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Bad Times Can Bring Out Our Best

by Beth on October 8th, 2013

I’ve blogged before about how we can increase our happiness by making a point of noticing the good and looking for the silver lining when something bad happens. It isn’t easy to do, but it can be heartening to see how bad situations often bring out the best in people.

The current government shutdown has many negative consequences. The media is doing a good job, as always, of highlighting all the ways in which people are being hurt by the shutdown. It is certainly frustrating to have a government that seems to care more about playing politics than serving its people. It helps to focus on the stories of what people are doing to make a positive difference during this difficult time.

The very first day of the shutdown World War II veterans who had flown in from Mississippi peacefully pushed aside the barriers to visit the memorial in their honor and nobody tried to stop them. On the second day of the shutdown furloughed workers were volunteering around D.C. to pass out information to tourists who had come to visit the capitol.

One of the radio stations that I listen to has been inviting furloughed federal employees to come in as interns since the shutdown started. The interns seem to be having a great time answering phones, doing the weather, and chatting on air with DJ Tommy McFly.

Many restaurants in D.C. are giving away free food to furloughed workers. Spanish chef José Andrés is offering free sandwiches at three of his D.C. eateries to government employees every afternoon during the shutdown. I love the sign at one restaurant offering a 10% discount to federal workers and double the price for members of Congress. Sam’s Club has offered free shopping passes to military personnel so that they can take advantage of the low-priced products sold by the wholesale club.

We can’t help but notice the many negative ways in which the government shutdown is affecting us. Try to also notice and appreciate how negative events can bring out the best in people. And please share your stories with us!

  1. Suzy Howell permalink

    If only our representatives would read this and take heed. The idea is, actually, not to make the best of a bad thing but to act in such a way that a totally artifically created and completely preventable shut down would never happen.

  2. Beth permalink

    More good! Starbucks is encouraging Americans to “come together” during the shutdown by giving a free coffee to people who buy coffee for someone else. The charity group Fisher House is offering an advance grant to families of fallen troops who are no longer receiving death benefits from the government.

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