Happiness in times of coronavirus
Today we celebrate the International Happiness Day and in these crazy times of emergency it is now necessary more than ever to focus on the habits that remind us that there are always things to celebrate. Learn all the benefits of the famous LOL, discover how to raise your self-satisfaction levels, keep on loving the different and most important: laugh out loud!
What are international days?
According to the UN, celebrating international days gives us the opportunity to raise awareness of the population on matters of great interest, such as human rights, sustainable development or health. At the same time, they seek to draw attention from the media and governments to raise awareness of unresolved problems that require the implementation of concrete policy measures. And they help in situations such as the one we are currently going through as a reminder and provide leverage; not only to realise what we have, but also to create new opportunities for enjoyment and wellbeing.
What is the International Happiness Day?
Let us start at the beginning: since 2013, the United Nations has celebrated the International Happiness Day in recognition of its important role in the lives of people worldwide. We often believe that the natural thing is to be happy and have all the elements to be so, but nothing further from the truth. End poverty, reduce inequality, protect our planet… Three of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, created in 2015 by the United Nations to try to establish a common wellbeing on which to start building our happiness.
Considering that today is the Happiness Day, that Stratio has always worked to carry out actions with an impact on our personal happiness and considering that the health crisis has us all secluded as an extra effort to help us stay healthy, we shall delve a little into aspects that determine our perceived happiness. Yes, perceived, because happiness is a personal skill that is trained and put into practice (or not).
Some believe that happiness is not a goal but a consequence that we experience when we develop our mind and our emotions. Others believe it is an attitude to life. We are increasingly aware that happiness is born from within, and implies that regardless of your external situation, you live with some harmony and aware of your emotions and in sync with the people around you, achieving a fuller life.
To train in happiness never hurts to return to the basic and classic: mens sana in corpore sano. Sounds familiar, right? Well this simple phrase hides a great truth about happiness. If you want to increase your levels of wellbeing, you must take care of your inner self. Exercise, emotional hygiene and a healthy diet. So easy and yet so difficult… Because, with a few exceptions, we do not eat well, we do not sleep enough, we live too fast, hyper-connected, hyper-stressed and hyper-angry; i.e. far above our emotional possibilities.
My circumstances are no worse than the others
So this sudden confinement, which initially is a nuisance and a disruption, can be turned into the Detox Health Retreat that we all need but never had time to enjoy.
We can start by changing our language, instead of confinement, think of retreat, which sounds more sophisticated and seductive. Let us stop feeling lonely. We are not alone. Even those that have been caught in the emergency without a roommate, have a network, community, friends, neighbours, family on the other side of the phone to share their daily battles. Let us take advantage of the possibility of having quality conversations, via phone, Hangouts, WhatsApp…
The feeling of loneliness often is the result of a false belief that my circumstances are worse than the rest, that nobody understands me, that I am alone fighting against adversity. But if this crisis has shown something is that we are not alone, we are all together in this, each one with their circumstances. Some families are trapped with little children crying for hours, others with partners they do not share as much as they thought; there are people that care for others with different abilities who find it hard to understand they cannot go out to the street, some are lucky, and enjoy their plot or terrace and can breathe the air… But there are many who live in small spaces with windows overlooking an inner courtyard. So let us be generous in assessing our situation because we all fight internal wars heroically.
We want to take this opportunity to share with you a phrase that we always have in mind: loneliness is not being alone, it is being empty. So, if you feel alone in times of coronavirus, you can use the time to look inside and identify those things that you are missing. We have a few weeks of retreat ahead of us so it is a good time to get points of improvement and start implementing personal changes.
Love the different
In the struggle against loneliness and isolation there is a clear antidote: sharing with others. And the key is to have the openness to share, learn and nurture ideas and perspectives that apparently have little to do with us. At Stratio we know the best ideas come from multidisciplinary teams, with diverse talents.
We have been working for quite some time on diversity and inclusion and wanted to highlight the criticality of knowing how to share not only with some, but with all. That is why it is a privilege to be able to tell you about our new stratian value: Love the different. We think that now more than ever we need to be tolerant, with that noisy neighbour, those friends that think differently, that person that passes you in the supermarket to grab the toilet paper or the clueless who starts coughing inconsiderately. Fear blocks the best of us, our empathy, our generosity, our dreams… That is why we must make an additional effort to remember those things that unite us and what each of us can contribute to each situation.
How to raise our self-satisfaction levels
Let us look at some of the strategies we can follow to raise our levels of satisfaction and personal wellbeing.
Life is long and no matter how well we do it, we will all face difficult and even desperate situations. Therefore, the sooner we learn coping tools, the more likely we are to succeed in addressing stress and anxiety, conflict, frustration, etc.
It was always clear to us at Stratio, which is why we have been carrying out practical workshops that aim precisely to equip people with tools to better face life. Courses such as Efficient Communication or Stress Management allow us to savour the benefits of having greater capacity and living with greater solvency.
Once we find it is essential to deploy all our resources to keep us psychologically stable, resilient, motivated and confident that we will overcome this national emergency situation. We also know that moments of weakness are inevitable. Precisely because we do not all have the same resources and the same circumstances, the support and stress management sessions that have always been available to our Stratians now gain, if possible, more sense.
From the Happiness team we want to add our bit to the cause of psychoemotional wellbeing by promoting training and interventions in remote stress management, mindfulness practice and individualised support for all those Stratians who are having a bad time.
Ah! And allow us to appeal to cultivating your inner peace, practice serenity and to radiate positive energy that inspires others. Needless to say, stress levels have a direct influence on lowering defences, increasing the possibilities of contagion of any virus or bacteria… Washing your hands and staying at home are two prerequisites for fighting epidemics, of course. But also being positive, tolerant and laugh a lot (and loud) strengthens our immune system.
Laugh out loud: benefits of laughter
And laughter has much to contribute. These are some of the benefits of laughter:
- Decreases adrenaline and cortisol levels.
- It increases the production of antibodies and the activation of protective cells that produce cellular immunity.
- Laughing or cheerful and repetitive laughter improves mood, reduces blood cholesterol levels and regulates blood pressure.
- There is a relation between laughter and appetite, so that laughter increases appetite similarly to moderate physical exercise.
In addition, it generates other beneficial effects such as the release of fear and anguish, contributes to appease anger and a change of mental attitude, promotes digestion by increasing contractions of the abdominal muscles, increases heart rate and pulse and, by stimulating the release of endorphins, allows them to perform functions such as improving the elasticity of the coronary arteries, or lowering blood glucose.
And because we are well aware at Stratio of the importance of laughter, it is no coincidence that one of our values is laugh out loud.
So according to the laws of psychology and physiology it seems that the most reasonable in these days, in addition to staying at home, is to take refuge in humour as an infallible means to manage stress, release Here is a good example of what it means to take life with a good sense of humour: our small compilation of some viral social media videos that have made us laugh a lot these days. Enjoy and be happy! 🙂
Manuela Souto is an interdisciplinary professional committed to the development of talent and to data culture at Stratio. People & slow life enthusiastic.
María García is a multidisciplinary designer focused on motion and audiovisual experiences. The interest in aesthetics, communication and technology are the principles that drive her projects. Lover of making films that celebrate life.