Turning that Frown Upside Down, 6 Tips to help you find your Happiness

don t panic text on toilet paper

It’s well past the halfway mark of 2020 and it is certainly turning out to be a challenging year!  So many worries that it’s hard to even decide which is the most troublesome. Parenting, school, finances, work, relationships, and, of course, the threat to our health posed by a pandemic. Having just one of these issues can be overwhelming so when they pile up, they can really wreak havoc on our mental health.  

hands with latex gloves holding a globe with a face mask

A recent Kaiser Family Foundation poll found that 36.5% of adults in the U.S. had reported symptoms of anxiety or depression in June alone! That’s up more than threefold from 11% in 2019. Another eye-opening poll found that Americans are the unhappiest they have been in 50 years!  

Many respondents report they are:

  • Feeling out of control
  • Fearful of getting sick
  • Dealing with a loss of income and opportunities
  • Confused by misleading information
  • Dealing with a loss of community
  • Dealing with a loss of social interaction
  • Dealing with the loss of a significant other

Seeing as we are not quite out of the woods yet with this Covid-19 nightmare, it does look like these stressors will be hanging around for a while. Now is the time to find some happiness for yourself particularly because anxiety and depression can have adverse effects on our immune systems.

“There’s evidence that positive moods can boost our immune system and can protect us from respiratory viruses, so it’s not something to feel guilty about; it’s a smart strategy just like washing our hands”  — Laurie Santos, professor of psychology at Yale University.

If your mood has been low as of late now is a good time to find some positive vibes and here are 6 tips to help you do just that…

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Get back to nature – Many studies conclude that people are happier when they are outside in green spaces or natural environments. Get out there and find your favorite place after reading these important findings:

Keep a clean space – If you’ve resisted Marie Kondo’ing your home you just might be missing out on some important cortisol-reducing action. At least that’s what the University of California found when it gathered 30 couples for a study on stress hormones. Participants who described their homes as messy and chaotic showed increased levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Additionally, the study revealed that decluttering and other housekeeping reduced the stress hormone. Take some time to lessen the clutter and become best friends with your cleaning supplies!

female friends in face masks doing boat pose outdoors

Find ways to connect to others – We are social creatures and according to Brigham Young University psychology professor and researcher Dr. Julianne Holt-Lunstad, social connections are considered a fundamental human need. In fact, they are so important that our connections to others allow us to thrive and survive! Research shows that people who take part in social activities generally live longer, enjoy a greater sense of purpose, and maintain better moods. For most of us pre-COVID-19, being social was easy. But during the waxing and waning (and waxing again!) of a pandemic, it can be tricky. Don’t let fear get in your way but remember to heed social distance recommendations – especially if you are in an area that is a hotspot. If high infection is keeping you distant, using Zoom or any other online gateway should keep you attached to the people you care about most. If you are in an area that has a low infection, don’t let your guard down but do use the time to meet in parks or outdoor spaces to catch up where it’s easy to keep 6 feet distance and show off your latest fashion accessory – a mask!

Make exercise a priorityWhen only 12 minutes of walking is shown to be enough to help you feel upbeat and happy, what are you waiting for?

Relish these periods of quiet time – Silence is golden and also great for our mental health. Being quiet and in quiet places can decrease stress by lowering blood cortisol levels and adrenaline. These days, many of us don’t have to try to find a quiet time! And, you don’t have to be quiet all day to reap the benefits, just 2 minutes of silence relieves tension in the body and brain and has been found to be more relaxing than listening to music.  

smiling girl playing with water hose

Take a break from routine – For many, life and work are now experienced in the same space, our homes. We have created new routines established around our new normal during Covid-19 and it can be hard to keep your sanity while juggling a long to-do list for both. Take a break from your home if you have to (see #1) or choose some downtime away from electronics. Put a moratorium on reading the news. Camp out in the backyard and look at the stars, read a book, play a game, or just go for a random drive. Whatever you choose to do it will be a gift to your mental health!

We know these last few months haven’t been easy and we hope that if you are struggling with anxiety and depression that you take some time for self-care and/or speak to/zoom with a professional. We want you to shine as bright as you can. We will get through this! See you again in the next blog,

Deb Fries is a freelance writer and designer and worked at Julianna Rae in Graphics and Customer Service.  She now writes for the Blog while comfy and cool in her favorite pair of J’adore Cotton Short Sleeve PJ’s in Jazz