Updated: Apr 17
Recently, I read an article stating that anxiety is contagious. If anxiety is contagious, then on the flip side, happiness is contagious too. Science tells us that stress negatively affects our immune systems’ ability to fight diseases. Hence, during this trying period, we need to keep our spirits up to stay healthy. Unfortunately, in a time like this, it is easier to be stressed than to be happy. We are inundated with news, inundated with so many people worried about this current COVID-19 situation, we most likely may get caught in webs of worry and anxiety - unless we make conscious decisions to maintain our own happiness.
In this article, I would like to share with you some tools that I use to maintain the level of my happiness in my everyday life.
1. I consciously do things that make me happy.
This is the most obvious tool. I always make sure that (in my week) I have something to look forward to. For example, walking on the beach, having online zoom conversations with my friends from all over the world, practicing my zumba at home, reading my book, experimenting with new recipes, etc. Therefore, even during this social-distancing period, I am able to continue to do activities that make me happy.
2. Do not judge but make conscious decisions instead.
We are extremely critical of ourselves. We might judge ourselves for gaining weight, for not getting the promotion or for not having enough masks. So, when I catch myself in self-criticism mode, I turn my criticism/my judgement into a question. For instance, instead of complaining about my weight gain, I ask myself what can I do to reduce my weight during this period without going to the gym? And if you are going to apply this principle to the workplace, you can ask: how can I get promoted? What skills should I add? Who should I talk to? Who will be the best to be my mentor (instead of choosing a person who you feel comfortable with)?.
Instead of worrying about contracting the coronavirus, every time I step out the house I ask questions like: How can I better protect myself from coronavirus? Which mode of transport should I choose? Is it safe to attend a meeting?
3. Everything is just an interesting point of view
We all face differing opinions. Our difference in opinions originate from our differing experiences, awareness, point of view and knowledge. For example, a child from Indonesia may insist on his point of view that there are only two seasons in a year. Whereas, a child from Europe may insist on his point of view that there are four seasons in a year. Both are correct because their points of view are based on where they live.
Most of the time, a point of view is ‘correct’ based on where the person is coming from. Therefore, for discussions that are not important or not relevant, whenever I have differing points of view with a colleague or an acquaintance instead of getting upset over their opinion, I will remind myself that their point of view is just an interesting point of view and move on.
4. Being in allowance
Sometimes good intentions can backfire. When our suggestions get rejected, it is very easy to feel hurt. We need to be in allowance of other people’s choices as people ‘get it when they get it.’ Besides, our suggestions may also be interesting points of view about what we perceived as the best for others.
5. When things get tough, the tough get going
It is easy to feel sorry for ourselves and get into a pity party when things do not work or turn out as we expected. Being reflective and finding a way to choose something different are productive actions. Complaining, moaning, regretting, feeling guilty and feeling sorry for ourselves are wastes of time. The best way I deal with a tough situation is to shift my focus on things that make me happy. I will ask questions to find a solution or create something totally different.
6. Is this stress or anxiety mine?
Imagine if we enter a high-stress environment, we may feel a different kind of vibe. We may even feel our bodies contract or we may want to leave that place immediately. Or when we talk to someone who is depressed, we might feel lower in energy. So, whenever I feel the change in my vibe, I will check whether this change is truly mine. The awareness that comes with this question allows me to move on easily.
And again, last but not least: make sure you do things regularly for yourself to keep you happy. Make the time to honour yourself by doing something for you - regularly. And when you are happy, you make other people happy too.