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Mental Health

How to Be Happy: A Not So Simple Guide

In such a crazy time, everyone’s goal, whether they realize it or not, is simple; to be happy. Each one of us will face setbacks time and time again, especially amidst this global pandemic; yet I still believe there are a few things that we could all do in order to relax and truly embrace what is happening to each and every one of us. As someone who is in the LGBTQ+ community, and has struggled with depression, anxiety, and panic disorder for basically her entire life, I find myself feeling alone and falling back into negative patterns and habits during the quarantine. So, I thought I would take the time to both remind myself of beneficial things I could do, as well as spread a little positivity in this moment of darkness in everyone’s lives.

Right now, it probably feels as though the world is crumbling around you, but just know, it will end. We will be able to see our loved ones, friends, favorite restaurants, and most importantly, the bar (hehe) once again. But for now, it is important to try to care for ourselves. In moments where it feels impossible to be happy, the most we can do is try. Remember: everyone is struggling in their own ways. Also, keep in mind that it’s okay to feel sad or be upset; it’s perfectly normal to feel emotion, and everyone’s journey is different. In times like these, try to prioritize yourself and your mental health over other things. Mental health is just as important as physical health!!! In order to have a healthy body, you must have a healthy mind.

In saying this, I am going to list some of the coping mechanisms that have helped me stay calm and rational during this pandemic, as well as in other times of stress.

Drawing/Coloring

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  • Crack open a coloring book (I recommend Trolls or Paw Patrol, no I’m not kidding- get silly), or start doodling. Keeping your hands busy ultimately keeps your mind busy, which can have a positive impact on emotions!
Writing

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  • Same thing as drawing! Also helps to get all of those negative emotions out of your system and onto some paper which you can later tear up!
Watching Movies/TV Shows

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  • Um.. who DOESN’T love to do this! Take your mind off of the world around you by watching a good movie or show!

Going for Walks

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  • Getting some fresh air or getting any type of exercise for that matter can aid in the release of endorphins; which help decrease overall levels of tension, elevate and stabilize mood, improve sleep, and improve self-esteem! Sounds good to me!

Hang Out With Friends

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  • Things are slowly starting to get back to normal, which means we’re able to grab a bite to eat with our friends, go Mini Golfing, and more. Basically the key with this one is to just let loose around people you’re comfortable with.

Meditation

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  • It might sound totally cliche, but meditation has helped me through a lot. Stress, anxieties, and a messed up sleep schedule can all benefit from meditation. I have used Headspace, which has a discounted rate for students. Not ready to commit? I recommend the Calm YouTube Page, which offers short meditations for free! Relaxing your mind can help relax your body and aid in overall emotional health.

Sleep

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  • This one’s self-explanatory! Try not to sleep too much though (can have a negative impact on depression, which we’re trying to avoid). But taking a short nap can aid cognitive capabilities and secretions of serotonin, which we could all use!
Reading

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  • Open up your favorite book and take yourself away to a different world! This one really helps me soothe anxiety!
Unwind and Disconnect

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  • Turn off your phone, and be truly alone with yourself. Sometimes social media and the hustle and bustle of life can influence us negatively. Disconnecting from this life and going off the grid, even just for a short while, can help boost self-esteem and quell stress. 
Listen to Music

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  • Listening to music helps to calm me in so many ways. Tuning into my favorite playlist or album is GODLY when I’m anxious or depressed. Try listening to music opposite of your mood; if you are sad, listen to some Pop tunes, and if you’re anxious or hyperactive, listen to some calming, Classical music.

Most importantly...

If you are feeling overwhelmed, reach out to someone. There are so many resources these days where you won’t feel shamed into talking about mental health. Talk to a friend, therapist, or a family member as a source of unbiased listening. If you aren’t comfortable doing so, below I have listed some popular Mental Health Resources/Phone Numbers. But remember, your life is worth living; you are special, loved, and the best is yet to come. Excelsior.

  • Trevor Project for LGBTQ+ Youth: 1-866-488-7386 ; https://www.thetrevorproject.org/
  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255
  • Disaster Distress Helpline: Call 1-800-985-5990 or text “TalkWithUs” to 66746
  • ULifeline: Text “START” to 741-741; ulifeline.org
  • Talkspace: Online Therapy here
  • TAO (Through your University): Online Therapy here

Visit the National Alliance on Mental Illness for more information on mental illness and for more resources.

Maranda is a Senior Writing Arts and Emergency Management dual major at Rowan University. She hopes to become a published poetry author and eventually go to law school or work for Homeland Security. In her free time she enjoys listening to all genres of music, reading, creating art, writing poetry, and watching 80s movies.
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