There’s no dancing around the fact that 2020 has been a wild ride so far. From the Australian bushfires to COVID-19, to a near-miss with North Korea, and now protests calling for racial justice, the world can seem like a pretty dismal place. Humans have struggled since the beginning of their existence. War, famine, disease, and more have beaten at the walls of humanity and threatened our existence more times than we can possibly count.
With so much adversity, struggle, and seemingly hopeless situations, what’s one thing that rings true? Mankind bounces back. We move forward. We keep taking steps toward the future. Progress is slow, people are slow to change, but there’s always a dawn ahead of us.
All philosophy aside, let’s look at how you can avoid an existential crisis in the coming months, even with the state of the world. Existential dread doesn’t have to rule your life.
The World Isn’t The Terrible Place It’s Made Out To Be
A bold statement, don’t you think? All of the news we see portrays the world as a nasty, unforgiving place where people don’t help each other, don’t care for others’ suffering, and turn a blind eye to injustice. If there’s anything we should learn from this past month’s protests, it’s that people do care. They’ve come out in the thousands to demand justice.
Look at the world’s response to COVID-19. Millions of dollars have been donated to people all over the world. Volunteers have given their time and resources to help when our governments scramble to come to grips with the reality of the situation. Our frontline workers are putting their lives on the line to make sure we get the care we need.
And what about those Australian bushfires? By mid-January, nearly $500 dollars had already been donated to helping stem the tide of the violent flames, aid animal and human rescues, and keep the country intact.
The point here is that no matter what the media, the internet, or even the people around you would have you believe, the world is actually a much better place than it’s made out to be. People do care about each other. People do come together in times of crisis. And people do want to see a positive change in the world.
Focus On How You Can Help
Did you know that science supports the claim that helping others can actually make you happier? Endorphins are released in the brain when you exercise and engage in stimulating activities; and guess what? They’re released when you help others, too. Endorphins are a sort of “feel good” chemical that can provide a feeling of happiness and fulfillment. Helping others also gives you a sense of purpose, making you feel like you belong to a community and that you’re an essential part of it.
Helping others during these difficult times is easy. Maybe you have a neighbor who’s struggling financially during COVID-19. Maybe you know someone who is affected on a deeper level by the protests and injustice. Or, maybe you know someone who’s taking all of these events rather poorly.
Helping out can be as simple as lending a hand with chores or yardwork or as serious as lending money. Whatever you do to help, know that lending your resources to improve someone else’s life is one of the most amazing things you can do for your community and can help you avoid those feelings of existential dread.
Do Things You Enjoy
You’ve probably got more than a bit of free time now that COVID-19 has confined us all to our homes. Whether you’re working from home, still on the frontlines, or not working at all, it’s important to remember that you can’t forget about yourself. Self-care is crucial in times of crisis.
Think of things you enjoy doing. Sure, you can’t exactly go out with your friends for a night on the town or attend a baseball game, but maybe you’ve got some favorite activities you can take part in from the comfort of your home or yard. Don’t neglect your own mental health or feel guilty about spending some time doing what you like.
If you’ve got a lot of free time, it could be the perfect opportunity to pick up that hobby you’ve been thinking about or even plant the business you’ve wanted to start since you were a teenager. Don’t let this opportunity pass you by. With free time comes ideas, and from ideas come change.
We’ll Get Through This
Mankind has bounced back from much worse than bushfires, COVID-19, and even racial injustice. The world does correct itself when people work together and care for each other. COVID-19 vaccines are already in clinical trials, the bushfires are out, and the protests have achieved several goals already.
While we can’t change the state of politics or the way things are run right now, we can work together, support each other, and lend a hand. We’re a global community; let’s act like it.