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Turn to books and art

Turn to books and art
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Murphy suggests reading something inspiring, like Victor Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning, to learn about how other people have found meaning and light in dark times. Exelbert notes that all types of art – poetry, music and more – can help us process complicated human emotions and both inspire and enlighten us.

A good place to start?  These 65 books that everyone should read before they die. 

Do a random act of kindness

Do a random act of kindness
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“As Gandhi said, ‘Be the change you wish to see in the world,’” Exelbert says. “If you want to see the world in a better, more hopeful way, it starts with you.” In addition, kindness triggers the release of the neurotransmitter serotonin, a chemical in the brain that can improve your mood and make you feel happier. And feeling useful can help foster feelings of gratitude and reinstate a lost sense of hope, says Exelbert.

Here are 14 acts of kindness you can do in two minutes or less. 

Find ways to laugh

Find ways to laugh
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There’s some truth to the old adage that “laughter is the best medicine,” says Dayry Hulkow, therapist. “Humour could help to relieve fear, rage, anger, anxiety, stress and tension; it could alleviate symptoms of depression; reduce feelings of isolation; improve social competence; decrease negativity; and increase a sense of mastery.” This doesn’t mean forget about what’s going on and make jokes about it instead. Rather, take some time each day to do something that you know will make you laugh – watch your favourite sitcom or stand-up comedy routine, or schedule some time to talk to your funniest friend. That brief reprieve, even if it’s just for a few minutes, can really help lift your spirits.

Meditate regularly

Meditate regularly
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Meditation is an incredibly effective tool that’s also free. You really can’t go wrong. “Meditation can calm both your mind and body and restore a sense of groundedness and balance,” says Capanna-Hodge. Try downloading a meditation app that can guide you, like Headspace, Calm or Insight Timer.

Learn more about meditation and how it can help you beat stress. 

Prioritise sleep

Prioritise sleep
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“Anxiety and stress have a direct effect on sleep,” says Miller. “When you worry, it’s harder for your brain and your body to settle at night when it’s time to sleep. This is particularly true when you are worried about not sleeping or not getting enough sleep.” If you aren’t sleeping well, chances are you’ll be more prone to feelings of stress and sadness. It can be a vicious cycle. Miller suggests a few things to get more sleep. First, if you can’t sleep, don’t lie there trying to do it. “If you can’t sleep, get up and get out of bed. Find something quiet to do, like read or watch TV – though nothing too upsetting or stimulating. When you feel very sleepy again, get back in bed,” Miller suggests. You might have to do this a few times. Second, establish a sleep schedule. “It is important to keep your wake-up time consistent and understand that you may be tired in the short term, but this will build up sleep drive and eventually allow you to fall asleep faster at night,” says Miller. Last but not least, give yourself time to wind down and relax your mind before bed.

Reflect on previous obstacles you overcame

Reflect on previous obstacles you overcame
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“Each time you have overcome an obstacle, it is like putting a deposit into your bank account,” Exelbert says. “When you are feeling low, check the piggy bank to see that there is actually money in there. It shows your brain that you have gone through difficult things before, and have overcome.”

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Keep busy

Keep busy
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“Idle minds can create worry in times of stress,” says Capanna-Hodge. Focusing on a task or project will help give you a sense of purpose and prevent negativity and worry from hijacking your brain. “Concentrate on a project you have been meaning to do,” Capanna-Hodge suggests. “Maybe it is a work project, or cleaning one drawer every day, or even reading a book that you have been wanting to dive into. Diversion is a great way to stop upsetting thoughts from flooding in.”

Get started with these 30 things you can organise in under 30 minutes. 

Let go of feelings of guilt

Let go of feelings of guilt
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“It’s important to not feel guilty if you think you are ‘not doing enough’ to help fight racial injustice,” says Flowers, a licensed psychotherapist. “Not everyone’s role is to be out on the ‘front lines’ protesting. There are many other ways to make a positive impact, including spreading awareness via social media, donating financially to worthy organizations, educating yourself, and having real conversations with family and friends who may have differing opinions.” Instead of feeling guilty about what you can’t do, focus on what you can do and know that it’s valuable, too.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help

Don’t be afraid to ask for help
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There’s a lot happening right now that can contribute to mental stress, sadness and feelings of hopelessness. It’s important to find healthy ways to cope. “A lot of times it is necessary to ask for help from trusted sources, including supportive family and friends, or even experienced professionals,” Hulkow says. “Empirical research as well as many years of experience, have shown that talking could help to reduce internalised feelings of blame; it could allow us to receive emotional support and guidance; it could help to increase resilience to stress, instil hope, enhance motivation, and satisfy those love and belonging needs we all have.”

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Source: RD.com

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