Catherine Graham is an Eskaton guest blogger and the wellness coordinator at Eskaton Support Center.
With the coronavirus taking up so much of our time and attention these days, it’s vitally important that we just don’t survive it—we must learn to thrive in spite of it. A recent article highlighting the importance of being happy, even in the midst of a pandemic, reported recent scientific evidence that suggests that people who are happier and more optimistic are less likely to get heart disease, and that a long-term optimistic mindset promotes overall health as a preventative measure. Obtaining this type of mindset during a national health crisis may seem daunting, but it starts by doing a few small things on a daily basis to help keep you focused on positive outcomes.
Try these 4 simple tips to help you increase your feelings of happiness (and help keep you around and enjoying life for as long as possible):
It’s all about the “good stuff” - If you’ve been called a “Negative Nelly,” now’s the time to change that label! Finding the good in not-so-good situations and feeling appreciation for the experience of having gone through the challenge has been shown to help reduce both anxiety and depression. A simple exercise to increase your gratitude aptitude is thinking of three good things that happened before you pull up your covers and turn out the light each night. Saying them out loud, sharing them with someone, or writing them down can also help you process why you recognize those things as positive experiences and to feel the good feelings from those events all over again.
Kindness counts - There’s no argument that helping and giving to others feels good, and when we do things for others (i.e. “random acts of kindness”), it gives us a big boost of “love hormones” like oxytocin, dopamine and serotonin that cause a sort of “helpers high.” Take a moment today to do something out of the blue for someone else and see what happens—then repeat again tomorrow, and the next day, and the next day . . . You’ll soon see why people say they are addicted to giving!
Give your mind a break – As human beings, our minds are constantly processing, sorting and analyzing information. With all this data overload, it’s not uncommon for our cognitive processes to get “clogged up.” Feelings, worries, thoughts, words . . . It can all create a sense of anxiety and overwhelm if you don’t tune in and slow down enough to make sense of it all. 10 minutes of mindful “brain clearing” (studies show that morning is usually best) helps to improve mood, increase concentration and improves the immune system response! Headspace.com offers suitable 10-minute meditations that you can do from your computer or phone, and it’s FREE!
10 minutes a day to keep the blues away - Exercise isn’t just about strengthening your muscles or losing weight; it also strengthens your immune system, boosts your mood, improves brain function, and relieves stress and anxiety. Think 10 minutes a day sounds impossible? Start out with 5 minutes today, then 6 minutes tomorrow, 7 minutes the next day, and so on until you realize 10 minutes is “no sweat” at all!
We hope you found these tips helpful in your journey through these unchartered waters. Remember, perfection is not our goal—happiness is. Be well, stay well!
For more tips on how to keep a happy & healthy mindset, visit our blog!