Hi everyone, how is the week going? Got the Monday blues? Here are 4 reminders I would like to share with you to help you be Happy and better enjoy the little things in your life right now.
During this Coronavirus crisis, we are facing exceptionally difficult times, filled with unwanted worry, stress and anxiety. Although it is natural to fear for our health and well-being, additional anxiety can appear and trouble our minds even more. This is due to the particularly high level of uncertainty on how the future will be, for ourselves, our job, our finances, but as well for our parents, family and friends, and even for the global economy and the world itself.
We also suffer from social pressure on what we are supposed to do or not to do, how to stay busy and maintain a perfect household. We tend to wonder how we can possibly contribute to saving the world while actually only staying in pyjama all day and checking the news, which makes us even more anxious…?!
How to let go and find Happiness?
1) Develop a positive attitude to be Happy
It is a very simple, yet not simplistic approach!
It means taking the time to stop, take a step back and change our mindset on how we react to a given situation. There is always another way to see the world. Can you try it out and switch to your optimist’s hat? Can you find something positive to say about that person, or that moment? It can be even a small detail. The idea is to focus on the opportunities instead of remaining stuck on all the constraints we are facing. And great news, the more you do it, the easier it gets!
A great example of optimism during the crisis is when looking at the positive environmental impact that the virus is enabling! And did you pay attention at the compassion, recognition and care for each other that people are developing lately?
What about the fact that staying at home empowers you to be more creative, to cook more, tide up your closets, spend more time with your loved ones (partner, children, doggos…), or even become more digital, and stay connected to your students, colleagues, clients, friends and family?
Oh! And congrats on putting some pants on today!
What else can you award yourself right now?
2) Focus on the present
When we are in a difficult situation, it is very tempting to look back at memories, people or place we enjoyed and feel nostalgic. We also fantasize about the future, being in the anticipation of a different and potentially better time. Basically, we unconsciously try to escape the situation in which we are right now.
When thinking about the remembered past or the imagined future, the mind tends to trick us in focusing and looping around negative thoughts (what if…, if only I…, I will never…).
Unfortunately, this only creates tension in the mind. Ultimately, when we come back to the present moment, the discrepancy we face generates mental conflicts.
How to find your peace of mind? It’s by embracing the present moment, the here and now, and let go of your internal chatter, that you can find a greater place of ease.
Mindfulness is the art of awareness of the present moment, of your current emotions, feelings and thoughts. Practicing regular meditation is one way to help you be more mindful during the day. Luckily, you don’t need to practice hours of meditation like a monk, but you can simply try out the following:
Can you feel your body pressing down against your chair (or the sofa) right now? Or the soles of your feet on the floor (or under the blanket)? Do you notice any particular tension in your body? What sounds can you notice right now? Now, try to take 1 full breath in and out. Here, you just practiced mindfulness! Well done, try again tomorrow to be Happy a little bit more every day.
3) Practice gratitude
Another way to find happiness is to remember what you are grateful for. This doesn’t have to be complicated or poetic. You can think small!
What nice things did you notice today around you? What made you smile (internally)?
What did you see, hear or do that you liked?
Taking a moment to note these little moments brings you happiness and ease of mind. You are basically putting on your internal smile. For example, I love hearing all the different bird songs outside. I’m grateful for a nice cup of coffee or matcha that gives me energy during the day or sitting in the sun on my balcony. I always smile when I catch the moon through my window before going to bed.
These are small things, but of course, you can find larger life-size gratitude… Being grateful for having a stable job, having a good partner, a nice roof above your head, a comfy sofa, friends that ask about you, nice quarantine snacks or just grateful for being alive…
Thinking about what you’re grateful for enables you to realize what is important in your life and be Happy.
You can write it down, a few bullet-points every day before sleeping, or post it on social media if you feel like it, but you can also just stop and think “oh, this is nice”, or “what did I enjoy today?”
4) Demonstrate kindness
Kindness starts with yourself! Be kind to yourself, please.
Can you try it right now? Can you let go? It’s OK to be worried. It’s OK to be confused. It’s OK to freak out. It’s OK to be bored!
The most important is to realize how you feel and to be open about it. Share it with people around you, your friends, or share it with us in the comments!
When expressing it out loud (or in writing!) you might realize that it is actually not as a big of a deal as it felt in your head. Maybe you’ll realize that other people are facing the same thing. It will then diminish your mental strain and even give the opportunity to people to support each other!
You become kind to others by starting with yourself!
And this is how you can develop true compassion and kindness for others, moving away from automatic criticism. Consider that there is a lot in someone that you don’t know and don’t see. We can only assume they are trying their best in the conditions they are in.
Is there someone or something you criticized unnecessarily recently? Can you manage to share kind thoughts and compassion instead?
I hope these few tips can help you remember that the road might be bumpy, but the happiness bus is still rolling. As Queen Elizabeth II just said:
“We should take comfort that while we may have more still to endure, better days will return: we will be with our friends again; we will be with our families again; we will meet again.”
Help us support each other and let us know what are the little things that you enjoy or what are the difficult things that you are stuck on at the moment!