Staying Positive Even on Our Darkest Days
Full disclosure here, when things aren’t going well, I am guilty of the occasional pity party. I try to limit these episodes because I mean, how productive are they really? Despite this, sometimes the woe-is-me-itus appears. Before I go on, please allow me to clarify one thing…
I’m not talking about a bad mental health day. I have those too and understand the depth of that kind of despair. I know that depression can’t be lifted simply by thinking happy thoughts. Although in my experience some external positivity can help to break through most heavy mental fog.
With this post, I’m offering some uplifting ideas for those times in which we can choose between two paths. Bitterness or gratitude.
Let’s dive in.
You Literally Beat The Odds
I read a statistic last year. It kind of blew my mind and put a lot of things in perspective. Did you know, the fact that we exist at all, is nothing short of a friggin’ miracle? Seriously, scientists estimate that the probability of you being here right now is about one in 400 trillion. Yep, that’s ONE in FOUR HUNDRED TRILLION. Anyone else feeling those warm fuzzies?
We are all on this crazy ride together. Through the heart-breaking sorrow, to those moments of pure elation. The fact that we are alive at all, and can experience this big old buffet of emotions, is simply, amazing. I don’t know about you, but this encourages me to be the best that I can be. This doesn’t mean you have to go a million miles an hour every day or to see/be/do everything all at once by the way. You can both strive to improve AND take your time doing it.
Inch By Inch And Life’s A Cinch
If you are feeling like your life is out of control, you can start by taking small incremental steps towards a “good” life. By the way, a good life is whatever you deem it to be. Your priority may be interpersonal relationships, career aspirations, family etc. Find out what is important to you and aim towards that.
It’s easy to focus on the full mountain ahead of you and quit before you even start. But all mountains are made up of incremental steps that you have FULL control over. When I first contemplated this, I felt really empowered. The more micro steps you take, the clearer the view ahead becomes.
Often the most important act is to take the first step.
Without the Dark, Light Means Nothing
Even the smallest light shines in the darkness.
-The Seeker: The Dark Is Rising (2007)
To emphasise the above quote, picture a little angler fish. Let’s call him Kurt Angler Fish. Kurt lives 1,000 metres below sea level in the midnight zone. It bares this name because no sunlight penetrates this far down. But Kurt Angler Fish evolved this adorable lantern on his head to help him find his way. Try to picture how brightly his little lantern must shine in the pitch-black depths of the midnight zone.
Things might seem terrible right now, maybe the worst they have ever been. But when you come out of the other side (and I promise you will) the light you experience will seem even more beautiful!
Positive World Trends
When I think about the steps taken by previous generations, it gives me hope. The people of yesteryear struggled and fought (in some cases died) for us so that we have the best possible chance at existence. They believed in us; their sons, daughters and grandchildren.
For the more pragmatic among us (myself included), I have compiled some positive world trends to highlight that modern life ain’t all bad.
Extreme Poverty has Reduced
According to Steven Pinker (author of Enlightenment Now) about less than 10% of the world now lives in extreme poverty. Just three decades ago, this figure was 30%. Obviously, there is more work left to do, but WOWSERS. How far have we already come? This is significant progress towards ending extreme poverty in a relatively short space of time. When you consider that the world’s population has also increased in the last three decades, this positive trend is even more impressive.
Average Life Expectancy Has Increased Worldwide
According to statistics from the United Nations:
- Average life expectancy at birth for the world was 64.2 years in 1990
- Average life expectancy at birth for the world reached 71.4 years in 2015
This means that WORLDWIDE on average between 1990 and 2015 we gained an extra 7.2 years of life each. That’s an extra 7.2 years to do the things you love (like eating pizza or writing awesome blog content!)
Worldwide Medical Breakthroughs
According to an article published on Forbes.com in 2017:
…the World Health Organization unveiled a new vaccine that’s cheap and effective enough to end cholera, one of humanity’s greatest-ever killers.
Leprosy is now easily treatable. The number of worldwide cases has dropped by 97% since 1985, and a new plan has set 2020 as the target for eradicating the disease.
Anyone else think that’s a damn cool development? Let that soak in for a minute.
The intention of this post is not to preach at you. I am by no means recommending that you repress all negative feelings or emotions. This does not help, things don’t have to be amazing every day. You do however deserve someone in your corner. These are the kind of things I think about to move towards a better head space. If this can help or inspire one other person, I’m happy!
I would like to end on a quote.
Man never made any material as resilient as the human spirit.
This? You got this!
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P.p.s. If you enjoyed this post why not check out my previous post by clicking the image below.