by Liam Read
This decade has no doubt started off on the wrong foot. 2020’s been a mess and 2021 hasn’t gotten much better. We’ve struggled through a worldwide pandemic, rising political tensions, and battled against the broken sociopolitical systems that unjustly threaten minority communities. While we’re grateful to be finally transitioning out of this lockdown, peace is far from sight. With accelerating wealth disparity, climate change, and the most recent Israel-Palestine conflict, it’s growing harder and harder to maintain a positive outlook.
But we need to. We as individuals must stay afloat above a rising sea of anxiety, hopelessness, and despair. That’s not say our feelings are invalid or global issues should be ignored, but working to maintain positivity in our lives has benefits to our health, relationships, and productivity. Positivity can encourage us to achieve our goals, some of which may one day be the very solutions to these problems.
Whereas a person suffering from paranoia feels the world is fighting against them, a person experiencing pronoia feels the world around them is lifting them up and allowing them to succeed. Like a tailwind at your back, pronoia is a gentle breeze guiding you towards your destination.
Here are four ways you can manifest pronoia in this post-pandemic era:
1. Think positively and exercise gratitude
Pronoia is closely tied to having a positive mindset. It’s impossible for people to live perfect lives. Shitty things happen to everyone. Really shitty things happen to others. And while we don’t want to encourage toxic positivity, it’s important to acknowledge the good in this world and in your life.
If you’re having difficulties, start small. It can be as simple as the sweet taste of an apple in season or a gentle breeze on a hot day.
2. Surround yourself with passionate and motivated individuals
Many argue that the main purpose of college is to teach you things and help you find a job. And undoubtedly that’s true. Over the last decade, that extremely expensive and time-consuming piece of paper has become a necessity for most positions.
Arguably more important, however, are the connections formed over those four plus years. Before most people you know get a 9 to 5, before your friends start settling down, and before the total minutes in each day seemingly vanish year by year, it’s these four plus years that stand guard. There’s a reason they say the best experiences in life are shared with others. They also say your twenties are the best years of your life. It’s these connections as dormmates, classmates, clubmates, and teammates that will live on for decades to come.
By surrounding yourself with passionate, motivated individuals, you will grow faster and further than if you were on your own. Whether you’re studying, developing a side project, or starting a band, you’re more likely to reach your potential with the right people around you.
3. Embrace diversity
While building connections with like-minded peers is great, experiencing a wide variety of activities, especially new ones, will lead you down some wonderful paths that you might not have ever imagined. Join a club or attend an event you’ve never heard of. Don’t shy away from spontaneity and keep an open mind.
New experiences will guide you to new people. A diverse friend group from multiple faculties, clubs, and backgrounds can be incredibly supportive and insightful.
4. Develop a routine
Developing a daily routine can have numerous benefits. Each day is bookended by when you wake up and go to bed so let’s start there. Following a consistent sleep schedule has been proven to enhance your body’s immunity to diseases, your brain’s alertness, and even your social life. (If you’re having trouble sleeping, check out our blog on how music and aromatherapy can enhance one’s quality of sleep).
Aside from maintaining a consistent sleep schedule, things like eating a healthy breakfast, meditation, and staying hydrated all have benefits for the body and mind.
And when it comes to learning, too, routine engagement will go a lot further than sporadic moments dependent on bursts of inspiration. Whether that’s studying, developing skills, or even exercising gratitude, your mind works best when you make a habit of things. Start small and set aside spare moments in your calendar. Dedicating just half an hour each day to something like practicing piano will go a long way. Start today and see how far you’ll fly.
The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second-best time is now.