EDITORIAL: Embrace positivity
IN recent times, “Positivity” has become a trending topic where one embraces the good in their life and looks for the silver lining in bad situations. Embracing a life of positivity is a personal effort to combat the negative effects of stress on the human body and mind. However, it is often not as simple as it sounds, as it requires conscious effort to maintain a positive attitude when external forces threaten to make life seem extremely difficult.
In Barbados, the rise in fatal crime and violence has led persons to feel less safe in their own homes and neighbourhoods. This, coupled with the island’s continuing economic troubles, will cause negative emotions to multiply. Further, there is a lack of job security, which promotes feelings of uncertainty and instability. Even more stress is added during the hurricane season where there is a serious risk of adverse weather. Last year, Barbados was named the fifth most unhealthy country in the world, with high levels of depression, obesity, inactivity and binge drinking.
One must start at the beginning of each day with expressions of gratitude for an opportunity to experience the new day. This makes it easier to hold onto a positive attitude throughout the day and to share it with others to spark some happiness in them as well.
During the day, there may be a temptation to withdraw from others and complete tasks in a robotic way without fully engaging with the things and people present. Embracing positivity requires living in each moment and being mentally present at all times; this is referred to as practising mindfulness. This can be very difficult when actions are rushed and mistakes are made, which leads to further negativity.
Focus on the enjoyable aspects of the job and try to place the most emphasis on those things. This focus can aid in balancing any negative feelings surrounding other aspects of the job. Workplace stress is gradually being addressed in Barbados by legislative intervention for sexual harassment, health and safety, and employment rights. These pieces of legislation give staff rights to protect themselves from workplace injustice.
Persons should also be careful with their use of social media. Social media encourages negative emotions by causing persons to compare themselves with others. This is a very dangerous practice as persons only tend to post the most noteworthy parts of their lives on social media; it is often described as a highlight reel for life. Therefore, comparing everyday life to someone else’s best moments is a recipe for discontent and disaster. Although these issues are more common with the youth, they also occur with adults and in the workplace setting among co-workers breeding jealousy and social competition.
A useful idea is to enjoy uplifting music to combat stress and negativity; this can bring some level of relief to overwhelming thoughts. Exercise can also be useful as it produces endorphins in the brain, which cause positive feelings. This, along with adequate sunlight for vitamin D and the mood-boosting hormone called serotonin, can be the extra habit that helps persons to maintain a positive outlook on life.
Living on a tropical island like Barbados should be the ultimate motivation for a positive lifestyle, with the beautiful blue skies and bright sunshine as the backdrop for relaxing activities. However, as the pressures of life take hold, it seems that there is little difference in our lifestyles to those persons living in big bustling cities. Choosing a positive lifestyle is the best personal decision to make in order to prevent stress-related illnesses and to live an overall healthy and enjoyable life, making the most of each day.