Turn to books and art
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
“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.
Find ways to laugh
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.