Changing our focus: how to think positively in an increasingly negative world
I’ve stopped listening to the news. Being bombarded from every side with murder, with war, with pollution and climate change, with racism and sexism and bigotry. Whilst some people are busy destroying the world, other people are busy destroying themselves and others.
I took the decision to trade off knowledge of current events for a happier, more individual existence for the time being, where I control what happens, take care of my little patch of our planet, socialise with positive, happy people, and look on the bright side whenever I can. I found that as much as I felt I should be informed and opinionated about current events, I needed a break, for my health and for my sanity. I still have strong opinions, on our environment, on the atrocity of war, on the sad rise of racism in the UK, fuelled by political parties pretending to be a new alternative. I care about this. It saddens me, it hurts me. I get irate, angry, I’m frustrated by my inability to make the world see that we should be looking after this tiny planet, not destroying ourselves and our home in the chase for more. And that’s why I’ve decided to take a step outside the daily news media.
I focus on reading articles, books that broaden my mind and inspire me to live in a more mindful way. I give my time and hope I can make a difference to others in a local, real time setting. I watch vloggers and online content that is beautiful and creative, people who are pushing the boundaries and living with passion and respect for the world and the people around them. I try and celebrate good news. I try.
I sometimes feel an impotence, listening to news, catching headlines, a corrupt news corporation printing about another corrupt news corporation. Homelessness, disease, poverty, segregation. I wonder where it’s all leading. Driven by greed and desire for more money, more materialism, more status. What can I do? What can any of us do?
It overwhelms me. So I refocused on what I can actually do to help. How I want to have an impact, how to make a difference to the things I really care about.
To think positively, we need to remove the negative. To give ourselves space to think and create possibility, we must give our minds a break from the 24/7 threats, fear and soul-sucking stories that pervade our lives. To make a difference we sometimes need to step back. In our own way, we can work out how we can do anything to leave a beneficial impact in our everyday lives.
I want to create positivity. I want people to realise the 9-5, this consumer dream, isn’t all there is to life. I want to look after our planet and support quality, not quantity. I want to remove the focus on ‘stuff’, the focus on ‘stress’, and hopefully inspire people to realise that we’ve all only got this one life. No regrets.
Filling my mind with pain and sadness stops me from being my best self. To change my corner of the world, I sometimes need to take a break from it. Being constantly inspired by minimalism, permaculture, simplicity and value gives me a drive and a focus. Hopefully I can direct some of this energy out into the world.
I may not be a crusader but I can make a difference. I may be introverted but I can shout loudly through the words I write. Silent actions can have a bigger effect than we imagine.
I realised that by removing the constant stream of negativity from the media, I can focus my energy into creating something productive, creating positivity, and influencing in my own way, no matter how tiny that may seem right now. Doing something is better than doing nothing.
I might have shut out the grey voices but in doing that, my world has become filled with colour.