Chin Up, Churchill

Chin+Up%2C+Churchill

Cartoon by Kevin Ho

Chin up, Churchill.

Recently, there’s been a case of negativity going around, whether it be because of acts of violence or accumulation of academic stress. But even in the face of it, it’s important to stay positive, to find those cliched silver linings in storm clouds wherever we can.

Ordinarily, this section of the newspaper is dedicated to bringing issues to the forefront, to critiquing situations and current events, to inspiring change by relaying multiple opinions, and possible solutions.

However, this time we’ll be changing things up a little. Choosing to find happiness and light even in the darkest of times is a must. Rarely does anyone not want to be happy or content with their life and the world—we’re just going to take a moment to remind you why staying positive is important.

It can be easy to get caught up in current events, to feel as if there really isn’t any hope in this world. That’s when it’s time for a breath of fresh air, for a break from all the madness.

Following on the heels of mental health awareness week and the arrival of college acceptance (or rejection) letters, it’s important to realize that though there are awful things in this world, there are some fabulous things as well, ranging from chocolate chip cookies to having whole families reunited for the new year.

We all know that staying positive and being happy is a life journey, more of a destiny than a norm for most of us. But let’s go beyond a pep talk, shall we?

In social media, it’s become cool to be critical. Whether it’s a witty status update taking a swing at a public figure, an article poking fun at an institution or a 140-character subtweet laden with sarcasm, skepticism and insults have become mainstream.

But what users don’t know is just how far a kind word can go.

According to a September 2015 study conducted by PeerJ Computer Science journal, positive content posted on social media is shared more often and reaches a larger audience than a negative content.

The study analyzed 20 million public tweets produced during September 2014 that featured URLs, photos or videos, and concluded that people prefer positive tweets, which are favorited five times more than negative or neutral ones.

But it’s more than getting the likes. Even if a positive post doesn’t get the numerous shares, it’s really the thought that counts, and spreading cheer shouldn’t just be limited to a few months of the year.

Even though those small acts of kindness don’t make headlines or even counter the ever-increasing amount of violence, it does help to know that most people are compassionate and genuine.

At CHS, students have been furthering those global trends on a local level with Unity Day and SOS’ sidewalk-chalk and banner compliments. But more deeply ingrained into our student body is the constant need to pursue academic rigor, which can lead to overwhelming stress and supportive-turned-spiteful attitudes.

In school, it’s easy for students to make fun of kids who come across as different, to trash talk classmates when they don’t get acceptance letters. At CHS, competition and measuring success through grades and academic achievement is a constant.

The result? A school full of high achieving students who needlessly live with the weight of comparison upon their shoulders.

According to USA Today, teens who live high-stress lives set themselves up for chronic stress and lower performance levels over time.

Still, there are more reasons stay positive than keeping grades up and lowering stress. Instead, make it your New Year’s resolution to respect others whether or not they get into their colleges, and to respect yourself for your accomplishments. Aim to be honest, to focus on learning rather than making the A, to relax and take a deep breath every once in a while.

So here’s to CHS and a school-wide effort to try and stay positive, not just for our own mental health, but for others’ as well. And from there, who knows? CHS students could be spreading kindness and optimism far beyond these cinder-block walls.

Stay classy, but more importantly, stay happy, CHS.