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6 stories to boost your optimism

It turns out good news can soften the blow of all the negative narratives you’re reading
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Like it or not, we humans are wired to anticipate threats, which may explain why many of us actively seek out bad news and have made ‘doomscrolling’ our go-to. In fact, so many are on board with the whole ‘if it bleeds, it leads’ style of reporting, that when a Russian newspaper once published only good news for a day, it lost two-thirds of its readers.

It’s understandable that people want to keep their finger on the pulse, particularly when we’re living through a pandemic, but the trade-off is that we’re putting ourselves at risk of heightened stress, anxiety and depression. However, researchers believe we can strengthen the bad news filter in our brain by boosting our optimism, which helps us cope better with negative headlines.

With that in mind, we’ve put together a list of six positive stories, which will hopefully give you a healthy dose of optimism and prepare you for whatever negative news comes your way today. Enjoy!

  1. Giving us yet another reason to love all creatures great and small, a recent study has found that 65 different animal species have their own form of laughter. That’s right, researchers have identified ‘vocal play behaviour’ in a number of animals, including primates, domestic cows and dogs, foxes, seals and mongooses, as well as three bird species, including parakeets and magpies. Like humans, animals use these vocal cues to show their friends that they’re having fun.
  2. Rewilding is a big deal in the UK right now, with a number of projects working to restore land and sea spaces to their natural state. And now, thanks to recent policy changes, farmers will be paid for the environmental improvements they make to their land, with funds going to those who turn land over to wildlife restoration, carbon sequestration or flood prevention projects.
  3. In another positive move for the environment, 10 Western Indian Ocean nations are working together to create a network of marine conservation areas, which will stretch all the way from France, down along the eastern coast of Africa to South Africa, and out to islands including Madagascar and Mauritius. The first stage of the project, which is known as the ‘Great Blue Wall’, will focus on restoring coral reefs, mangroves and seagrass meadows off the coast of Tanzania.
  4. If you’re a bit squeamish, you might want to look away now. In Kenya, a start-up company is turning dirty nappies into an affordable (and clean) fuel gel. Before you scrunch up your nose, consider this: every minute, more than 300,000 disposable nappies around the world either end up in the ocean, are incinerated or become landfill, where they take hundreds of years to break down. All three options are major contributors to pollution, so maybe a bit of recycled nappy is a really (really) good thing.
  5. It may still be the second most common cause of death in the US, but cancer mortality rates among Americans have dropped by a third since the 1990s. A huge part of this decline can be attributed to a reduction in lung cancer deaths, thanks to advancements in screening programs and treatment options.
  6. Despite their reputation for sometimes being ‘tight’ with their money, a group of high-net-worth people are volunteering to pay higher taxes. Off the back of a recent report by Oxfam – which revealed that the 10 richest men in the world doubled their wealth during the pandemic, while most other peoples’ incomes suffered – 102 millionaires (and billionaires!) signed an open letter calling to be taxed more than their less financially blessed peers. Here’s hoping someone takes them up on their offer.

That’s it for now. Hopefully you’re feeling more optimistic and ready to take on the world.

– The Coach Place Global

Image by @Peter Lloyd

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