FeelGooder Asks: How Do You Stay Positive?

It’s been a wild few weeks. Between the US economy’s rollercoaster ride, Britain’s riots, and ongoing unrest in other countries, I can’t be the only one to wonder if the world’s gone mad.

How do you stay positive?

When we’re faced with—or living through—such difficult news, it can be hard to stay positive. We might be worried about newly laid-off friends, or fearing for the safety of loved ones caught up in the mayhem. We might log onto a news site and feel instantly overwhelmed. We might wonder where in heck things are heading.


The UNHCR homepage

Sometimes a balanced approach is a good way to handle those feelings. I try not to get too caught up in the news reports, the phone-cam-videos and real-time, on-the-ground reports—I reason that once I know what’s going on, there’s no real need to pore over every detail of the turmoil.

I also try to focus on the good I can do here and now, for the people I care about. That can help stave off the feelings of helplessness, and remind me not to take friends and family for granted. If I can, I’ll usually give to an appeal, like the UN Refugee agency’s Libya appeal, in the hopes that it might help someone I don’t know. We’re publishing a post next week that will discuss these kind of contributions in detail—keep an eye out for it.

Do you do similar things to stay positive in the face of such terrible news? I’d love to hear about your approach in the comments.

About georgina

Georgina is a professional writer and editor, and Content Manager for FeelGooder.


  1. That’s true! Being negative is different from being sad. A train derailing and killing several people is a sad event. And there’s nothing wrong in being sad because of this. But what makes it _negative_ are the newspapers – “who’s responsible for it?”, “it’s their fault!”, “no, it’s their” etc. That’s negative and that’s what makes people who read and hear this become negative. So, I’d say – turn off the news. I personally don’t own a radio or a TV and I’ve blocked most of the mainstream news sites in my firewall’s configuration.

  2. Very timely article! I am attuned to the news but I try not to get real emotionally invested. I have found that it is vitally important for me to stay in the moment. When I stay in the moment I am much better at creating positive thoughts, even joy. When I let my mind wander then I am more likely to engage in worrying, sad, or otherwise unpleasant thoughts.

  3. Hi Georgina,
    I don’t let outer circumstances control the way that I feel. I wasn’t born this way and it took several years to develop this.

    In fact our outer circumstances are created by the way we feel/our state of being. So whenever we see crazy stuff being acted out by people it is a reflection of their state of being.

    • June 28, 2011 10:09 am by Queneau I think there needs to be a slight seitaarpon of perspective on this one: (1) how the industry itself judges such awards, and (2) how the punter judges such awards.Having been on both sides of the divide, I think there’s a massive gulf between the two. We all know that the hospitality industry is staffed with slightly maniacal egomanics, who will do pretty much anything to get themselves one up on their competitors, at least from a publicity angle. For many owners/managers, the receipt of such awards is one step in this direction and serves as an emphemeral justification of all the effort and investment that they have made. As the article rightly points out, however, this is a flawed logic as the awards are often based on oblique judging criteria and further investment, rather than on an objective, transparent and level playing field. However, it’s easy for many restauranteurs to remain blind to this fact when they see the name of their bar/restaurant up in lights. Awards can actually be incredibly counter-productive, by validating the current practices of place when these practices might already be pretty flawed, and reinforcing already deep-rooted myopia.Essentially, such awards gently massage the egg-shell egos of those who work in the industry, and will continue to exploit this weakness until many more owners/managers wake up to the financial reality.Which brings me on to (2). Looking at it purely economically, I’m not aware of any non-anecdotal, objective evidence which demonstrates that receiving such awards has any direct correlation to increased customer through-put (the exception being Michelin stars – not surprising, given it’s the biggest global restaurant ‘critic’). My point is that there is a very small minority of guides that punters pay attention to, and the vast majority of other guides/awards are largely ignored. As the public becomes more and more informed about the industry at large, we’re becoming more and more informed about the choice architecture which surrounds it, and are getting better at discerning the valid from the crap.As such, industry-sponsored back-slapping w*nk-fests are now being seen, rightly, as the emperor’s new clothes, and punters are beginning to look elsewhere for the arbiters of quality. If I’m in a new city, I’ll still check out Michelin for good restaurants, even though I do think it’s pretty flawed. I’ll also check out the local blogging scene, as this is fast becoming the best means for impartial judgement. I will not check out the Cullybackey Chronicle’s Almanac of Best Carvery Winners, as sponsored by Seamy’s Spuds.In short, awards are fine for those deeply insecure restaurant owners/managers who are desperately looking for some kind of validation. But this sense of reflected glory (hole) simply doesn’t translate across to punter perception. If I see a place that has a Fate Award/Pamela Ballentine-endorsed glitzy star, you can be damn sure I’ll be avoiding it like crotch-rot.

  4. One thing which has really helped me is staying away from things which bring nothing but negativity into your life such as the news and other people. Staying out in nature is also one of the most powerful methods for staying positive and balanced.

  5. Hmm… I get overwhelmed. I’d like to say that I’m all detached and balanced — I try — but I’m not — It’s hard to work online or live in a large city and not be bombarded all the freaking time. If all you so see when you walk out your front door is nature, that must be awesome… But Philadelphia is rough – there aren’t blinders big enough to block that out.

    I dream of moving to a more rural setting but that will have to wait.

    Interesting article on city living and mental illness:

  6. Staying positive is something I focus on quite a bit, as it tends to come more naturally to me to ruminate and conjure up the worst-case scenario. Things that have helped me maintain a positive outlook are: prayer, exercise, emotionally investing in reciprocal relationships and staying present. The last one is the toughest for me yet the one that produces the most immediate feeling of balance and positivity.

    Thought-provoking discussion topic!

  7. Hey everyone,
    Thanks so much for these thoughtful comments. There are some great ideas here — I particularly like Justin’s comment about crazy actions being a reflection of people’s sates of being. And Paul’s point about differentiating between being sad and being negative is a good one too.

    Leigh, I hope you find your spot in the country before too long 🙂 Thanks again!

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