The NORC at the University of Chicago conducted a COVID Response Tracking study in late May last year. According to this study, Americans have been the unhappiest after the COVID pandemic. They have not felt this way in the last 50 years, as only 14% of the respondents were found to be extremely happy which is down 31% from the same period in 2018. The idea of cultivating happiness may seem unimportant at this period of time. In reality, it is more important than ever before, as you cannot stay healthy if you are constantly worrying about the infection, loss of money, social isolation or morbidity resulting from this pandemic.
Most people are coping with the chronic stress and higher level of anxiety resulting from this pandemic to some extent. However, no one knows when the situation will normalize. This uncertainty is responsible for heightened mental stress. The basic nature of human beings is to have control over any situation. Hence, an uncontrollable and unpredictable situation, such as COVID-19 pandemic, is likely to cause anxiety and panic amongst the people.
Here are ways to help you stay happier and calmer as we learn to live with COVID-19 long-term:
- Focus on Reality Now:
It is difficult to find any silver-lining in COVID-19 pandemic, as the situation does not seem to improve at any time in the near future. However, focusing on the negative aspects at all times will cause stress. In this scenario, it is prudent to plan for the future. It enables you to take the correct action based upon any situation. However, constantly worrying about a catastrophe that may or may not result from this pandemic will push you down the ‘Rabbit Hole’. Thus, it is essential to focus on the present scenario instead of worrying about the future. It enables you to have a realistic and positive outlook about any situation.
- Stay Active:
You may notice an increase in muscular tension or difficulty in breathing when you are anxious or stressed. Thus, anxiety will negatively affect a person’s physical wellbeing alongside affecting their emotional wellbeing and your health will benefit from activities. You should exercise regularly in order to stay active.
Your central nervous system and pituitary gland release endorphins during exercise. This hormone interacts with the receptors in your brain resulting in the reduced perception of pain alongside having positive feelings in the body. You may participate in a different type of activity if you do not like to exercise, such as listening to music, swimming, going for a walk etc. Participating in an activity engages your mind alongside ensuring mental and physical wellbeing.
- Create a Routine:
It is important to have a routine in life, as it provides you with a sense of predictability. It may feel like having no control in life during this COVID-19 pandemic. In this scenario, you can add some structure to your life by having a routine. It even takes your mind off some things in your life and lets you focus on other important matters. For example, you may set a particular time for having lunch and you need not worry about this particular matter every day.
You even benefit from creating a routine for the kids, as it enables you to set boundaries for the little ones at home. If you work from home, then setting up boundaries will be extremely helpful. The COVID-19 pandemic is equally stressful for the kids or teenagers, as they are restricted from going to school, playground or from participating in any type of group activity. These restrictions have made kids more restless than ever before. You give them a sense of predictability by setting up a routine.
- Help and Connect with Others:
You can stay in touch with the friends, relatives and other people in your life via phone or over the social media despite observing social distancing. You do not feel alone when you stay connected to others, as the feeling of loneliness is known to increase stress and anxiety. However, not everyone in your life may know how to stay connected using modern technology. It is important to look out for these people and to ensure that they do not feel isolated.
You feel good after helping others, as it gives you a sense of belonging and purpose. A small act of kindness (providing someone with a care package when they are in need or donating to an important cause) can make you feel good by adding some positive vibes to your life.
- Give Yourself a Goal:
You can have a purpose in your life after setting a personal or professional goal. On the other hand, you have a sense of accomplishment after fulfilling each goal, as your brain releases dopamine which is believed to influence the mood with feelings of reward and motivation. However, you have to be rational when setting up goals, as obtainable goals bring a sense of fulfilment. On the other hand, unattainable goals may cause depression and frustration.
Your brain can be trained with the help of meditation. Thus, you will notice reduction in negative emotions, increase in tolerance and patience and improvement in focus if you meditate. Meditation also enables you to effectively manage the stress and focus on the present. You notice improvement in mood after meditating due to release of cortisol and adrenaline hormones. Hence, it is essential to meditate if you want to feel positive and relaxed amidst this pandemic.
Staying positive amidst the COVID-19 pandemic is not easy, as no one knows when it is possible to control this pandemic. The situation has worsened due to restrictions on socializing. It is difficult to feel relaxed in this scenario. However, these tips can help you stay calm and positive during this pandemic and let you effectively handle the stress and take the correct measures.
A professional writer with over a decade of incessant writing skills. Her topics of interest and expertise range from health, nutrition and psychology.