It’s really hard to wake up with a smile at the moment, isn’t it?
If it’s not Brexit losing us our EU rights it’s President Trump apparently seeing the United States as his personal plaything, to be thrown out of the pram if and when things don’t go his way.
Things aren’t helped by the short, mid-winter days. We’re going through dark times – both literally and figuratively – and it can be all too easy to slide into a gloom.
But the world is still a brilliant place and it helps to remind ourselves of the positives – and also to remember that we’re all in this together.
There are good things out there – it’s just up to us to find them and make the most of the little chinks of light still peeking through the darkness.
However grim things seem, there are still people fighting for what’s right.
Some are achieving greatness, or making breakthroughs in science and technology.
Some people are just being nice to both themselves and others – which might actually be the most important thing of all.
And obviously there are always cute animals.
Here then, are some reasons to be cheerful – despite everything.
People are refusing to take the current situation lying down
The recent worldwide women’s marches proved beyond doubt that the world really does care and isn’t afraid of showing it. And it does it with passion and humour.
Ewan McGregor may have received criticism for his decision to cancel a television appearance, but it made a lot of people just love him all the more. Way to go, Ewan.
And I’m pretty sure that things will be okay so long as we have Ian McKellen in the world.
The Rebel Rangers
When the Trump administration closed down official Twitter accounts for the National Park Service, the perfectly named Badlands National Park refused to stop tweeting.
When they were finally silenced, anonymous NPS rangers took matters into their own hands and opened a new ‘rogue’ account in order to keep tweeting scientific facts about climate change.
At the time of writing, a ‘Rogue NASA‘ Twitter account is also running – tagline ‘come for the facts, stay for the snark’.
And they’re already gaining celebrity endorsement:
And then Badlands came back – and they’d given themselves the best name ever
Other brilliant things are happening
Scientists plan to march on Washington D.C. in protest at the policies of the incoming President.
Voice donation is helping sufferers of Motor Neurone Disease ‘speak’ again.
Many of us already carry organ donor cards, but have you ever considered donating your voice?
Speak:Unique are working to provide personalised ‘donor voices’ for those losing theirs through MND.
They are currently seeking volunteers who can get to Edinburgh to have their voices recorded for future use.
Scientists have developed a successful Ebola vaccine.
Norway has become the first country to completely ban deforestation, and refused to import any products which contributed to deforestation.
The Giant Panda is no longer classified as an endangered species.
Friend the dog was found lost on a mountain miles from home, 19 days after he went missing.
However claustrophobic life on earth may seem at times, space truly is still the final frontier.
A polar bear came for tea with scientists on board a polar research vessel (which was rather apt).
Zoos had a cute-off and it was EPIC
And we still have David Attenborough!
Although if someone could wrap him up in cotton wool and keep a very close eye on his wellbeing that would be great, thanks.
Sometimes it’s the less obvious things that make everything seem that tiny bit better.
In times when it often feels as though the entire world is rapidly going to hell in a hand basket, it helps to remind ourselves of the small things that make a big difference.
I asked people to tell me about their own ‘little joys’:
‘I got an apple crumble pie dead cheap today, to go with cheap Christmas chocolate (Malteaser reindeer reduced to a penny each). I’m currently developing what I fondly think of as a ‘bucket list body’ in that I’m eating whatever the f**k I want whenever the f**k I want it because I’m hyper-aware of my/everyone’s mortality.’ Gill Hoffs, author
‘Art. I went to the Tate Modern this week and came out feeling inspired and uplifted. Human creativity is something worth nurturing.’ Jill C
‘I live and work in a multi-cultural town, but despite Brexit I’ve not seen any more racial tension than was already present. Just up the road from where I work, a local mosque has a weekly gathering to feed the homeless and hand out essentials like sleeping bags, clothes and sanitary products. There are more good people than bad.’ Deb T
‘People CARE. We shouldn’t need food banks to exist, but the fact that so many people are happy to contribute is a good thing.’ Lucy C
‘I’ve just spent all weekend with the Trustees of the charity that I work for. Volunteering is alive and kicking and making lives better every day, for people across the globe.’ Julia C
‘Humour, compassion, knitting, looking after yourself and others so that you don’t get sucked into negativity (and/or the ‘system’), kale smoothies, grassroots activism/art/random acts of kindness, seed-bombing.’ Jed Phoenix, designer
‘More people are becoming engaged in politics…standing up for what they believe in and hopefully preparing for hard work for better elections results.’ Fiona G
An awful lot of people said that Tom Hardy was the most positive thing they could think of. Who am I to argue?
And if you’re still struggling to feel positive, try listening to this speech by U.S. politician Nina Turner.
Regardless of whether you share her political and religious beliefs, it’s hard not to be stirred by her passionate words.