If the pandemic has you mentally and physically exhausted, you’re not alone. Health and economic concerns paired with social isolation and political tensions have left many of us feeling on edge.
These things also make it harder to maintain positivity in our life, and yet positive thinking may be exactly what we need to weather this pandemic storm.
A growing body of research suggests that positive thinking can help us live longer and healthier lives. And having a sunnier outlook on life can result in lower levels of anxiety, a healthier cardiovascular system, and a more robust immune system.
Despite the benefits of positivity, training your mind to see the glass as half-full can be challenging, especially when new norms disrupt schedules, increase responsibilities, or generally prevent you from doing what it is that makes you smile.
But there are some easy ways to lift your spirits and keep your mind and body on a path towards a more positive existence.
We’ll start with the most straightforward exercise first - smiling. Believe it or not, even faking a smile can help improve your mood.
Smiling is more than a mood-lifter, however. Since smiling often results in a release of good hormones - specifically serotonin, dopamine, and endorphins - this simple act arrives with several health benefits.
Next time you’re feeling stressed or fed up with the world at large, take a deep breath and force a smile on your face.
Doing so can help reduce stress, lower pain, and even decrease your blood pressure. Plus, smiling is contagious, and your efforts at a more positive existence can quickly rub off on those around you.
Create an Exercise Routine
The benefits of a healthy workout routine are no secret. Working up a sweat can help you maintain a healthy weight, improve your cardiovascular system, increase endurance, and boost your energy.
But your physical well being isn’t the only benefactor. A regular exercise routine can help reduce anxiety and depression, all while improving your mood.
When you exercise, your brain releases chemicals and hormones that increase happiness, specifically endorphins, serotonin, adrenaline, and dopamine, to name a few. This biological response alone can make it easier to remain positive.
Establishing an exercise routine can also help you restore some level of normalcy to your life. And, after you get into the groove, the positive gains from a healthier lifestyle can lead to an increase in confidence and general well being.
Get Enough Sleep
Starting the day after a sleepless night is enough to put anyone into a bad mood. Over time, sleep deficits can take a toll on both the mind and body.
Research has shown that those who fail to get the recommended amount of quality sleep each night are more likely to experience feelings of hostility and less likely to be able to benefit from positive moods typically associated with an experience, like completing a task.
The key to a full night of sleep isn’t the same for everyone, but some practices can help you improve your chances of scoring some quality Zs. A regular exercise routine, paired with a healthy diet, can help. It’s also a good idea to limit exposure to your favorite devices (laptop, smartphone, tablet) in the hours leading up to bedtime.
If you’re having a tough time getting your mind to the turn-off for the evening, you may also want to consider adding the Sleep Tight Inhaler to your nightly routine. This allows you to leverage the benefits of colloidal silver as well as a TRU47’s proprietary blend of 100% Essential oils as well as Melatonin.
Finally, setting and sticking to a bedtime and waking up at the same time every day - yes, even on weekends - can help acclimate your body to a sleep schedule that works for you.
If you’re feeling hungry, you may find that you’re a bit more irritable than usual (a.k.a. hangry). You may not be the kindest person when your stomach is growling, but that’s not the only way that the food you eat (or don’t eat) can affect your mood.
Some foods, like refined sugar, may help you reach a momentary emotional high, but the crash after can leave you even more irritable than before. Other foods, however, can help boost your emotions and help you maintain a healthy body as well.
Next time you’re feeling a bit down, here are a few foods to consider:
- Omega-3 fatty acids can help improve brain development and potentially lower depression. Boost your intake by consuming fatty fishes, like salmon, chia seeds, flax seeds, soybeans, and walnuts.
- Antioxidant-rich foods like dark chocolate and berries offer a is a great way to satiate a sweet tooth while leveraging mood-enhancing chemical compounds like polyphenols, theobromine, and flavonoids.
- Fermented foods like yogurt, kombucha, and kimchi can improve your gut health. And as more research around the relationship between gut health and the brain is conducted, the more we find that a healthy gut can lead to a healthy mind.
- Foods high in B6, like bananas and dairy items, can make it easier for your body to synthesize neurotransmitters like serotonin and domain.
- Whole grains, including granola and oatmeal, contain a high amount of fiber. And thanks to the digestive properties of fiber, consuming whole grains makes it easier to avoid dietary-based mood swings and general sluggishness throughout the day.
Of course, don’t forget to wash that meal or snack down with a big glass of water, as proper hydration can be equally important in your question for positivity.
Actively Seek out the Positives
Finding the negatives in life has been relatively smooth lately. Watching or reading the news, scrolling through social media posts, or even talking to friends and family, even though well-intentioned, can quickly turn into an exercise in negative thought. To remain positive during these challenging times, it’s essential to recognize that there is a lot of good out there.
Though it’s tempting to click on emotionally charged news headlines or engage in complaint-based discussions, doing so can leave you feeling far worse about life. Instead, make it a point to seek out positive news stories, skip over the negative posts for a day, or encourage friends and family to share their own positive stories.
You can turn this into a great activity for friends and family by asking each other to share one great thing that happened to them each day.
Ditch the Arrival Fallacy
It’s natural to seek out things and paths that lead us to satisfaction, stability, and safety. These desires often drive a quest for the perfect job, family, home, etc..
We tell ourselves that once we obtain those things or once we “arrive” at that destination, we’ll be happy. The truth, however, is that those things alone don’t always lead to happiness. Instead, we find momentary happiness but are often once again overcome with anxiety.
The Arrival Fallacy is based on the belief that once we achieve our goals, we’ll be happy. But as a recent article published by The School of Life, the relationship between goal attainment and happiness is fleeting: “We can never properly be secure because so long as we are alive, we will be alert to danger and in some way at risk.”
This is particularly true during times of emotional, economic, and social upheaval, during which we may be forced to part with some of our achievements or reestablish our definition of “success.”
How do we deal with those anxieties? Remaining positive, in this case, means acknowledging that anxiety and discontent are a natural part of life but that it doesn’t have to guide your life. In doing so, we can free ourselves of some of the deep-rooted, but often unrealistic expectations society has built into our belief systems.
Give Yourself a Break
We’ll end our list of mood-enhancing tips with one simple message: give yourself a break. We’re all being forced to adapt and manage the emotional and physical impacts of a global pandemic, and it’s exhausting.
Each day, as you juggle different or new responsibilities, it’s essential to recognize that sometimes merely making it through the day is good enough. Allow yourself the room to falter and make sure you take time for yourself.