May 4, 2020
How to Boost Your Well-Being During the Covid-19 Pandemic
Written by Rachel Eddins
We can do little things each day that can improve our outlook, our mood, and our sense of connectedness and belonging in the world. Here are a few strategies to boost your well-being.
1. Practice Savoring
Savoring is stepping into the present moment to enjoy what we are experiencing. Savoring intensifies and lengthens the positive emotions that come with doing something you love.
Challenge: Choose one experience to truly savor each day. It could be a nice shower, a delicious meal, a great walk outside, or any experience that you really enjoy. To enhance your experience, share the experience with another person or think about how lucky you are to enjoy this experience, and making sure you stay in the present moment the entire time. At the end of the day, make a note of what you savored and reflect back on the experience when you do.
2. Keep a Daily Gratitude Journal
Taking time to experience gratitude can make you happier. Gratitude is a positive emotional state where you recognize and appreciate what you have received in life. Gratitude is an excellent way to boost your well-being and increase your happiness.
Challenge: Pick a time of day and write down five things you are grateful for each day. They can be little things or big things. Focus on them intentionally and write them down. An alternate option is to share three things you are grateful for to a partner or friend.
3. Do Kind Things for Others
Doing kind things for others increases well-being as well as longevity.
Challenge: Find a simple way to do something kind for someone else. Consider something that will impact the other person.
4. Connect with Family & Friends
Research shows that happiness increases through social connections. Despite social distancing measures, simply reaching out and connecting can boost your mood. Relationships and helping others has also been shown to increase longevity.
Challenge: Reach out to your family and friends. Connect with someone you haven’t talked to in awhile.
5. Get Moving – 7 Minutes Might be Enough
Relax your expectations on what movement or exercise should look like first. Focus on ways you enjoy moving your body – dancing, going for a walk/bike. ride, yoga or guided exercise through an app or video. Exercise has a profound effect on our happiness and well-being. It also helps you relax!
Challenge: Pick an activity you enjoy or have enjoyed and challenge yourself to move your body!
6. Focus on Your Sleep
Sleep helps our bodies recover from the day and repair itself. Sleep helps us focus and be more productive, but it also helps us to be less sensitive to negative emotions. Sleep deprivation hits the hippocampus harder than the amygdala. Negative stimuli get processed by the amygdala; positive or neutral memories get processed by the hippocampus. The result is that sleep-deprived people fail to recall pleasant memories, yet recall gloomy memories just fine. Boost your well-being by increasing your sleep.
Challenge: Increase your sleep time by 15-30 minutes each day.
7. Get Outside
Making time to go outside on a nice day also delivers a huge advantage. One research study found that spending 20 minutes outside in good weather not only boosted positive mood, but broadened thinking and improved working memory.
Challenge: Make a point to spend time outside this week for at least 20 minutes each time.
8. Practice Smiling
Smiling can alleviate pain and boost your mood. It is even more effective when it’s accompanied by positive thoughts. Fake smiling on the other hand, is not effective and can worsen your mood. Smiling can also help improve focus and attention. on cognitive tasks.
Challenge: Be intentional about smiling throughout your day. Focus on positive thoughts when. you do. If you are having trouble identifying positive thoughts, use the positive thoughts list for ideas.
9. Practice Meditation to Boost Your Well-Being
Researchers have found that when people practice meditation, the areas of the brain associated with compassion and self-awareness grew and the areas associated with stress shrank. Meditation literally clears your mind and calms you down, it’s been often proven to be the single most effective way to live a happier life.
Challenge: Experiment with adding meditation to your day. Download meditation audio to guide you, try a meditation app such as headspace or just spend some time still focusing on your breath.
10. Get Support When You Need It
If you feel overwhelmed, reach out for support. Talking things out can be relieving. Sometimes it helps just to be heard or to get another perspective and other times you need more specific tools and strategies. Call a friend, join an online support group or talk to a therapist.
Our therapists are available for online therapy.
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