Good news stories to lift your mood
In these unprecedented times, it’s more important than ever to keep an eye out for the good news. From charitable donations to film clubs, James Gill takes a look at some of the positivity surrounding us this week.
FRONTLINE – The eyes have it
When you stop and think about what our NHS workers, social care staff and the like are doing throughout the pandemic, it is enough to make you weep. These are people who initially started out as, say, doctors and nurses with no idea that there would come a time where they were putting their actual lives on the line, day in, day out. It’s why more companies are doing their bit to pay due homage. Take Vision Direct; Britain’s leading online contact lens retailer is giving away 4,000 free packs of daily disposable contact lenses to people working for the NHS, police and fire service, social care staff and teachers. And Ashley Mealor, Vision Direct’s Chief Marketing Officer, explains: “The staff working hard at the frontline of the coronavirus outbreak really are our heroes. We are so grateful for their sacrifice to look after the nation and keep us safe, during these unprecedented times. As a way of saying thank you, we’d like to give out 4,000 free packs of contact lenses.” And Lucas Fernández, a senior nurse at University College Hospital, adds: “Wearing glasses underneath a visor makes things a lot more complicated for those of us on the frontline needing vision correction. Protective equipment is not made with breathable materials, making glasses fog up and slide down the nose – and the process of wiping them down or pushing them up at various points of the day is long and complex. We have to disinfect our hands, the mask and our glasses every single time we touch them, even if it’s with gloves. But with contacts, you can safely insert/remove them at home and not have to worry about them during the day.”
CELEBRITY – A magical gesture
This is, obviously, a Good News section and has been for four happy years. And so we say this in the nicest way possible: when the dust settles on all of this, it feels important to remember those individuals who went above and beyond, when compared to those who… let’s say didn’t exactly cover themselves in glory. We won’t name names in the latter category (we’d wager you’re thinking of one or two people in the public eye right now), yet happily will celebrate those who continue to wow. Take JK Rowling: the author is someone who has given away jaw-dropping sums of money to charitable causes in the past, and the Harry Potter creator clearly isn’t done yet, having donated another £1 million across two charities; half will go to homeless charity Crisis, while the other goes to domestic abuse charity Refuge. To mark #HarryPotterDay on 2 May, Rowling posted: “Today’s the 22nd anniversary of the Battle of Hogwarts, but I am going to be honest and say that it feels inappropriate to talk about fictional deaths. Too many people are losing loved ones in the real world.” What’s more, the government has also pledged £76 million.
SCIENCE – Smells good
This is the sort of nugget of good news that has complex science behind it, yet when you hear about it, you think, “Makes sense.” By wafting smells under the nose of patients with brain injuries, it’s possible to ascertain their chances of recovery. It’s part of some truly remarkable research carried out at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel. And Professor Noam Sobel explains: “If you approach people who are unconscious and you present them with an odour and they sniff it, they will resume consciousness at some stage and probably live for at least three years.” Anat Azri of the Weizmann team adds: “If you don’t have a sniff response, we can say nothing. But if you have a sniff response, it’s highly informative. Maybe we can provide with the sniff test a simple tell to be used at the bedside that will reduce misdiagnosis rates.”
COSMETICS – Put on a happy face
Self-gifting is good for you. If this sounds like BALANCE has had to say this mantra out loud when justifying the purchase of, say, that new video game, then you’d be absolutely correct. If you are considering treating yourself, at least counter-culture icon SmileyWorld – as in, the smiley face on the yellow background – has its heart in the right place, given it was launched in 1972 purely off the back of the idea of positivity, good news and the idea of taking time out to smile. Now SmileyWorld has teamed up with British cosmetics brand Ciate to launch a range of good news-inspired products, which is well-timed if you’re thinking of gifting yourself, or a friend, a pick-me-up during these difficult few weeks. “Good news is the most important equity a brand owns, they have a unique position in which they can instantly bring joy to their entire community through the simplest of means,” explains Ciate’s Founder and CEO, Charlotte Knight. “The synergy between Ciate London and SmileyWorld has made this collaboration so effortless, we have the same vision and end goal – to inspire, empower and lift the spirits of our communities. Through these strange times, we are able to directly reach our consumers and offer them a respite from the gloom with an injection of just simple, good news. Our collaboration with SmileyWorld is innovative, beautiful, creative and meaningful, filled with products that will make people feel happy which, right now, is exactly what we need.” The Ciaté London x SmileyWorld collection launches on 17 July, which is World Emoji Day, and is available at ciatelondon.com, Sephora and ASOS.
COMMUNITY – That’s Liveing, all right
Physical community isn’t possible (as if you didn’t know!), yet the spike in digital community continues to make the world feel that much smaller. It’s something BALANCE discusses with latest podcast guest Alice Liveing, who continues to touch the lives of millions across her various social media platforms. “One of the most beautiful gifts we’ve been given is the gift of time,” Alice says on the BALANCE podcast. And it’s not just hugely successful influencers who are seeing a spike as people reach out; the sense of community is being felt across the internet. Going to the cinema obviously isn’t going to happen for a while, yet film lovers are able to communicate and plot to watch films simultaneously at My Film Club. Founder Wez Merchant explains: “It was made off the back of me having a balance disorder, suffering massive depression and anxiety and subsequently paying out all my savings on counselling, CBT and reiki. But I discovered that all I really needed was community. The site is my way of giving something back and a place where people can create free communities and chat with fellow film lovers.” If you’re a movie lover looking to rekindle that passion for all things cinema, you can find out more by downloading the My Film Club app across Apple and Android, plus here. Keep eyes peeled on the app because founder Wez will be adding a Balance Film Club section soon.