Staying Positive in a Post-Truth World

Ellie Redpath

I don’t know about anyone else, but nowadays the prospect of looking at the news utterly terrifies me. It feels like not a day goes by without some new threat of nuclear conflict, or terrorist attacks, or environmental collapse spelling doom for all humanity. Unfortunately, most of us own smartphones, and are hence constantly bombarded with articles on Facebook or Buzzfeed detailing everything wrong with the world we live in.

This also means that we often tend to enjoy ranting about the calamities ahead, relishing the cathartic release of those mid-week feelings of impending extinction. That could just be Wednesdays, though. Nonetheless, homework doesn’t do itself, and school doesn’t go away just because the government decides to self-destruct. (The day after the EU referendum was coincidentally the day of my year’s post-GCSEs trip to Brighton, and needless to say, the general mood was one of hysteria as we all tried to accept what seemed like an impending apocalypse). Whilst it’s obviously important to remain connected to current affairs, everyone deserves to switch off, especially when facing exam stress and the little (and not-so-little) anxieties of friendships, family, and generally just being a teenager. So, for the next time Donald Trump vomits up an ego trip all over twitter, or another species of rhino dies out, here are some tips I find useful to stay relatively positive and relaxed:

  1. Read about good things that are happening too; they’re out there, but don’t get the same amount of coverage that disasters do. Did you know that in 2016, a patient was completely cured of HIV for the first time in history? Or that giant pandas are no longer endangered? Probably not, because negative stories tend to get more views, so they’re what the media tends to focus on. Pages dedicated to uplifting our spirits include www.positive.news and the Huffington Post’s Good News section.
  2. Take a bath. Admittedly, this seems to be my solution for basically anything, and I always end up spending about an hour over it to put off writing an essay that’s due for the next day, but fun fact: taking a bath before going to bed is scientifically proven to improve quality of sleep, and hot water can help relieve muscle tension.
  3. Make a playlist. It’s a great way to feel productive while doing absolutely nothing at all. Feel the stress seep out of your body as Ed Sheeran’s catchy melodies drown out your quarter-life crisis.
  4. Focus on the future. It’s easy to forget that in only a few decades, our generation will be the ones in charge, and that in Britain, 18-24 year olds are the most accepting of multiculturalism. Whilst some things, such as parting ways with the European Union, may now be inevitable, global decisions will soon be made according to the values of tolerance and diplomacy which so many of us hold.
  5. Concentrate on the people closest to you. Yes, it’s important that we remember the ice caps are melting, but it’s also important to remember to spend time with your family, and to celebrate any successes that your friends achieve. Whilst this is a rather turbulent period in politics, our school years are a very exciting period in our lives, so we definitely have the right to enjoy them.