5 Things I Learned in Lockdown

3

The coronavirus lockdown has been unique. For some, it has been an opportunity to gain new skills, explore hobbies they had long neglected – or explore creative avenues they have never explored.

Shelley taught her students to write informatively by scaffolding each step in sequence using chunking and repetition techniques; their end products of writing demonstrated both their maturity and capabilities.

1. The power of a smile

A smile is a powerful thing. It can turn frowns into laughs, ease anxiety in children, and win the hearts of strangers alike. According to Paul Ekman – one of the foremost experts on facial expressions -smiles are one of our most universal and fundamental forms of expression, including those found among isolated Fore tribes from Papua New Guinea that interpret them similarly as expressions of happiness just like we do.

An authentic smile causes facial muscles to twitch and eyes to widen, which in turn triggers an endorphin release in the brain, leaving others feeling good around you and making you more attractive – studies have proven this through studies conducted on attraction levels for those who regularly smile and appear friendly. Plus, smiles can often be contagious: think back on when someone else smiled, and you couldn’t help but do too!

Smiling can make people appear less intimidating, which is especially crucial when working or attending public spaces such as schools. A simple smile can put people at ease while increasing productivity and creating stronger relationships.

Start making it a point to smile at everyone this week – even strangers! I guarantee it will pay off; watch how your attitude towards those around you shifts as a result of smiling more, and don’t forget yourself; smiling is an effective tool against stress, anxiety, and depression!

2. The power of a hug

Hugging increases our levels of oxytocin, the hormone responsible for bonding. Oxytocin can also reduce stress and decrease our fear response; according to studies conducted with couples who hug more frequently, they experience less conflict within their relationship.

Hugs can also provide powerful relief from physical ailments like fibromyalgia; studies have demonstrated this impactful effect in these cases, with those receiving light therapeutic touch (such as gentle hugs) experiencing less pain and more life satisfaction after receiving soft therapeutic touch during their treatments for this disorder.

Lockdown taught me a valuable lesson: the power of hugging! Hugs can be an incredible way to build connections, alter behaviors, and heal hearts and souls – like little doses of medicine that help us feel better emotionally and reduce blood pressure. If you find yourself overwhelmed, give yourself a big hug – see how that feels! Give hugs freely, too, as they’re free, contagious (in a good way!), support during difficult times, and an invaluable source of comfort during challenging periods – the more hugs given out, the healthier and happier people become!

3. The power of a laugh

A good laugh can relieve stress, increase energy levels, and strengthen relationships. It can even inspire you to conquer challenges more efficiently and reach your goals faster. Even if humor doesn’t come naturally to you, learning it and using it to cope with difficult times is achievable; from TikTok dances to viral content jokes – laughter can be one of your most excellent tools in making life less burdensome.

4. The power of a hug

Hugs can be a highly effective form of connection and can help create or change behavior. Hugging releases oxytocin and serotonin, which promote feelings of trust, safety, love, and well-being, as well as alleviate anxiety and lower blood pressure. According to research studies conducted on those who receive regular hugs, they tend to experience decreased stress and depression and have improved immune systems.

An important thing to keep in mind when giving or receiving a hug is its sincerity and genuine intent for warmth and intimacy. Otherwise, people may experience being put under undue strain or feeling like their rights have been abused. Wait until a person extends their arms before gently hugging for as long as you think is necessary (ideally at least 7 seconds with deep breathing).

Hugging is a fantastic way to show someone that you care – whether that be friends, colleagues, or family members. Embracing with purpose helps create more incredible bonds between people and can even boost your mood – as demonstrated in a study by Carnegie Mellon that romantic partners who hugged more frequently had lower levels of conflict due to affectionate touch calming the effects of interpersonal friction.

Hugs can help us achieve goals – for instance, when your child is misbehaving, you could give them a big squeeze and remind them of all of their excellent traits; this should refocus their attention, reduce anxiety levels, and hopefully get them back on track. It could even help achieve academic goals or change habits such as drinking less.

5. The power of a smile

Smiles can be one of the most accessible, most powerful tools at our disposal. Everyone understands and can relate to a smile, no matter their gender, age, culture, or race. A smile brings people together regardless of differences, showing love and support without distinctions; it even works as an effective form of self-care by relieving stress and anxiety.

Smiling is so universal and contagious. Have you noticed how your mood instantly lightens when someone you know gives you a big grin, be it your best friend or just strangers on the street? Smiling can relieve feelings of fear, insecurity, and hurt while even strengthening immune systems!

Studies have also demonstrated how smiling can help people meet their goals. When you smile, your brain releases feel-good chemicals that boost confidence and hopefulness – beneficial during moments of anxiety, such as when preparing for an interview or meeting. If you find yourself becoming anxious during these situations, force a 10-15 second smile – this should calm nerves while simultaneously improving performance.

If possible, smile at each person you encounter throughout the day – even if you don’t feel like it! Studies have proven that “faking it till you make it” works, and your fake smile could lead to genuine ones over time – possibly inspiring others, too! Our world would be better if more of us smiled more.