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Thriving during Coronavirus: Reading the News

March 25, 2020

Finding Balance

If you’ve been keeping up to the hour with the news, the world might seem pretty dark and hopeless right now.    What I’ve been reading lately has mostly inspired impatience, anger, fear, and a peculiar quality of dispiritedness.  Mostly, it hasn’t been fun or elevating. 

Reading good news has helped.   I found that I needed to search for it though – it wasn’t grabbing the headlines of the NY Times.  But it’s out there and no surprise – good stuff is going on all around us.  Of course it is, and reading about it creates a realistic balance for the troubling news, which I’ll keep reading because I value being informed.  I’ll share a few news stories here that you might find elevating or make you laugh. Restore the balance.

Acts of generosity?   A plane carrying 31 tons of medical equipment and supplies arrived in Rome on March 12 to help Italy out.   A team of 9 medical experts arrived with the shipment to lend a hand.  Italy had asked its neighbors in the EU to help out with equipment and supplies during the crisis, but other EU countries were also feeling the pinch of scarcity (can you blame them?) and declined to help out.   China stepped in – https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-italy-respirators/china-sends-medical-supplies-experts-to-help-italy-battle-coronavirus-idUSKBN2101IM

What is it about Penguins?   Why do we enjoy watching them waddle along?   Some aquariums have released their penguins to roam the spaces that humans have vacated and lucky for us they also released the videos –

It’s clear that we’ve needed Mr. Rogers lately – Hollywood has brought him back to us in a documentary and a couple of movies, and people have flocked to see them. A quote attributed to Fred Rogers goes like this: “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, look for the helpers, you will always find people who are helping.”   Here’s an NPR story about helping – https://www.kuow.org/stories/finding-support-and-kindness-in-the-coronavirus-neighborhood

A law student in S. California created a volunteer organization to provide groceries and supplies to the elderly, immunocompromised and others in need – https://www.ocregister.com/2020/03/20/kindness-during-coronavirus-yes-and-its-contagious/ 

Acts of kindness in London.   A distillery switches to making hand sanitizer;  Musicians stream performances;  Food delivered to the homeless – https://lfpress.com/news/local-news/coronavirus-london-acts-of-kindness-in-a-public-health-emergency

Articles about neighbors volunteering to help neighbors abound – https://www.wfaa.com/article/news/health/coronavirus/random-acts-of-kindness-going-viral-too/287-1db051a3-6e1f-47a5-982a-b84f386ae0ac  

I’ve no doubt that similar acts of kindness are underway in all of our communities.   A search for “acts of kindness during coronavirus” will return page after page of results.  If you have some unexpected free time on your hands and feel inspired to help out, there’s lots of science based evidence (and longstanding folk wisdom evidence, too) indicating that you’ll benefit along with the recipients – perhaps even more so.   Here’s a behavioral science article about that – “Can Random Acts of Kindness Increase Well-Being?” https://positivepsychology.com/random-acts-kindness/.   It includes some inspiring ideas.

And finally, I re-learned a lesson last night: I shouldn’t read the news as the last thing I do before I go to sleep.  Last night it was just too dispiriting.  Instead I’ll focus on Three Good Things, gratitude, and the funny way that penguins walk.   Much better. 

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