So we've been talking in this little series of videos about pandemic pressure and what can you do to discover in the midst of this tough season the most unexpected thing: potential, possibility, stuff about yourself and how brilliant you are, and learning new ways to manage tough times, things that will lift your mood now but also in the future. And I wanna talk to you now about positive emotions and positivity.
Now, let's be dead clear from the beginning though, cause in these seasons of lockdown, there has been a lot of positivity around and some of it's been really good, some of it, I find makes me really quite crabby, because it's just really annoying, it's all these people who are saying to you like 'la la la, we must be positive don't say anything negative. Other people have it worse than you do'. And it feels like you're being told off, if you're actually finding life a bit rubbish right now.
And the thing is, being positive and ultimately emotional wellbeing, isn't about denying the existence of negative. It's not like you can only feel good and you have to pretend there's no bad anywhere and like, just get rid of them somehow, because if you try and do that, just like lose the negative stuff, cause there is some difficult stuff in this season, it's like tryna hold a beach ball under water, it's really hard work. And the more you try over time, especially as you get tired, the more the chance that flipping beach ball is going to pop up somewhere you least expect it. And negative emotions, if we don't give them head space, they bubble up in the background or come out when we're feeling vulnerable or they get directed at somebody really doesn't deserve it and we end up yelling at someone and being nasty when we didn't really want to be. And worse than that, if you're tryna to hold down that beach ball, it takes so much effort. You effectively switch off your whole emotional self, and then you can't feel the good stuff either and that really matters, because positive emotions matter, joy matters.
There's this old ancient bit of wisdom in the Old Testament. It's Nehemiah 8:10. And it says that, joy is your strength. And the ancient Hebrew there literally the word that's used means it's your fortress, it's your tower, it's your place of protection, it's where you retreat to in life's stormy times or life battle times, when things are difficult. And that's such good psychology, cause your ability to hold good stuff, to trigger lighter moments, to find things that make you smile or laugh, or feel something that little warm fuzzy feeling, just the good stuff of life.
Even in the middle of tough times and difficult things, that is one of the most important predictors of how well you will manage particularly in a longer term challenging season. Cause sometimes life's tough moments are just like a rubbish day, or a short-term crazy moment. But sometimes like in pandemic they can last longer, and you're gonna be pushing yourself harder, or focusing on something that's difficult, or dealing with unusual circumstances for longer. And your ability to build stuff into your life in those seasons that helps you to feel good, and laugh and smile and have good moments, like on a stormy day just when the sun comes out for a second: that stuff's gonna get you through.
So finding things that you enjoy, it's not some kind of just selfish, hedonistic indulgence. So what makes you feel good? What do you enjoy? Do you need to explore that a bit more? And in this season where a lot of what you might normally enjoy may just not be an option, a lot of things you just can't do, can you find some stuff that just is fun or does just make you feel good? A really good box set, baking something really nice, eating something really nice. Hanging out with a good mate, the perfect hot chocolate in the perfect mug. Whatever it is that just feels good, snuggling up in a warm space with a good book. I don't know, whatever works for you.
Pursue the positive stuff, hunt it down and value it. Don't feel guilty for it, cause it may just be the thing that gets you through.