I don’t need to tell you that the world is struggling right now.
People are tired. People are scared. People are hostile. People are addicted. I won’t get into specifics. You already know.
Negativity is the rule and not the exception. I don’t have all the answers, but I do believe that we can find ways to thrive. There are real and practical ways of doing that. So let’s get started:
1. Make Art (Find Flow)
I’m not talking about going to paint nite. I’m talking about immersing yourself in a discipline (like music, drawing, or sports) and tracking your progress over time. You don’t even have to be an artist.
This is how you introduce flow into your life. Flow is a state of consciousness where you completely lose yourself in an activity and perform at your highest level. It’s being in the zone. It’s an electrifying, joyful state of being.
Flow is not a distraction from negativity. It is a transcendence of negativity. It’s what you would be doing even if things weren’t as chaotic. An abundance of flow makes for a happier life.
2. Get Primal With Your Body
This is how you get in touch with your primal roots, no matter your age. Move your body. Rip it to shreds in intense exercise. Fuel it with quality food. Sweat, pant, and suffer.
These things ground you. When you feel your blood pumping, whatever problem you’re having takes a backseat. Your sole focus becomes running that last mile or lifting that enormous weight off your chest. Physical activity reminds you you’re alive.
Fitness makes you feel robust and more capable of handling challenges. You can’t control what’s happening in the world, but you can control your health. There is peace in that.
3. Make Your Life Distinct
Your life is not the miserable news you consume or the politics you argue about. The big tech attention economy benefits from you constantly being plugged in. They lure you with algorithms and fear, get you addicted to tech, and suddenly your life doesn’t feel like yours anymore.
You need to make your life a sanctuary. You need to draw a hard line between the time you spend with yourself and loved ones, and the time you spend consuming media.
This means knowing when it’s time to disconnect. This means making rules around tech use. This means planning for and scheduling fun. Yes, fun should be something you plan for. That will make sure your time isn’t swept away by passive media consumption.
4. Give Back
If you’re upset about all the darkness, then why don’t you go add some light?
Volunteering, helping people, or making things that are useful to others are all avenues for seeing light in the world. Witnessing good reminds you that good still exists.
If you feel depressed, hopeless, and lost in negativity, try focusing on others for a while. Find a cause and contribute to it. Connect with people who wish to do the same.
Only posting your views on social media won’t cut it either. Try to make your contribution direct. Do something with your hands (that isn’t tweeting).
5. Get Closer to Others
It’s no surprise that our relationships enrich, and in many ways define, our lives. The connections we have with others are our lifeblood. If you feel lonely and misunderstood, then it might be time to go out and find the people who do understand you.
If your relationships feel superficial, then you need to start searching for the real thing. You do that by:
- Being more honest with people.
- Going to events that you are actually interested in.
- Being bolder in your willingness to socialize.
Any embarrassment you endure when trying to meet people won’t compare to a lifetime of feeling alone.
6. Do Maintenance on Your Life
Carl Jung believed that the health of a society begins with the health of the individual. An individual taking responsibility for and improving their life ripples out into the collective.
Start with the person you see in the mirror. Improve his or her life, and you could start seeing changes in the people around you.
You shouldn’t feel guilty about wanting to make positive changes. Your successes could uplift others. Maybe your self-work will inspire a friend to make the change they’ve been avoiding. Or maybe, if you really make it, your accomplishments will inspire more than just the people around you.
7. Consume Hopeful Media
Because insanity is the new normal, you have to try a little harder to find media that uplifts you rather than terrifies you.
For example, instead of consuming news about tragedies and politics, try these topics:
- Psychedelic drug research is showing that psilocybin and MDMA can be extremely effective in psychotherapy, even in treatment-resistant patients.
- Despite the violence that’s occurring, there is less global conflict now than at any time in history.
- Humanitarian success stories and medical breakthroughs
Or just watch stuff that makes you laugh.
This isn’t choosing blissful ignorance. It’s choosing a healthier information diet. People profit off of you being scared. So don’t be. On that note…
8. Choose Boldness Over Passivity
If fear is the problem, then maybe boldness is the solution. In whatever manner you can, start doing things you are afraid to do. I’m sure you’re dying to do something, so whatever it is, take the steps to go do it.
Is this how you want your life to go?: You go to work. You come home. You watch Netflix. You get fucked up over the weekend. You get upset over something you read online. You don’t sleep because you’re so anxious. And then you keep repeating that for weeks and months and years.
Take wild risks, make wild memories. Make your life as compelling a story as you can. These are the things you’re going to appreciate one day. Living like this is not easy, but it might be the most worthwhile thing anyone can do. It’s my goal, at least.
Thriving in Negativity
There are things going on in the world right now that most of us are powerless to fix. All we can control are the choices we make on a daily basis.
You need to recognize what you can do in your own life. You need to have the strength to divorce the things that matter to you from the negativity. Being constantly connected makes this difficult, but I believe that with some effort, we can find our freedom.
- Take up an art form or an activity that will put you into flow states on a regular basis.
- Push your body to the limit and feel the peace and aliveness it affords you.
- Actively design your life instead of letting it be dictated by technology and bad habits.
- Volunteer and see how good still exists in the world.
- Find higher-quality relationships, romantic or otherwise.
- Focus on fixing your own life.
- Seek inspiration. Avoid negativity in what you consume.
- Be as bold as you possibly can.