Professor Alex Christou, Thrive Global Asia Pacific’s Managing Director, on switching gears when you’re stuck in a negative place.

The past year has been full of bad news and negativity. I’ve been in a negative headspace for so long that I have a hard time feeling optimistic, even when there’s brighter news on the horizon, like restrictions easing. Do you have advice on how to feel positive right now?

It’s only natural to feel disheartened given the constant disruption and uncertainty of the past year. With the cancellation – and re-cancellation – of long-awaited plans, the need for lengthy lockdowns and physical distancing from friends and family, all of us have had our personal resilience put to the test.

When it comes to feeling more positive on a day-to-day level, some simple, easy-to-action strategies can help – microsteps that are ‘too small to fail’.

Cap your consumption of negative news

Are you constantly checking your phone for pandemic updates or watching rolling news coverage each day? Immersing yourself in negative news is a guaranteed way to dampen your mood and motivation. Sure, there’s some news you ‘need to know’, but if you’re struggling with heightened feelings of negativity, a quick check of the headlines will suffice. Set a limit for your media consumption and stick to it. Another tip? Don’t take your phone to bed. Ditch the pre-sleep ‘doom-scrolling’ and allow your brain – and body – to properly rest.

Focus on the good things, however simple

Even in troubled times like these, creating small moments of brightness can make a big difference to your day. Claim and commit to a period of time daily – even just 15 minutes – to do something you really enjoy. Watch a YouTube clip of your favourite comedian; sit barefoot in the sun; listen to your favourite album; sprint around the block; phone your best friend – you decide how to spend your time.

Connect with others

We might be physically distancing but finding safe ways to connect with others is more important than ever as we seek to combat isolation. Communicating regularly with loved ones allows you to share your feelings, and seek and provide comfort and advice. But choose wisely – speak with someone who will help support a more positive headspace, not drag your mood down further. Be creative with technology and make plans with friends that can’t be cancelled – an online trivia quiz, Friday night drinks and pizza shared over Zoom, an ‘only good news’ message group. Schedule these connective events and commit to them.

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Any personal information you provide via this website will be collected by Monash University and Thrive Global for the purposes of delivering the Thrive program to you and to send you marketing communications, if you choose to receive them.

To see how Monash handles your personal information please refer to our Data Protection and Privacy Procedure and Visitors and Enquirers Data Protection and Privacy Collection Statement or contact dataprotectionofficer@monash.edu
To see how Thrive Global handles your personal information please see thriveglobal.com/privacy/.