffer from insomnia less, have stronger immune systems.” As a disabled, three-time combat veteran living with many autoimmune diseases, I have learned that my attitude and viewpoint directly affect my mental and physical health.
It’s hard to stay mentally healthy when we are bombarded daily by COVID-19 case reports, the death toll and the ways in which our lives have been rearranged and put on hold. The pandemic has brought about a lot of change, but not all of it has been bad.
I suffer not only from autoimmune diseases, but live with post-traumatic stress (PTSD). Many of the medical and mental health services I was able to use before the lockdown are now unavailable. Attaining food, medications and other provisions has become more stressful. It would be easy for me to let quarantine amplify my struggles. Instead, I choose to seek those silver linings.
For example, before the lockdown, I would spend two or more hours in traffic, and given my medical issues, my daily energy is limited. Driving causes me a lot of stress, so I would get home from school feeling distressed and exhausted with barely enough energy for homework, much less personal projects.
Now, I wake up each day and do my school work from home. I have more energy during the day to do the things I need as well as what I love, like painting or exercising. I realized there were a lot of silver linings to my situation, and I found myself feeling gratitude in the midst of my struggle.
According to the Psychology Today website, to see the benefits of a pandemic requires what psychologists call a cognitive “reframe,” which means learning to see situations from a different perspective. That reframe can help you not only see the current positives but also gives you ideas on how to create a more positive tomorrow.
I feel that our attitude today is what sets the stage for our accomplishments tomorrow. I posit we should all take a moment to really stop and look at the grey cloud of our pandemic. I believe without a doubt you will soon start to see your own silver linings.