Absorbing negative news can have a damaging impact on our mental health- especially if we are choosing to rely on non-trustworthy sources. Reports of an increase in feelings of stress and anxiety since the beginning of the Coronavirus are rife, with Graham Davey, Professor of Psychology at the University of Sussex suggesting that when negative events such as a pandemic are presented visually and emotively they can ‘trigger acute stress reactions and even post-traumatic stress symptoms in vulnerable news consumers.’[1]

With this in mind, it is a good idea to not only limit our consumption of negative news but also shift our focus to the more positive developments taking place across the globe right now.

Here are some news stories you may have missed during the Coronavirus. We hope they bring some joy to your day:

1) Medical staff spreading smiles
Whilst it has become paramount that medical staff across the world wear personal protective equipment including masks and overalls to keep safe when treating patients with COVID-19, many are attaching photos of themselves smiling whilst covered up to help put worried patients at ease. This not only develops a human connection at times when physical distancing is enforced, but also serves as a reminder of the power of a reassuring and comforting smile.

2) Rainbow drawings & teddy bears

Children are just as affected by COVID-19 as adults and have been using lockdown as a chance to get creative and spread joy. In the UK, rainbows have been placed in the windows of people’s homes, whilst in New Zealand, it is teddy bears with messages of hope. Reports have emerged of children sending drawings to decorate bare makeshift hospital walls and social media is awash with examples of children’s sidewalk chalk drawings spreading hope.

3) Landmarks light up against Coronavirus

From the iconic Christ The Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro being illuminated with flags of countries gripped by the Coronavirus pandemic, to landmarks across the UK such as the London Eye and Royal Albert Hall turning blue to show public support for the NHS staff treating coronavirus patients, cities are uniting against Coronavirus as a reminder we are all in this together. The Archbishop of Brazil and the Pope in Rome have also delivered a dedicated mass in honour of the COVID-19 victims from around the world.

4) Balcony workouts, singsongs and dances

In some of the worst affected countries such as Italy, citizens have been on a complete lockdown meaning even time outside is prohibited. Citizens have kept spirits alive every evening through various impromptu singing, dancing and exercise sessions together via their balconies. Proving that even whilst apart we can still socialize and remain present.

5) China is slowly reopening 

The Chinese city of Wuhan- where the COVID-19 virus began, is slowly returning to normality after 76 days in lockdown. The train station has reopened and people are now allowed to leave their homes and the city to travel to other parts of China. The city celebrated with a light show on the Yangtze river with skyscrapers and bridges radiating images of health workers healing patients. A reminder that if we continue to follow the rules and stay at home we have a fighting chance of flattening the curve and beating the pandemic.

Do you need some support or somebody to talk to during this difficult time? Dr Jeremy Alford who runs Choices Retreats Clinical Program can help, with online sessions offered from the comfort of your own home. Find out more here: https://www.choicesretreats.com


[1] https://books.telegraph.co.uk/Product/Graham-Davey/The-Anxiety-Epidemic–The-Causes-of-our-Modern-Day-Anxieties/22435763


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