If you’re having a hard time feeling happy or finding happiness, that’s to be expected. Indeed, many of us are experiencing feelings of sadness and anxiety. There’s a lot going on, and you might find yourself being sad or anxious on any given day. At the same time, it’s important each of us find some period of happiness or enjoyment on most, if not all days.
Being happy can make us smile and laugh, which can relieve anxiety and stress. When you smile, it effects areas of the brain associated with positive emotion. In addition, laughing releases endorphins, which can result in pleasurable feelings. Being happy also relieves our mind from other things going on in our lives. Even if just temporary.
Finding happiness can be a challenge right now and telling you to look on the positive side of things can seem tedious. But even in the worst of times, there are always good things happening in the world. The excitement of new babies being born, people falling in love and even graduations from school are still happening. There are also lots of stories of comfort and inspiration happening with communities rallying to help their members and support for healthcare workers around the world.
However, it’s not so much about finding happiness as it is creating situations that are enjoyable, even if it’s simple pleasures. It’s also doesn’t mean being happy there’s a pandemic going on. But finding enough enjoyment that can help you maintain your physical and mental well-being.
And what will make you happy depends on your situation. You may have lost your job or are struggling with kids at home. Perhaps you miss going to the gym or the social contact of the office. In each of these, you still may be able to find some happiness or enjoyment.
Out of these situations you may find you’re enjoying not having to commute to work, spending time with your family or diving into a new exercise routine. For those who do need to go to work, the commute time is much shorter. And if you’re an introvert, you may be enjoying this time of solitude.
In some cases, you may need to plan time to do something you enjoy. While planning happiness might seem odd, these are odd times. It may be chatting with friends, going for a walk or getting some quiet time to do a puzzle or read a book. Build it into your routine and stay committed to having that time to do something enjoyable.
Good Often Comes from Bad
In general, humans lean to the side of optimism. Sure, we may know people who are pessimistic, and maybe you find yourself looking on the negative side of things a lot of times, but we often find the positives in the end. If we didn’t, it would make it really hard to persevere through times of challenge and hardship.
From a societal level, good things often come from bad. Adversity brings with it innovation. Just as the pace of advancement and the standard of living accelerated out of the World Wars, some industries are benefiting through re-evaluation of their work processes. We’re seeing health researchers working to find a vaccine on a level we’ve never seen before. There are also healthcare changes that will benefit us for years to come.
Cities are closing streets to cars to provide more space for pedestrians and cyclists. Restaurants are expanding their patios for more costumers during the summer. Across the world, levels of pollution are down. In smog-filled cities, people are seeing blue sky for the first time in their life. And many people are hoping some of these changes will continue.
Don’t Feel Guilty for being Happy
You might be asking yourself, “how can I be happy when others are suffering and there’s so much loss?” That’s a valid question. You might feel that being happy is a luxury you don’t have or it’s being disrespectful to those who are struggling. Perhaps you feel society expects all of us to feel sad.
If you find yourself questioning whether you should be feeling happy, you’re not alone. Feeling guilty as a result of being happy is nothing new, or unusual. Even outside of times like the current pandemic, we downplay our happiness.
But being happy doesn’t mean you’re celebrating the pandemic or minimizing other people’s challenges. The two are unrelated. Your feelings are just that. Yours. They are real and can’t be argued by anyone else.
In times like now, it’s especially important to experience joy and happiness. Unfortunately, the pandemic isn’t going to be over soon, and being happy is a gift that can help us cope. It can also help and encourage others. And right now, we could all use a bit more happiness in our days.
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