Tips on how to stay positive right now

Posted at 2:02 PM, Sep 28, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-30 17:32:50-04

Emotions remain high right now for many people as we continue on in a "new normal" that's far from normal.

While research has found the majority of people are experiencing negative emotions, like anger or sadness because of the pandemic, it hasn't all been bad.

The Highs and Lows of Parenting in a Pandemic is new research out of UW-Madison identifying the emotions parents have been feeling since earlier this year. Dr. Margaret Kerr, assistant professor of human development and family studies, said gratitude and feeling closer to your children were both positive emotions to come from this.

"When you are feeling positive emotions that can kind of help you recover from that negative emotions," she said.

Her advice to parents, or anyone who needs a little reminder of how to stay positive right now, is to think about a time where you had a good or positive experience. Kerr said this is called relational savoring.

"It involves thinking about a moment of positive connection with your child or with another loved one, then kind of trying to relive that experience. Think about all the sensory aspects that came along with it, and then all the emotions that came along with it," Kerr said. "It can allow you to relive those experiences. So just sitting down at the end of the day and think about what good thing that happened or one positive interaction that we had today, and then sitting with that for a few minutes."

Kerr adds gratitude journals have also proven to be helpful. You can try writing a three things you're grateful for down at the end of the day, even if it's just that you have your health, she said.

A follow-up study on how parents are feeling now that we're over six months into the pandemic is something Kerr said they hope to do soon.