Even during the current crisis, there are ten happiness tools we all have at our disposal that we can use to boost our emotional wellbeing.
At a time when the coronavirus crisis is putting us under pressure, and making us feel like many aspects of our lives are out of our control, it’s good to know there are ten ‘happiness tools’ you can use to lift your mood and improve your emotional health.
10 happiness tools:
- Get moving: Exercising gives us an emotional lift as well as a physical boost, releasing “happy hormones” in the form of endorphins. Now is the ideal time to get fit or do an activity you particularly enjoy, be it running, dancing or even a free online workout hosted by a celebrity.
- Count your blessings: Gratitude is such a powerful driver of happiness. Simply making a note at the end of each day of three things to be thankful for — via a ”gratitude journal” or by taking a mental note — can help our wellbeing by reprogramming the brain to focus on the positive.
- Share how you feel: You don’t need to visit a counsellor to talk about how you’re feeling. Be open and honest with friends and family if you’re struggling to stay positive and talk about what’s on your mind: articulating our feelings gives us back a sense of control.
- Connect to nature: Nurture a plant or garden or take up the ancient Japanese practice of shinrin yoku, “forest bathing”, a form of relaxation, which simply involves being calm and quiet among the trees and observing nature around you, while breathing deeply.
- Moderate TV use: Watching television can provide much needed escapism, but it’s a passive activity that can zap happiness over time. Keep healthy by still making time for active things, such as exercising or talking to friends, and limit the amount of bad news you consume.
- Have a laugh: Laughter not only decreases stress hormones and lowers blood pressure, but also promotes an overall sense of wellbeing, so allow yourself to enjoy humour where you can. If there’s a comedian or comedy show you love, give yourself permission to enjoy watching that.
- Connect with a friend: Even though the opportunities for meeting up with people in person are still very restricted, picking up the phone to a good friend, arranging a ‘virtual coffee’, meeting up in a park (at a socially safe distance) or arranging a zoom quiz can give you a powerful happiness boost.
- Treat yourself: Do something that gives you joy each day, whether it’s reading a book, calling someone you care about, having a luxurious bubble bath, listening to your favourite song or getting out and about in nature to enjoy some fresh air or gardening.
- Be kind to others: Be mindful of people who might be on their own at this time and reach out by giving them a call or inviting them to take part in an online social gathering. Being kind to others also has the power to make us feel happy ourselves.
- Get enough sleep: Make sure you prioritise your sleep by trying to establish a regular bedtime and introducing a ‘digital sunset’ to switch off all screens so you can relax before going to bed. If a situation is upsetting or worrying you, try to get some emotional support to prevent sleepless nights.
By learning how to use these tools during the lockdown, you will be able to apply them to proactively manage your mental health for years to come.