We can all use a healthy daily dose of happiness. Here are a few of my favourite ways to beat loneliness, remain positive and boost my general feelings of happiness.
1. Feeling isolated? Technology is your friend!
Have you been feeling isolated during lockdown? We are naturally social creatures, and while we have to recognise the physical distancing rules, I really miss social interaction with my friends and my family. One way we have managed to overcome this is to schedule drinks with our neighbours once a week, over the fence. Fortunately, we love our neighbours! Another option is to host a happy hour facetime chat. We have thoroughly enjoyed interactions and conversations with friends from all around the world, and it’s a great way to maintain a sense of connection and communication. It’s impressive how pandemics or challenges bring things into perspective for us. Taking the time to reach out to people for a happy hour catch up has been a great way to remain in contact and keep the overwhelming feelings of isolation or loneliness at bay.
2. Drowning in negative vibes? Switch off!
Our news sources are invested in delivering bad news because this provides them with more eyeballs than good news. When have you ever seen a broadcast start with a good news story? If you’re drowning in negative vibes, then it’s time to stop watching the news. Avoid the Corona-dose – an overdose of watching horrible news. Pick your news source and only watch it once or twice a day; otherwise, you’re going to become overwhelmed by what’s being reported to you. Similar to your diet, choose what you want to consume and enjoy it in moderation.
If you’re working from home, feeling isolated or drowning in negativity, there are many simple ways to lift the vibe and improve your mood. Light a candle, burn some incense, use a diffuser with a scent you love, apply essential oil to your pulse points that lift your spirits, play some music or watch a comedy. Look for things that make you laugh! If you are in a dark place that you can’t find a way out of, a call to a trusted friend or mental health support service is the best course of action.
There are days when I’m drowning in negative vibes, so I turn off the news, put on some happy music, and dance around the office or the house. Or I pick up the phone and call some friends who make me laugh. One of my secret recipes is watching animated kids films that make me laugh out loud, such as Toy Story, Madagascar 3, Despicable Me and Bolt. Changing my environment shifts my perspective.
3. Feeling stressed? Get moving!
There is a fine line between healthy and unhealthy stress. Pushing to make a deadline, preparing for a big event or studying for an exam can easily tip us over the edge, so we need to pay attention to our feelings and behaviours. If you are thriving despite your workload, engaged with your colleagues/family and motivated most of the time, this indicates you are managing your stress effectively. If, however, you are keeping it together at work but exploding when you get home, relying on stimulants to get through the day and sedatives to sleep at night or fail to have enough energy for the fun things in life, you are in an unhealthy stress pattern. Many studies demonstrate that exercise is our bodies natural anti-depressant. A recent study took people with mild to moderate depression and treated half the group purely by exercise three times per week for 20 mins, and the other half of the group had treatment solely by anti-depressant medication. At both the 6 and 12-month mark, it was the exercise group that exceeded in their wellbeing scores during to the endorphins and bliss chemicals released during exercise. Regular exercise, carried out at least 4 times a week, offers incredible benefits that can improve nearly every aspect of your health from the inside out. So, get off the couch, get outdoors and get moving. It’s never too late to start building your strength and physical fitness.
Over time, discomfort, sadness, negativity and unhappiness can become a habit, so shining a light on how you feel is the quickest way to take control of your life and ownership of your actions.
Loneliness and isolation can be negated simply by picking up the phone. If you find yourself getting wound up by the news, turn it off and watch something uplifting. Stress is a silent assassin, so keep a check on your emotions and take the time to exercise every day. Your mind, body and soul will love you for it.
Speaking of action, write down five things that make you happy and commit to doing one of them each day for the next 5 days. Record your feelings of happiness out of 10 following the completion of each activity and tag me with your results (@laynebeachley)
And, if you are into reading medical journals, here is a link to one of the studies of the benefits of exercise for the clinically depressed.