CONTRIBUTED CONTENT — Until recently, the start of a new year typically was filled with anticipation for a fresh start and good things to come. In recent years, however, it has been accompanied by tragic events and bad news taking place in the world, causing us to feel powerless and downright negative. There seems little we can do in response, leading to a loss of optimism.

Family Healthcare’s new Riverside Drive clinic prepares to welcome patients, St. George, Utah, Aug. 16, 2022 | File photo by Chris Reed, St. George News

While the brain can filter bad news, it is also wired to monitor for danger. As a result, there’s a tendency to over-consume bad news stories presented in the media, triggering negative psychological effects. Following the news closely during a crisis may be necessary to stay informed, but the risk for some people is a negative spiral through increased feelings of hopelessness, anxiety and fear.

Research by numerous institutions shows that people who are inclined to optimism are better able to turn down the volume of the danger filter and cope with bad news. Optimists generally experience better health and resilience. They can receive and process bad news without overconsumption or unplugging entirely.

According to the National Institutes of Health, imagining positive outcomes can help to increase optimism. Here are some simple ways to remain optimistic when the news is bad and the world seems to be falling apart.  

Imagine a better future and how it might look. Then, think of one small step you can take to make that come true in your own life. 
Focus on what is going well.
Separate the things that you can and cannot control.  
Do one thing a day that makes you feel happy and optimistic. 
Turn your attention to ways you can be of help to others in your community. 
Write a letter of support about an issue you really care about. 
Get news from reliable sources and avoid negative conspiracy theories. 
Avoid disliking people who don’t share your opinions.
Make your home environment a place of peace and refuge.
Keep a journal in which you note the things you are grateful for. 
Be honest about your feelings and seek professional help if you feel overwhelmed.

Local clinics like Family Healthcare offer accessible behavioral health care services that are integrated with medical care. A brief visit with a behaviorist may be all the professional help you need to regain optimism and positive thoughts.

Written by LORI WRIGHT, CEO of Family Healthcare.

Family Healthcare is a registered nonprofit organization providing accessible, high-quality medical, behavioral, dental and vision care to the residents of southwest Utah since 2002. Call 435-986-2565 or visit for more information.

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Family Healthcare | Address: 25 N. 100 East #102, St. George | Telephone: 435-986-2565Website.

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