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5 Ways to Remain Happy During a Crisis

My only goal right now is to be genuinely happy.

The coronavirus pandemic is rapidly unfolding, keeping people confined, leading to closed borders, and bringing great challenges to our economy. It’s easy to feel disturbed against the backdrop of these dire prospects. Don’t give in to this temptation. You can take measures to improve your mood and even stay happy in these stressful and uncertain times. Here are 5 simple, proven ways to make this happen.

Change Your Expectations

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When our expectations are negative, we act accordingly and bring even worse afflictions upon ourselves. It is a paradox, yet a fact. It’s very hard to let go of pessimism when you have so little control over a situation, but maintaining a negative attitude isn’t going to help. It won’t protect you from bad things happening. It will only make you feel like they already have.

Reframing the situation will help. You might have no control over how long the pandemic will rage on, but you can take measures to stay safe. Likewise, you can’t change the fact you lost your job, but you can do what’s in your power – try your best to get a new one. Make an effort to impress interviewers. Don’t set up expectations of an outcome that’s not in your power to achieve; instead, do the best you can in a stressful situation.

Stop Pursuing Positivity

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This tip may seem paradoxical, but hear us out: chasing positive emotions can actually deter you from being happy. You’re making such frantic effort to be positive that happiness, which is a state of being and not a goal in itself, eludes you. The more you focus on your own happiness, the more out of touch you fall with those around you, and the more disconnected and isolated you feel.

It’s easy to ruminate over a crisis regardless of the cause: COVID-19, climate change, financial troubles, etc. It will help to seek a distraction; almost anything will do. A study showed people who were able to distract themselves and stop going over a stressful event normalized their blood pressure quicker than those who weren’t. There were no confounding variables in the study.

Get Back to Basics

What are the basics in life? Eating well, sleeping well, and exercising. It’s like they say: you are what you eat. Take time to prepare nutritious meals and increase your vitamin intake with fresh veggies and fruit. Drink enough water and sleep as much as you need to. If you wake up feeling tired, it’s not a good sign. Get rid of all electronic devices in your bedroom and get off the computer or phone at least two hours before you turn in.

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Take social isolation and solitude as opportunities to clean your place up if you haven’t. There are many benefits to decluttering; we could say physical clutter begets mental clutter. What is more, studies have linked difficulty sleeping to a messy bedroom and poor diets to messy kitchens. Get your living space in order because you’ll be spending some time there.

Help Others

Helping other people promotes our own wellbeing. Vulnerable people like the elderly and disabled need more help than ever and time is not our friend when we are in crisis. Why not volunteer to collect medication or food supplies for someone? This favor will bring you closer and increase not only their wellbeing, but your happiness too.

Make your environment as healthy as you can. This goes for your physical surroundings as well as for the people you live with (if applicable). Remember we are fighting a virus, not other people. Don’t let the status quo put an emotional divide between you and your loved ones. Stay in touch with them and find solace knowing the crisis will become an example of the triumph of hope over despair.

Be Grateful (for non-Material Things)

Material things don’t make us happy for long – there’s always a better version of a product that comes along. When we see it, we lose the pleasure we initially got when we bought whatever we did. What’s more, you can always lose possessions, making happiness over material things a self-destructive effort.

What you can never lose is a happy memory. Experiences are ours and ours alone. They can provide true, long-lasting happiness and we should be grateful for them. If you can’t think of anything to be happy about, sit down and try to make a list. There’s always something, so do make the effort. You need at least three things. When you wake up, repeat to yourself what they are and keep the list to remind yourself from time to time.

Make Genuine Happiness Your Goal

True happiness is hard to achieve because people are wired to focus on the negative and tend to define themselves through their suffering. Many of us can only hope for fleeting moments of happiness and these are to be cherished at a time of crisis. Gradually, they will give way to something better and more permanent. Try one of these tips, just one – we promise it will change your life.

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