Despite the coronavirus concerns and despite all the hardships that so many people are experiencing, we are still in the month of Adar, the month of joy. It may sound strange to speak of simcha, happiness, at this time, but it makes pragmatic and religious sense.  This is especially true for those who are now homebound.  Will you be a better spouse, parent, sibling, child, caregiver if you are happier? Of course you will. Will you be a better teacher, student, employer or employee if you are happier? Without doubt! So here are a few tips on increasing and maintaining happiness in times of stress and uncertainty.

  1. Express gratitude regularly – we do this by saying (and thinking about) berachos, blessings on food, life, health etc. etc. We should also express our gratitude to others and show appreciation.
  2. Acts of kindness, no matter how small, will make us happier and healthier.
  3. Forgiveness – try to be more forgiving, don’t bear grudges and try to be understanding of others, especially since they are under stress and pressure now.
  4. Engage in “flow experiences” – whatever activity you are doing, exercise, prayer, childcare, conversation – immerse yourself in the activity. Don’t multitask, make every activity a “flow experience.”
  5. Even if you are not happy, act happy. Smiling and not walking around like Eeyore will actually help you feel happier.
  6. Spirituality is an infinite source of happiness – prayer, study of Torah, connection with God through mitzvos all bring joy to the spiritual core, the soul, of the human.
  7. Making progress in almost any area of life will bring greater happiness. Stagnation leads to depression, movement leads to joy.
  8. Regular exercise increases endorphins and serotonin, relieves stress and anxiety, improves health and sleep and makes you a happier person.

So, try any or all of these techniques, and hopefully we will get through these trying times as better people and as happier people.

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