According to mental health professionals, a useful coping mechanism in these difficult times is to look for the positives and to write them down. It does help and I encourage my fellow Islanders to try it. The following is what I’ve come up with so far.

I’ve learned I can get by on one meal a day. It begins at 8:30 a.m. and ends at 11:30 p.m.

My apartment has never been cleaner. I’ve even cleaned the implements that I use to clean. My vacuum is now dusted, polished and bedazzled. The only thing collecting dust is the resistance tube I bought for exercising.

My CD’s are in alphabetical order. I haven’t played a CD in 10 years but I feel better now.

My phone contacts are edited and updated. I no longer have three entries for my pediatrician.

I’ve rediscovered the joy of Jello. I forsook ice cream for sugar-free Jello in order to save freezer space and limit comfort food temptation. Jello scratches the sweet itch. The packet is the size of a tea bag and makes for easy storage. It takes under a minute to make. And it took me back to happy childhood days, although it caused an uncontrollable craving for Cool-Whip.

Thanks to emergency tackle from Cooper Gilkes and to YouTube, I learned some fly fishing basics and I’ve actually had the time to try them out. I’ve learned the joy of making a good cast. I’ve learned how to dislodge a hook from my back. I’ve learned that the fish are also practicing social distancing.

I’ve had actual phone conversations with people — some of whom I haven’t spoken to since the olden days when phones had cords. A high school girlfriend who lives in Texas tracked me down on Facebook. We hadn’t spoken since graduation, when we promised to stay in touch. A three-hour conversation went by like 30 minutes. It could have gone on longer but when she told me she’d become a Dallas Cowboys fan (we grew up in Philadelphia Eagles country) I immediately hung up on her.

For the first time in my life I’m caught up on my New Yorker magazines.

I’ve had the time to take birding courses online from the Cornell Lab Bird Academy. I now know why woodpeckers don’t get concussions ­— they don’t play contact sports.

The Venice canals are running clear for the first time in recent history. Satellite photography shows a stark reduction in air pollution over major cities. Even though Mother Nature is showing us her fangs, she’s also showing us how quickly our planet can heal if we give it a chance.

So far, that’s the biggest positive of all.

Barry Stringfellow lives in Edgartown.