When you have people around you who feel bad, you are affected. Emotions are contagious, you could say. If someone else is sad or low we often feel the same way. Which can be an adequate and empathetic reaction when you are in the same room as the one that suffers. At least for a limited time. But if we react in the same way when we hear or read news, it can be difficult to shake off the heavy emotions.
We need joy
We can not remove other people’s problems by suffering for them. Nor can we be of much help if we ourselves fall into hopelessness and pessimism. Not even if the sufferer is right next to us. We can listen and be at hand. We can confirm that what happened is terrible or bad. But we need a strategy to change the mood so we do not stay in the lows indefinitely. Because if we don’t we cannot help. Just thinking about misery does not take it away.
Heavy emotions such as fear, negativity and insecurity are close in frequency. They are a part of life, and of course it is not dangerous to feel them. But if we get stuck in that kind of emotion for a long time, we often become pessimistic regarding many different things. It becomes difficult to see opportunities and you can feel overwhelmed and powerless. This in turn makes you passive, perhaps even paralyzed.
Joy and laughter
Laughter and joy are instead close to feelings like love and hope. Emotions that can generate ideas and create the drive to implement change. It is in that state of mind that we come up with what we can do to help ourselves and others. Because without hope nothing happens.
I read in an article from 2013 that children laugh on average 400 times a day, while adults only smile and laugh 15 times a day. Maybe we smile even less now after two years of fateful news reporting on the corona pandemic?
The whole world in our living room
There are 7.9 billion people in the world. With so many human lives in one place, there is guaranteed to be someone who suffers and someone who dies in every moment. A little harshly, you can say that you can choose to think about that or you can take the opportunity to live the life you have as long as you have it. Sure, we humans should help each other, but just thinking about – or talking about – bad things without doing anything about them actually helps no one at all.
There are those who believe that you come across as more responsible and deep if you stay serious all the time. That it somehow shows that you understand the graveness of a situation. But if you only allow yourself to be cheerful when all the problems disappear and the entire population on earth is happy at the same time, you can never smile or laugh. And we need the joy!
When we laugh, our body produces endorphins and dopamine, hormones that make us relax and feel good. The lymphatic system is also positively affected, which stimulates the immune system. So in addition to it being wonderful, liberating and nice to laugh, it makes us healthier and more alert.
To lift yourself up
If you feel that you are stuck in negativity, you can do something about it. But it’s hard to jump from pessimism to optimism so it’s smarter to take it easy. Establish and accept that you are stuck in negative thoughts and feelings, but don’t confuse it with who you are. You are not your thoughts and feelings. You HAVE thoughts and feelings. They can be changed. Aim to find a neutral mood to begin with. Is there any thought that makes you feel a little relieved? Hold on to it. Go out into nature and take a few deep breaths. Allow yourself to relax. Take a break from the news that report about misery. Otherwise, your brain thinks the world only contains horrible things, and that’s just not true.