Any news channel right now is a mecca of depressing, overwhelming headlines. COVID-19, otherwise known Coronavirus, has taken over any and all platforms. Schools are shut down. Entire countries are on lockdown. And, no one can offer any information about a guaranteed end to this pandemic. It’s important to stay informed, but it’s also important to not be totally consumed by all of the negativity. To help, here are three TEDxMileHigh talks to take your mind off of the current state of the world.

We hope these talks give you a break from the news, but we also hope they inspire you to think differently about the world. 

There is always a light at the end of the tunnel, and we hope that when we reach the end of this, these talks (and all of the other TEDxMileHigh talks) will help you look at the world with more promise than pain.  

Three TEDxMileHigh Talks to Take Your Mind Off Things

Let the Imagination Flow

With schools across the country shut down, you may find yourself stuck inside with your kids frantically trying to keep them entertained. Mara Mintzer can help. In her 2017 talk, Mintzer describes her unique job of harnessing the imagination of children in order to build functional, accessible cities for all populations.

“If we’re building a park to be largely used by kids, then kids should have a say in the design!”  – Mara Mintzer

One of the most impactful lessons Mintzer and her team learned from their Boulder city park project was the limitless imagination of children. They consider everyone in their design, from the grasshoppers to their grandma in a wheelchair. They don’t stomp out good ideas too early because they’re concerned about the cost or other logistics. 

“Our children are designing cities that will make us happier and healthier. Cities filled with nature, play, movement, social connection, and beauty. Children are designing the cities we all want to live in.” – Mara Mintzer

If you find yourself trapped inside with your kids, encourage their imaginations. Use this time to spark an interest in them that could lead to future global solutions. What better way to take your mind off our current situation than imagining a healthier, more creative tomorrow?

Learn a New Skill

If there is one thing to brighten anyone’s day, it’s a quick, carefree dance party. Luckily, this talk has one built right in. If beatboxer Mark Martin hasn’t captured your attention by the end of his performance, stick around for the end of his talk and the first and only TEDxMileHigh human beatbox orchestra.

Catch your breath, grab some water, maybe listen one more time—then learn from Martin. After realizing he was obsessed with making sounds, whether, from his mouth or a drumset, Martin was destined for a career in music. However, his beatboxing expertise extends far beyond the New York subway.

“What if instead of telling noisy kids to be quiet, we could harness their innate curiosity and passion for creating new sounds to help them overcome the challenges they face in everyday life?” – Mark Martin

Aside from being a “glorified party trick,” Martin has discovered a way to bridge music and language with beatboxing. Traditional speech therapy techniques can be “mind-numbing, soul-crushing, and boring,” and Martin has dedicated himself and his passion for making noise to re-invent those techniques to be interactive and fun.

Miraculous Medical Breakthroughs

Maybe you’re struggling to disconnect from the world right now. No matter how hard you try, you find yourself checking in for the latest news, hoping it’s somewhat positive. While microbiologist Ethan Mann can’t give you much relief in terms of our current pandemic, his work proves that there are incredible, unconventional solutions to our toughest medical problems.

“The U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention call antimicrobial resistance one of the biggest public health challenges of our time,” says Mann. Despite the large scope of this problem, Mann and his team at Sharklet Technologies have discovered a breakthrough from the most unlikely of allies: sharks.

Their mission is to reinvent the surface of medical devices so bacteria won’t stick to them and cause infection. With this breakthrough, the fight to get ahead of antimicrobial resistance in antibiotics will cease to exist because the risk of infection is much lower.

The context of this talk, we’ll admit, is not necessarily uplifting. The thought of getting an infection from a device that’s supposed to help you is unnerving. The point is, Mann and his team discovered an unprecedented solution to a massive problem in the most unique of places. Who’s to say the answer to our current situation isn’t just as miraculous?

Keep Smiling

We hope these talks were able to take your mind off of the state of the world for a brief moment of blissful dance or childish imagination. Keep that positivity going. Stay informed on the facts, like the importance of social distancing, but stay focused on what makes you happy. Time flies when you’re having fun, so make the most out of these quiet moments and keep smiling.