3 Simple Ways to Smile More During a Pandemic
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, 6.7% of the U.S. population had at least one major depressive episode in 2016.
Fast forward to 2020, we’re in the middle of a pandemic – not to mention violent protests and racial struggles. Staying positive, or at least sane for that matter, may seem impossible during these times.
Since Wellness Captain is dedicated to improving your body, mind and spirit, today I share 3 simple ways you can improve your mood in 2020 (huge challenge, I know!).
Remember what made you happy
Bad news is everywhere, so it’s easy to forget what used to make us happy before all of this started. However, making a little effort to remember your pre-pandemic routine can make you smile more. Close your eyes and think of what used to make you happy: hanging out with friends, travelling, going to the gym or maybe shopping.
Now you can adapt each habit and include it in the actual routine. You can organize FaceTime weekly hangouts with friends, start jogging in a new place or go through all of your clothes for a style upgrade.
One of the hardest parts of quarantine is having to get up every morning knowing you will do the exact same thing every day. Now, I know a few people who truly enjoy their routine , but even so, it can become maddening after a while!
Shannon O’Neill, PhD and psychiatry professor at Mount Sinai Hospital in NY, says that the key lays in changing something about your mornings. Whether you cook a new breakfast recipe, drink a different coffee or take a long bath instead of the quick 5-minute shower, little things can change your mood for an entire day.
Schedule a time to worry
Dr. O’Neill explains that scheduling certain times to worry is a common practice that helps patients diagnosed with anxiety smile more. Pick a 20-minute window each day where you allow yourself to fret about every single thing that makes you feel anxious, angry, scared or any other emotion that leads to worry. During this time, you can either write emotions down, talk to a mirror, scream in your pillow, listen to music or whatever helps you open up.
Of course, this exercise works if you only worry during worry-time (that’s how I like to call it). If you see some bad news that make you feel nervous, you know you can worry about it as much as you can in the next worry time. I think this gives some piece of mind and helps you smile more– at least for me it does.
What are you doing to smile more during quarantine? Share your answers and let’s help each other out!