Have you been feeling hopeless and helpless lately, feeling exhausted by the drip drip drip of the pandemic? I’ve found that one of the best ways to shift my energy away from negative thoughts and worry is by leaning back, taking a breath, and smiling. It lightens my heart so that I can let more of the joy in. Not complicated, but sometimes we just need to remind ourselves to breathe. All month I’ve been posting about why being lighthearted is such an important mental health first aid technique and how it can help you to be more adaptable, resilient, and optimistic when faced with either a mini or major crisis. And that by being lighthearted, you are also helping to heal the world by sharing your light and joy energy with others who are struggling in the darkness.
Oh to be as carefree as a puppy or small child. No worries. Exploring everything. How blessed is the light-heartedness of the wee ones. They truly live in the moment. So why do we let that die in us when we “grow up”? Why have we become so serious that we have a hard time justifying time off just to play and have fun? Where did our “light heart” go? With the Family Day holiday just a few days away for most Provinces in Canada, instead of trying to cram errands into a free day off from work, I challenge you to make it a special occasion for you and your family. A day of fun, without a regimented itinerary. A day where the adults can be child-like and care-free. A day of being lighthearted.
Have you laughed yet today? If not, time to get your laugh on. Here’s why. The adage, laughter is the best medicine has never been put to the test more than it has now. And I’ve found that the people who have weathered the pandemic storm the best over the past two years, have been more lighthearted and optimistic than those who have been trying to swim against the current. That’s just exhausting. Adopting a lighthearted disposition to life doesn’t mean that you don’t care about things. It just means that once you train that adaptative and resiliency muscle, you’re better able to react in a calm and hopeful manner, bringing light and levity to the situation. To mean, laughter is one of the best mental health first aid solutions during uncertain times.
When was the last time you made a mistake, dropped something, or forgot where you put your keys and instead of admonishing yourself, you laughed? I try to do it as much as possible, and lately I’ve had lots of practice! I learned many years ago that instead of treating every mini accident as a crisis worthy of anger, that if instead I saw it as an opportunity to lighten up and laugh it off, that my mood improved, and I was able to bounce back from the incident much quicker. I know, it can be tempting to get fixated on the issue and put on the victim hat when things don’t go your way, but all that does is make things worse. The reality is that life is messy. It brings us plenty of obstacles and over the past two years, an abundance of twists and turns, making it nearly impossible to predict what’s going to happen next. For many, the anxiety is too much, and they turn to substances or other unhealthy coping measures. But if we could all just learn to let go and lighten up a bit, our worries would also feel lighter. Just like Richard Carlson suggests in his best-selling book – “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff…and it’s all Small Stuff. “