The chilly and dark half of the year is getting closer and closer, so we all need a bit of extra warmth and light in our lives. Fortunately, human beings have the ability to do amazing things that lift up our spirits and make us warm and fuzzy inside. So to get you feeling like the world is a magical place full of wonder, Bored Panda has collected some of the most wholesome stories from around the globe.
Remember to upvote your fave ones, dear Pandas. Also, we know that 2020 has been a tough year so far, but we’d love it if you could let us know what positive things have happened to you in the comments. When you’re done with this awesome list, check out our latest uplifting posts here, here, and here.
Staying optimistic helps us deal with whatever storms might come our way and reduces the negative effects of stress. The New York Times puts it best when it says that optimism isn’t about ignoring negative feelings, but it’s all about being hopeful for what the future might bring. So you don’t have to smile if you don’t feel like it—all it takes is some hope. However, hope and optimism aren't the same thing, as psychologist, priest, and published author Dr. Fraser Watts told Bored Panda. Scroll down for our interview with him.
According to Dr. Watts, optimism and hope aren't the same thing. "First, I need to make a distinction between hope and optimism, as Terry Eagleton does in his 2015 book called 'Hope without Optimism.' Optimism is more a matter of prediction. Hope is more a matter of attitude," Dr. Watts explained the difference between the two.
"In the present situation, I don't think there are any good grounds for optimism, and to be optimistic would be a retreat into a fantasy world," he pointed out. "However, even in present circumstances, it is possible and really helpful to maintain a positive, hopeful attitude."
Unfortunately, there's is no single surefire way of keeping that hope alive when things are tough. "Practice helps. It depends on a long process of cultivating a positive mindset. It is useful to be clear that hope does not depend on believing that everything is going to be fine. It is more an act of will."
Even though most people don't distinguish between hope on the one hand and optimism on the other, the internet is full of advice on how to keep your spirits up even if things seem incredibly challenging. One of the ways to stay optimistic even when times are incredibly tough is sitting down and thinking about all the things that you’re grateful for having. Gratitude journals can help out with this, even though they might sound cheesy.
There are other ways to maintain your optimism, too. For example, Select Health stresses that taking care of yourself is vital when things are hard. That means exercising, getting plenty of rest, setting time aside for your hobbies.
And, yes, that even means treating yourself from time to time: whether it’s sinking into a hot bath after a long week at work or sneaking in an hour of video gaming in between doing homework (we won’t tell if you won’t). When you do what you love without guilt or shame, suddenly the world feels brighter, doesn’t it? As long as you don't overindulge, of course.
Things are always easier to bear when you’re surrounded by loved ones, Forbes points out. So even if you’re feeling down in the dumps or as blue as a Smurf, take some time to connect. Give your siblings a call or arrange to meet with a pal you haven’t seen in some time.
This whole end-of-the-world business doesn’t seem as scary when you’re laughing and having fun with awesome peeps. Meanwhile, we hope that these wholesome stories will be enough for now.