It can be difficult to stay positive during the COVID-19 pandemic, but an expert says there are simple, but deliberate changes you can make to shift your attitude.

Dr. Danielle Sink, Chief Medical Officer at Bayless Integrated Healthcare, said that periods of prolonged stress, including a pandemic, can cause our minds to constantly look for threats. But Sink said you can set active goals to “emphasize your desired action and outcome,” rather than the habit you want to abandon. She said instead of saying “I won’t eat junk food,” you can reframe your thoughts to say, “when I reach for an unhealthy snack, I will stop” and select a healthier choice.

Sink also recommends you declutter your space, cleaning and rearranging items and adding art or mementos to give you a different view. She said your mood might change and possibilities will open up as your visual input is altered.

Experiment with a new skill, recipe or even a new route to your destination so you will pay attention to the moment and let go of expectations and habits that are not assisting you, Sink said.

She also urges people to serve as giving back creates a feeling of gratitude and achievement. Studies reveal the more people volunteer the happier they are.

Sink said everyone should press pause by engaging in regular prayer or meditation using mindfulness techniques as they are proven to decrease stress and its consequences. A simple way to do that is by breathing slowly while thinking, “inhale peace, exhale stress.”

Sink said if you or your loved ones are feeling despair or hopelessness you should contact your primary care physician or obtain professional counseling services. To learn more, visit