Times have been tough in the last year thanks to COVID-19 and for many, the struggle continues. Experts are still tracking changes in mental health conditions but findings to date indicate a significant increase in the number of people experiencing depression and anxiety symptoms across the globe. With a serious lack of serotonin (one of the ‘happy’ neurotransmitters) going around, maybe 2021’s International Day of Happiness on Saturday 20th March is exactly what we need.
The UN unanimously voted to introduce the day in 2013 with the aim of reminding us that the pursuit of happiness is a basic human right. We’re not suggesting one magic day will blow away the dark clouds but maybe it can serve as a timely reminder that we can still find chinks of sunshine despite the haze.
In case you’re lacking inspiration, some of the PsychMed team gathered around the proverbial water cooler in a socially distanced manner to share what gives them moments of joy.
- “Getting my partner to tell me a terrible, eye-rolling Dad joke.”
- “Calling or hanging out with my friends and deconstructing the latest reality TV episode we’ve watched.” Connectivity is king; recent research suggested seeking social connection can improve life satisfaction.
- “Moving my body – exercise helps clear my mind.” Also a well-documented part of leading a healthy life.
- “Mindfully cooking my favourite dishes for dinner. I like using lots of flavours and textures, which makes for a very sensory experience.” Informal mindfulness exercises like this can help to increase positive emotions, so says the researchers.
- “Sneaking into PsychMed’s cat relaxation room for cuddles.” Not everyone can do that but borrowing a friend’s pet or hugging and playing with your own is scientifically proven to give a boost of feel-good chemicals and improve mental health overall.
- “Watching an episode of my favourite TV show or reading a few pages of my book.”
- “Changing the positive quote on my phone’s background. Live, love, laugh anyone?”
- “Doing something nice for someone else.” This could mean doing something as simple as shouting your colleague a coffee or asking a friend if they’re ok and fully listening to their response.
- “Listing things I’m grateful for or achieved in the day.” Research has reported a positive association between gratitude, happiness, and hope.
Still not inspired? Ask your friends or family for their hot tips or call (08) 7444 4260 to organise a visit to our cat relaxation room. You can also schedule an appointment with Harmonia, Puck, and Snowman online at https://psychmed.com.au/cat-relaxation-room.
Abbott, A. 2021). COVID’s mental-health toll: how scientists are tracking a surge in depression. Retrieved from https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-021-00175-z
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