Peace and happiness – they’re in abundant supply. You just have to know where to look. Media-inspired thoughts have the power to undermine your peace of mind. Digital bombs are exploding in and around your consciousness everyday in the form of images, broadcasts and websites. Messages and propaganda more often than not bring you new concerns. Politics, economics, global peace and security – abstract concepts run rampant inflicting internal shock and awe. News events shape and direct thinking, consequently affecting our emotions and actions, as well as world events. Immediate needs like schoolwork, rent and food, not to mention social concerns, can be all-consuming. You can’t block it out and pretend nothing is going on. However, you can minimize the effect these events have on your good cheer.

If you want to smile and live a happy life, you must identify and acknowledge the positive in all of these things. This type of positive mental engagement fosters optimism. Looking for the positive in ostensibly negative events and circumstances may also produce solutions to these concerns. On the surface, the news of domestic and world events appears to be overwhelmingly negative. With a shift of attention, however, the intrinsic opportunity in each of these erstwhile global disasters becomes apparent.

Current news events have focused our attention toward the escalation of violence and conflict on both national and global levels. The political season has contributed to an increase in the partisan messages and propaganda we must sift through in order to determine what is in our own and the common interest. Corporate scandal, deficits and unemployment have weakened our economy. Violence, politics and economic malaise may well be viewed as opportunities for peace, governmental change and economic renewal.

For example, escalating violence can’t get much worse. If it does, the entire planet will be destroyed. What could possibly be positive about the prevalence of violence in the world? You can choose not to be violent and so be a point in the world where violence cannot exist. With enough of you, there won’t be any violence. If that doesn’t work, you will at least have the peace of mind that comes with knowing you are part of the solution, not a contributor to the problem.

Political polarization is documented daily through news polls and experienced through interpersonal conflict. There are beautiful aspects of this phenomenon. Diversity of expression is a tribute to the significance of each of us, including those who sit on the opposite side of the political spectrum from you. Without up, there would be no down; without darkness, no light. Your perspective is of unique importance in the sea of humanity. Appreciate and exercise your power through your voice and your vote.

Inherent in economic difficulties are beneficial inevitabilities. At the bottom, there’s no place to go but up. News reporting on deficits, unemployment and poverty force our awareness into the unpleasant, untidy corners of society. We realize how big these corners have become. As a result, we become more informed of the political and practical circumstances that give rise to these difficulties. The good part about that is that once you have an understanding of the problem, finding a solution becomes a real possibility.

The mind can be conditioned to believe that irrationality and negativity deserve focused attention. The opposite is also true. All of the news events are going on outside of you – but what about you? Do you react or respond? If you react to the news you may internalize these conflicts. If you respond, that is act with measured consideration, you may bring peace not only to yourself, but others – even the entire world. Change is the only constant. As you change, so does the world. Think positive.

Tiye Baldwin is a Daily Nexus staff writer.