COVID-19 Survival Guide: Habits

Categories: News

Ann Stromberg

Ann Stromberg, Emotional Wellness Counselor

The biggest challenge most of us have faced during the pandemic is spending so much time at home. Being home has changed the way we work, the way we communicate, and the way we manage our lives. We are overloaded with information about the way COVID-19 is impacting us and that the impact is negative. It is time to make a shift and begin to boost our mood and create some good habits for  our own wellbeing. It takes approximately 21 days to create a habit and now we have the time.

Habits increase the speed and efficiency of ordinary tasks that we perform every day. For example, we can brush our teeth or drive to work with ease because it is a habit. If we didn’t have these habits we would be relearning simple tasks every time we needed to do them. Good habits help us through the day by making some necessary tasks automatic. The neuroplasticity of the brain makes it possible to train the brain just like we train our bodies with exercise. We can change our behavior by redirecting our attention to what we need. Creating a good habit can be just that simple, but it does require some effort. What steps could be implemented to increase our mindfulness, create habits of wellbeing, and increase our happiness?

Wellbeing is defined as a state of being comfortable, healthy, and happy. We all want to be less stressed, less rushed, and feel happier. We see strategies for a quick fix to wellbeing and happiness, but creating a habit of wellbeing takes some effort. What can be done so we can be more mindful or aware of our happiness level? Creating a habit of wellbeing can be cultivated with some simple steps and can be created in about three weeks. One of the fastest ways to increase our happiness is to create a gratitude habit. Gratitude is a term that has been used a lot and it almost sounds like a new trend. Gratitude has always been an important and quick way to boost our mood. Actually, it is impossible to be grateful and depressed at the same time. We can always find one thing we can be grateful for at any time when we look for it. When we make the effort to shift our attention to something that is beautiful or that makes us smile, gratitude can be found. Noticing simple things that give us a moment of pleasure, we can make that moment our opportunity to feel gratitude.  Gratitude is the best mood booster we have and it is always available. This pandemic has given us time to try and create a new habit. Challenge yourself to create gratitude habit during the next few weeks. Simply begin by setting a reminder to pause and find a reason the be grateful. Choose a time or place that is easy for you to see the reminder and make an effort to find gratitude at that moment. Another challenge would be to set a reminder on your phone every hour to take a gratitude break. Imagine feeling more happiness every hour of the day! Every time you take a gratitude break, pause, and notice how you feel. Repeat daily for 21 days! You may find that you are grateful you were able to create a new habit and you will be happier!  We all want to be healthy and happy, so let’s create a habit of wellbeing.