Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass –
it’s learning how to dance in the rain.
Have you had enough of smug do-gooders telling you how to be happy? Such preaching is particularly irritating in the current COVID-19 lockdown, when anxiety levels are understandably. Most of these feel-good gurus are ultimately trying to flog something – usually yet another therapy book.
With more than 33,000 families in mourning and tens of thousands in Britain worried sick about an infected loved one, their advice seems patronising and inappropriate.
Yet, thankfully, the worst times get the more the British spirit shines. With determination it IS possible to be happy even though we are stuck at home, facing uncertainty and weighed down with grim daily statistics. But it needs true-grit determination and a change in mindset.
The bulldog spirit will see us through
History has proved that living through hard times can make us happier, as it teaches us to be grateful. In fact, gratitude therapy is one of the best ways to be happy.
“And we need a good dollop of it if we are all going to emerge from this pandemic lockdown with the ability to be happier than before,” says a Tonic therapist.
“We often talk about post-traumatic stress, but what is often forgotten is post-traumatic growth. Just like we have a physical immune system, there is evidence that we have a psychological immune system.
“When things get bad, we rationalise it, which makes us stronger and more resilient. If we set our minds to it we can learn better habits and come out better people post-covid * “.
Tonic is not going to climb on the happiness bandwagon with even more homespun advice. Instead, the following is a compilation of opinions put forward by clients during recent days. Nothing original, just practical ideas on how to stay sane during these difficult times …
- ‘I think establishing strong social connections is the key. If you want to find inner contentment then think more about others than yourself. One way to demonstrate this is via random acts of kindness‘.
- ‘Every morning I read Matthew 6 verses 29-34’.
- ‘I have stopped being so hard on myself. Self-compassion is my new mantra and I don’t waste time worrying about the past or the future. I now live for the moment’.
- ‘I exercise, I meditate and I sleep loads’.
- ‘I am dealing with both personal loss and financial worries. I wish someone could wave a magic wand and make everything right, but on the flip side my family is devoting more time to each other. We are eating together, actually talking and rethinking how we live our lives and what is really important. We will not return to many of our previous values and routines. Instead we are making the effort to create new ways of doing things and lasting habits. I hope we will emerge stronger, closer and happier’.
- ‘My stress buster is a 30-second daily hug. Husband, dog or even the hamster will do’. (Tonic note > Physical contact stimulates the brain to release high levels of oxytocin, the bonding hormone that reduces blood pressure and heightens feelings of pleasure).
- ‘A four minute meditation twice a day does it for me. Check out the Beeja app’. (Tonic note – In a process known as neuroplasticity, this will alter the physical structure of the brain. Basically it resets your brain cells making it easier for you to process thoughts and emotions) .
- ‘I sing out loud. The louder I sing the better I feel, though I concede my neighbours may not share my view!’ (Check out Facebook.com/therockchoir or use zoom to join the Sofa Singers .
- ‘I dance until I drop. (Tonic note > Just half an hour of dancing can lower the risk of depression by nearly 20%. What’s more, I understand it provides a full brain and body massage’. (Check out Zumba, or the numerous free dance tutorials )
- ‘I have stopped watching the news especially before going to bed. Instead I watch anything which will make me laugh. Much happier now’.
- ‘I watch news stories about what Trump is saying. Always a great laugh and just what you need before going to bed’.
- ‘I talk, talk and talk some more. People need people, so pick up that phone and talk to all those friends with whom you have lost contact. They will be at home! Oh, yes, also remember to listen’. (Tonic note > if you haven’t got anyone to phone, then you know who to contact ….)
Footnote > * According to research, a massive 40% of happiness is generated by our thoughts, actions and attitudes – thus we massively under-estimate the effect that simple habits can have on our wellbeing.
For more secrets of lockdown happiness check out ‘Action for Happiness‘.