Internal Positivity

By Doug Mayberry

March 30, 2020 4 min read

Q: I've always been very influenced by other people. Even though I find it easy to be happy and upbeat when things are good, I find my mood plunging whenever things start to go wrong.

How can I keep my mood up when things go wrong?

A: Get to know yourself a little better. People with a strong sense of self are less affected by outside influences.

Empathizing strongly with others is a great trait, but anything can be harmful in excess. For your own happiness, work on moderating your responsiveness to others.

Accept that you can't control everything. It's a frustrating fact of life that many things are out of our control. Whenever I've thought that I've mastered my life and relationships, something challenges me.

The trick is to find ways to roll with the punches. Your power to affect the outcome lies in your ability to control yourself. You don't have to accept that you're subject to the power of outside influences. What can you do to maintain your own equilibrium? How are you reacting to others, and why?

Learn from negative situations. What can you do to affect the outcome? What coping techniques have you been using? Have they had the intended effect?

If someone or something consistently gets you down, limit your exposure. It's easier to deal with negativity when we're not inundated by it.

Admit your mistakes, and work on them. Ask yourself whether you are originating any negativity of your own. Just as you're affected by others, you affect them, too.

Remind yourself that you are in control of your life and your mood. — Emma, Doug's granddaughter


Q: I'm sick to death of being stuck at home. My family is scared about my health.

We all love one another very much, and I'm lucky enough to live close to my children. I used to see them at least once or twice a week. Now they're showing their love by staying away. They don't want to infect me with the novel coronavirus. My son was nice enough to drop off some groceries earlier, but he wouldn't come inside to chat.

All my neighbors are staying indoors like me, and I'm all alone at home.

What can I do to keep myself from dying of boredom?

A: Consider your daily routine, and add some more tasks to fill the void.

Start a new hobby, or learn a new skill.

Think back to your New Year's goals. What did you want to work on this year? If you never made a list, you now have all the time in the world to devise one.

While you're at home, keep moving. Exercise will keep you healthy and fill the days.

Seniors have a hard time maintaining their muscles, so it's essential to have a little physical activity. Consider using a set of light hand weights, stretching or warming up with household chores and gardening.

It should also still be safe to walk around the neighborhood. Just keep a safe distance from other people!

Now is also a great time to maintain your close relationships. Many people are finding themselves with excess time on their hands. Call your family to check in, or use videoconferencing software like FaceTime or Skype. Pick up the phone, and check on old friends.

Instead of lamenting this very odd moment in history, reframe it as an opportunity. — Doug

Doug Mayberry makes the most of life in a Southern California retirement community. Contact him at [email protected] Emma, Doug's granddaughter, helps write this column. To find out more about Doug Mayberry and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists visit the Creators Syndicate website at

Photo credit: sweetlouise at Pixabay

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