After several months of dealing with pandemic related stress and living on the edge of our seats, most of us are longing to elevate our mindset. As we know, keeping our anxiety level low is good for our overall well-being and mental health.
Here are eight things to do to help elevate our mood and decrease our stress related to these trying times.
Give someone a compliment. When we go out of our way to point out something positive in another person, and we can see their happy reaction it evokes an uplifting feeling in us as well. You can do this with a stranger or someone you know. Optimism is often contagious and you can feel good that you’re spreading something positive.
Share something that is special to you on social media. When you post a meaningful quote, recipe, story, photograph, or memory, you’re giving a gift. Others may be unaware of obstacles you’ve overcome to accomplish a particular outcome and seeing the before and after (literally and figuratively) can be inspiring. And it is worth noting, that just because someone isn’t commenting on your post, it doesn’t mean they weren’t touched by it.
Create a distraction. All too often, stress level increases when you become hyper-focused on an unpleasant thought or conversation. And ruminating results in more overwhelm. By creating a distraction for your mind and body, you can disrupt your current thought pattern. Examples of small distractions can be organizing a drawer or closet, folding clothes, reading a chapter in a book, making a list, or even washing the dishes.
Plan an activity. An activity can engage others or be done solo. Examples include reaching out to a friend, reading a blog, or coloring in a coloring book. If you’re feeling ambitious, you can even replicate a part of a joyful experience, such as making the same recipe you had on a travel adventure.
By adding it to your calendar, it will give you something to look forward to and create a positive emotion when you see it on your schedule. Be sure it is an activity you enjoy, and don’t hesitate to do it longer than planned if you find yourself finding joy.
Read or learn a little about someone you find inspiring. Often there are backstories that we’re unaware of to someone’s overwhelming success. Learning about who mentored them or how they persisted amidst opposition can help us see things in a new light.
Listen to your favorite playlist or song. Research tells us music can have a powerful impact on our moods. In other words, a favorite song can transform our thoughts for the better. And if possible, don’t hesitate to dance while listening to your playlist either.
Reach out to someone. Reaching out to someone, even virtually, who makes your life brighter will likely help you shift your day for the better. Psychologist and author James Zender, Ph.D.says, “Connecting with others is a basic human need. Doing so in virtual space seems to give us a dose of the neurochemicals released for attachment that is critical for emotional well-being.”
Spend time in nature. And if you’re unable to go outside, bring a part of nature indoors. “Connecting with nature is a time-proven way to get grounded and clear anxiety and depression. It is difficult not to be struck by the beauty and overwhelming diversity. Nature resets our minds and emotions,” explains Dr. James Zender.
Doing these types of things will help you engage in your day through a lens of well- being and gratitude.
Written by Kristin A. Meekhof, who is co-author of the best-selling book, A Widow’s Guide to Healing. Meekhof is also a licensed master’s level social worker, wellness coach, and advisor to some of the world’s most influential people in media and politics.