Cheerfulness is a powerful way to deal with a world that will always be harsh and unjust in one way or the other. It is not an insincere emotion, although many perceive it as such. After all, why smile and laugh when the odds seem stacked against you? Aren't you hiding from the truth?
You're not. Being truly cheerful in the face of difficulties is a sign of strength, for reasons we explain below. It's important to be full of good spirits because cheerfulness (and its close cousin happiness) have been linked to:
- Improved mental and physical health
- Increased resilience against stress
- Greater life satisfaction
Different from stronger emotions like fear, joy, or rage, cheerfulness isn't something that overcomes you. To a large degree, cheerfulness is a choice. As such, you can incorporate it into your life once you make the right mental switch. Here are 9 ways to do so.
9 Ways to Stay Cheerful
Acknowledge the Difficulties
Cheerfulness is an honest emotion because you're not hiding from reality. You're not shielding your eyes and looking away. Instead, it's extremely important to be honest with yourself about the difficulties you're facing. Only by first acknowledging that things are tough will you be able to find ways to cope.
Don't Dwell on the Negative
Whether in your personal life or in society, it's easy to focus on what's going wrong. But whatever you focus on, grows. If you decide to fixate on what's going wrong, those problems will grow in your mind until they consume you. Acknowledge the problems, but don't dwell on them. Don't overthink them. Don't give them undue attention.
Be Grateful for What You Have
Instead, focus on the good things you have. Usually, they're the things we take for granted until they're no longer there, such as good health, a loving family, or even something as simple as a beautiful sunrise. Being grateful will shift your perspective and make it easier to see the silver linings of your problems.
Stay Connected to Loved Ones
Several studies have shown that the strength of someone's relationships is a better indicator of their physical health than cholesterol levels are. During tough times, lean on your friends and family for support. Spending time with those who make you feel good can help boost your mood and give you a sense of belonging.
The reason why every self-improvement article ever written mentions exercise is because it works. Along with good sleep and a nutritious diet, exercise will make you feel better. So find a sport you enjoy and get out there. Release those endorphins to improve your physical and mental health.
When you're feeling down, one of the best things you can do is help someone else. Volunteering, lending a listening ear, or simply doing something nice for someone can help take the focus away from your problems and make you feel good. After all, you're helping to make the world a better place.
Find Your Sense of Humor
No cheerfulness without laughter. Watch comedies, browse memes, or joke around with friends. Laughter strengthens your immune system, boosts your mood, makes you feel less pain, and protects you from stress. Laughter is cathartic and infectious. Laugh and brighten the room.
Mindfulness can come in many forms, but it's primarily about being present in the moment without trying to evaluate it. It's not an easy skill to acquire, but practices like meditation or yoga allow you to manage difficult emotions by turning your attention away from your busy mind into the everlasting present.
Seek Professional Help
If you're really struggling, seeking professional help can be a good idea. Therapy can help you manage stress and anxiety, as well as provide you with the support and guidance you need to navigate complicated situations. Therapy is an enabler; you're working to improve yourself, and that's something to be grateful for.
Cheerfulness is infectious. When you're cheerful, you will naturally cheer up other people too. It is a way to make yourself and others feel better and see the world and your own life in a more positive, joyful light.