Make the shift away from Pandemic Pessimism


Photo courtesy of Madeline Field

Sophomore Madeline Field relieves stress by sewing as she is seen here creating a new pair of pants.

In the new year, it seems that a lot of people have become pessimistic about the future. With the attack on the Capitol, it’s no wonder why some people are already thinking that 2021 will be another bad year. Yet, pessimism should not be the answer people resort to.

According to Psychology Today, pessimism is an attitude or view that always expects the worst in a situation. It can be harmful to not only the person, but the people around them as those thoughts can spread. The attitude can be damaging to mental health as well. 

“There’s a difference between realistic and pessimistic,” English teacher Rachel Moyer said. “ Any sort of mixed mindset is dangerous because we can’t imagine better for ourselves.”

According to Moyer, now more than ever people are talking about managing stress and about mental health. When she was in school, there was no talk about stress management. She wishes she had learned about this as a student.

Nowadays, there are many ways to combat negative thoughts and overall pessimism, whether that be a discussion in school or through therapy. 

“Staying positive is important, because it helps a positive mindset take place,” sophomore Madeline Field said. “Positive mindsets are important because they help us be motivated, get things done, and work hard to achieve goals.” 

Yet, sometimes when people struggle, it can be difficult to think positively. Especially with people who suffer from depression. People should also be allowed to feel emotions and then process, rather than dwelling. 

People are allowed to feel badly, and I think there is too much pressure on being happy and perfect all the time,” senior Iliyana Sedyankova said. 

The internet can also persuade people into thinking one way or another, especially when  people share their opinions online on a general topic such as the stress of a new year. It can be dangerous to be influenced by these types of thoughts. 

“I think the internet really affects our positivity/pessimistic ness, and I’m not saying we should try to stay off the internet because that’s entirely unrealistic,” Field said. “I try to stay mindful of what I view on the internet and unfollow people and accounts that make me feel negative.”

Already, there are people comparing 2020 and 2021. This is especially evident on social media platforms like Twitter. 

I think that the memes comparing the two years are mostly done as a coping mechanism due to how weird both of the years have been so far,”  Sedyankova said. It’s also how many people consume new things.”

There are many different ways for people to stay positive. One way is for people to do activities that they enjoy. It can help to destress and distract from pessimistic thoughts. For example, Field likes to sew and found it to be a relaxing hobby.

  According to Moyer, because she is a mom, she wants to set a good example for her kids and her having a pessimist mindset is not helpful. She wants to demonstrate to her kids positive attitudes and thinking. 

“I think that something I learned is finding ways to express gratitude,” Moyer said. “We can be more positive with what we don’t have. People need to practice good self-care, and that looks a whole lot of ways.”