Ultimately, practicing gratitude can be critical for maintaining perspective and finding joy in difficult circumstances.
Gratitude can be found in minor details and seemingly trivial things, as well. For instance, when was the last time you paused to reflect on how lucky you are to have access to clean water, or a warm shower?
As Dr. Willard stresses, “Psychological health, perspective, and happiness can be found through practicing gratitude each day, and just reflecting on the few good moments in a journal or with friends or family.”
Additionally, if you’re feeling overwhelmed with a sense of When will this all end?, Dr. Willard says a little consideration for the future isn’t such a bad thing: “Setting reasonable goals in the morning, and thinking about what you’ll do after this, can help you raise happiness levels. Why not plan a vacation? Even if you’re unsure when you’ll take it, research shows it actually boosts your mood.”
Whether you’re working at home for the time being or your full-time job is remote, it’s critical to figure out positive, healthy ways to maintain strong relationships without feeling pressure to over-maintain them.
For instance, while you’re likely craving social interaction, it can become burdensome to feel like you need to be a support system for all your friends and family. If that’s the case, Dr. Willard urges, “Set negative or positive boundaries with roommates, family, partners, parents, or others in your life.”
“Additionally, if you’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with, consider who that is.”
Here are some other tips Dr. Willard suggests for relationships:
Finally, if you’re feeling overwhelmed in this moment, Dr. Willard suggests remembering the CALM acronym, which can help ground yourself and relax tension in your body — all you need to do is squeeze and release the muscles in your Chest, Arms, Legs, and Mouth, which are areas where we tend to hold a lot of tension.
Finally, it’s critical to remember that the stress and anxiety we feel due to full-time quarantine is temporary.
As Dr. Willard told me, “The people who cope best are those who maintain perspective and remind themselves, every day, that this will end. We don’t know when, but we know it will. This right now is the longest slog, and there will be more and different requirements in the future. And the world will look a little different, but this ‘stuck in our house, six-feet apart at the grocery store’ thing will end.”
Originally published May 14, 2020 7:00:00 AM, updated May 14 2020