Watching the nightly news can be depressing. It can leave you thinking the world’s a sad and sorry place. Even amongst acquaintances, bad news from someone may drag your spirits down. It can be tough to remain emotionally on an even keel and stay positive.
No one enjoys the “sinking feeling” that often accompanies upsetting news. Some people can deal with it as if it’s nothing more than a blip on their emotional radar. For others, feeling down can seem like a way of life. While not acting indifferent to suffering, most of us want to resist the creeping tide of fear or despair, and to respond to life’s difficulties with strength and composure.
This is where buoyancy can help keep our head and heart above the water line. Described as a state of mind, buoyancy is an inner capacity that carries you back to the surface when bad news threatens to pull you under.
Coupled with resilience of spirit, it helps you recover your equilibrium, and prevents a downward spiral into depression. Buoyancy is a powerful, uplifting mind-quality. It resides in a person’s thinking. It’s a mental mechanism that lifts one’s mood and allows a person to resurface from the depths of unhappiness. Cultivating this mind-tool, can increase your ability to stay on top when things get you down.
Here’s some ideas for doing this.
1. Visualise being buoyant
Newspaper editor, Arthur Brisbane, once famously said, “Use a picture. It’s worth a thousand words”. So if you’re mentally dragged down by news of misfortune, the following thought-image may trigger your mental buoyancy and help you cope.
It’s Summer. The sand is warm between your toes. Out in the bay a lone yellow buoy floats resolutely on the surface. You watch as the turbulent incoming surf washes over the top of it. Momentarily the marker buoy disappears beneath the force of the incoming wave. As the breaker sweeps by continuing its journey onto the beach, the buoy suddenly bobs to the surface again and resumes floating. You notice in your mind’s eye that although the force of each incoming wave threatens to sink the marker by pulling it down under the water, the buoy floats up effortlessly. The air inside it has made it completely buoyant. It never sinks to the bottom.
2. Increase buoyancy levels
An unknown author once quipped, “Good news about someone never gets past the door, but bad news will travel a thousand leagues away.”
Evidence of this can be seen in everyday conversations, as well as in the media. Rather than drowning people in news of ill health, hopelessness and despair, why not look for, and pass on, good news that is encouraging, inspiring and thought-lifting.
Tip: Circulate good news more often. Think of it like putting on a mental “life-jacket”. Constructive, encouraging ideas about how to remain happy and healthy can free a person from the quicksand of depressing thoughts.
3. Activate hopefulness
To bounce back quickly from discouraging information, grab hold of your mental lifeline – hopefulness.
According to experts at The Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, “You can’t change what’s happened in the past, but you can always look toward the future. Accepting and even anticipating change makes it easier to adapt and view new challenges with less anxiety …. Don’t ignore your problems or try to wish them away. Instead, figure out what needs to be done, make a plan and take action .… know that your situation can improve if you actively work at it.”
The benefits of hopefulness are highlighted in the personal experience of an ancient writer. Downcast in his thinking, he started sinking into despair. He needed a mental “flotation device”. So, he activated hopefulness in what he called a life-saving, thought-sustaining, Life-force. This resulted in his thinking being lifted up. Like the unsinkable ocean buoy, he regained his natural composure and buoyancy of spirit.
Peace of mind doesn’t have to sink out of sight.
Drawing on resilient-type thinking, embracing the concept of buoyancy and being hopeful, can keep you afloat when bad news gets you down. It’s already helped individuals to remain emotionally on top and to maintain a healthy mental state.
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This blog first appeared on Spirituality and Health Connect.