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Bummer, The World Didn’t End: Now What?

“What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the master calls a butterfly.”

~Richard Bach

If I owned a restaurant I would have the morning after brunch special for Sunday, May 22.  It would, of course, be called The Day After Brunch, in honor of the day most of us knew would come –in spite of the media frenzy.  The meal would be a chance to celebrate and cope.

On the menu?

  • Eggs benedict, for those who felt betrayed by the hype.
  • Glazed donuts for those who really didn’t see it coming.
  • A Forgiveness Frittata for anyone needing to absolve themselves or others.
  • And, yes, you are allowed to groan when you hear this, but the drink of the day would be: Orange Juice glad the world didn’t end?

If you are reading this the end of the world hasn’t taken place.  Of course we could start looking for a date to plan the next end of the world, but perhaps there is a better use of our time and effort. This is an excellent time for the 3 Rs — reflect, recommit, and restore. Take the time to reappraise yourself, get on track with goals, and prune the things (and people) from your life that aren’t working for you.  Each of these suggestions is supported by the new research in positive psychology.

More of what you want, less of what you don’t. Sustainable positive change comes about slowly.  Start thinking about increasing the activities and events you want more of in your life, and decreasing the things you want less of.  No absolutes.  Less sugar, more protein; fewer work commitments, more time with loved ones; more time exercising, less time watching TV, you get the idea.

Daily gratitude. Research has show that recounting the gratitude that you have over the past 24 hours helps to change our perception of the past, buoys us in the present, and gives us an optimistic outlook for the future.  Not a bad deal for a few minutes of being grateful.

Be Kind. Consciously being kind to others alters not only their sense of well-being, but also yours.  Find opportunities to be kind so that both the people you and the people you are helping feel better.  To give is to receive, and, in this case, it is instant.

Celebrate your love.  If you are in a committed relationship celebrating things is at least as important as getting through tough times.  Stronger relationships and marriages celebrate each other’s accomplishments and affirm their positive experiences with each other.  Stuck on what to celebrate?  How about the fact the world didn’t end? That seems good enough for a celebration.

Proof Positive

Meditate.  There is no such thing as a bad meditation.  If you haven’t tried, give anything a try.  Breathing, walking, chanting, visualization, transcendental meditation, mindfulness based stress reduction (MBSR), loving kindness meditation, literally anything is good to get started with.  10 minutes is better than 5, 15 better than 10.  Give your worn-out frontal lobes a rest.

Imagine a better world. Expectations about our future seem to directly influence our future well-being.  When we have a positive future projection we are aligning ourselves with goals we intend to reach.  More often than not we do.

Exercise: A natural stress reliever and nature’s antidepressant.  Regular exercise helps us feel better because it helps us maintain or improve our physical health, changes our blood chemistry and can release hormones that promote a sense of well-being.

The next time someone suggests the world is going to end you might want to recall the wise words of the great cartoonist, Charles M. Schulz:

“Don’t worry about the world coming to an end today. It is already tomorrow in Australia.”

Bummer, The World Didn’t End: Now What?

Daniel Tomasulo, Ph.D.

Dan Tomasulo Ph.D., TEP, MFA, MAPP teaches Positive Psychology in the graduate program of Counseling and Clinical Psychology at Columbia University, Teachers College and works with Martin Seligman, the Father of Positive Psychology in the Masters of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) program at the University of Pennsylvania. He is Director of the New York Certification in Positive Psychology for the Open Center in New York City and on faculty at New Jersey City University. Sharecare has honored him as one of the top 10 online influencers on the topic of depression. For more information go to: He also writes for Psych Central's Ask the Therapist column and the Proof Positive blog.

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APA Reference
Tomasulo, D. (2018). Bummer, The World Didn’t End: Now What?. Psych Central. Retrieved on February 27, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 Jul 2018 (Originally: 22 May 2011)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Jul 2018
Published on Psych All rights reserved.