The outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) may be stressful for people. Fear and anxiety about a disease can be overwhelming and cause strong emotions in adults and children. Coping with stress will make you, the people you care about, and your community stronger.

With all the tragic things that are happening in the world as a result of the coronavirus, now might seem like an unusual time to talk about being positive. Yet staying positive is a core ingredient in the recipe of successful coping in a crisis.

Now, more than ever, is the time for us to be proactive about creating small moments of happiness in our days, given the findings in psychology research that positive emotions help us to undo the negative effects of stress.

There are a few really practical things you can do to foster positive emotions.

* Look for the good in others: these types of crises can bring out both the worst and the best in human nature. I like to think that the best in human nature is rising to the coronavirus challenge. Neighbourhoods are putting together care packages for people who are sleeping rough. People are posting positive messages on social media. Doctors and medical staff are working overtime to help sick patients.

* Strengthen your connections: for those of us in family lockdown, now is the opportunity to spend quality time with our loved ones. Take the time to hug your kids or partner, look them in the eyes, have long conversations with them.

* Savour the small moments: Even during lockdown you still have many small moments to savour. The smell of coffee, the feel of the warm shower on your back and so on. When you stop to take in these moments, rather then let them rush by on automatic pilot, you are giving your brain a chance to process the pleasure, which boosts your serotonin – the feel good neurotransmitter that helps elevate your mood and make you feel calm.

 * Watch funny videosThanks to the huge popularity of YouTube, there are thousands of videos that can help you take your mind off current events, if only for three minutes at a time. Start to bookmark the funniest among them so you can return for a repeat viewing whenever things feel gloomy.


* Practice random acts of kindness. 

  • Leave an envelope with a little gift for the Amazon fresh delivery person who drops of your supplies outside your door.
  • Have a coffee delivered to your doorman.
  • Write an unsolicited book review for a friend of yours who is an author.
  • Comment on a colleague’s LinkedIn post.
  • Send a snail-mail note of appreciation to a friend or colleague.
  • Thank the custodians in your building or workplace for their efforts to keep things safe.

Think of those who could benefit from your thoughtfulness and generosity. Then act.

In times of constant negative messaging, you need an antidote so that you can keep your positive attitude and march forward with determination and hope. Be deliberate in activities that are positive, heartwarming, stress reducing and laughter inducing! Together, we’ll get through this.