I know I know, with recent circumstances our routines ARE ALL JACKED UP. Many of us have thrown in the towel so to speak, given up hope that there isn’t much we can do in this situation. Others have spoke out loud to the internet universe, focused on keeping their gains intact, even in isolation.
WHICH ONE ARE YOU?
While we often focus on protecting our physical health using measures such as practicing social distancing, frequent hand-washing, or wearing masks in public, maintaining our mental well-being is just as important.
A large number of people have found that social isolation is extremely challenging. As humans we thrive on connecting with others and these social connections are a foundation of what makes us “happy”. But now we can’t connect with others as we used to and we are learning all sorts of new ways to create our happiness, in some unexpected ways too!
What new ways / things are you implementing right NOW that is creating a bit of happy in your life?
Here are a few things to consider:
- Don’t sweat the small stuff: Learning to be more tolerant of other’s shortcomings AS WELL AS OUR OWN. Studies have shown that as people age, they are more likely to pay more attention to what makes them happy and spend less time worrying about failing. By focusing on activities that make us happy or bring us joy such as games we played when we were younger, hobbies that we enjoy, or new activities that we have always wanted to try, we have the ability to increase our levels of happiness through association.
- Stay connected with friends and family. Research shows that your “SQUAD;” a social circle that you could reach out to (even if you did not need to) is associated with increased emotional health. Find new ways to connect with your friends and family. Pick up the phone and call one person per day. Send a message or how about mailing a written letter? Host a virtual meet up for lunch, dinner, pau hana, or to celebrate a socially distance appropriate celebration (Birthday, graduation, anniversary, a child’s play date…” With all of the video conferencing apps available to us now, hosting virtual gatherings can all work to buffer us against the effects of isolation and provide mood-boosting benefits.
- Show gratitude regularly. Researchers have found that being truly grateful for what you have can improve sleep, improve our social connections and decrease our levels of stress or sadness. For many of us, we can always find a reason to be grateful. Acknowledging the hard work of others, expressing our love or thanks to the people who are around us everyday or simply finding ways to remind ourselves of everything we do have are all ways to express gratitude. Even the small things, such as a sunny day or going for a relaxing walk are opportunities to show thanks.
In my #SwitchingGears consistency challenge, I have my ladies journal the events and moments they are grateful for. This exercise of writing down what they are grateful for is actively bringing awareness to positive thinking and limiting distractions for them. In fact, clinical studies have demonstrated that keeping a gratitude journal may actually have long-lasting effects on your brain’s structure and thought processing. The more you “exercise” expressing gratitude, the more your mind is conditioned to this positive mindset.
Simply writing down 2 or 3 things that you are thankful for on a regular basis can help you increase your level of happiness.
Let me know what 2-3 things you are thankful for right now by listing them in the comment section below! I am thankful for the health of myself and my family members; the love of my spouse and our fur kids (4 of them) and the fact that I can still work from home in the online space, doing what I love – my passion for health and wellness with my tribe!
“Happiness is not something ready-made, it comes from your own actions” – Dali Lama