Take steps to keep a smile on your face … and someone else’s


Heather Moretti

The Coronavirus has caused school to shut down and forced extroverts to stay home.

COVID-19 is ravaging the country and sending many students into self quarantine/isolation. This has resulted in online schooling and seclusion from friends. 

As a result, many extroverted students are suffering due to the lack of social interaction. This has been found to lead to serious problems like depression and increased anxiety and stress. 

But what can we do to prevent this especially since we are forced to be inside? 

Here are some tips for all you extroverts out there:

Get off your phone and move around

When you sit and scroll through social media, you aren’t being active. This causes brain activity to decrease, which lowers dopamine and adrenaline levels, causing the feeling sadness. And being on your phone causes changes in your brain, which in turn cause you to become more dependent on your personal mobile device.

Go outside. Run around the house. Go for a short walk. Get active and you will feel better.

“These improvements in mood are proposed to be caused by exercise-induced increase in blood circulation to the brain,” said Dr. Fredrick Petty MD, PhD, in an article he wrote for the US National Library of Medicine, “by an influence on the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis and, thus, on the physiologic reactivity to stress.”

Basically Dr. Petty is saying exercise makes your brain happy due to the release of adrenaline triggered by physical activity. 

If you are having a hard time coming up with workouts on your own, there are multiple fitness apps available for download that can assist you. 

Always be doing something

 Boredom also can lead to effects similar to excessive phone usage.

“We had 99 people wait alone in an empty room for 7.5 minutes and afterward asked them to report their impressions regarding the experienced time and their emotional reactions to the situation,” said Dr. Marc Wittmann, PhD, in a post on Psychology Today. “As expected, boredom was associated with the feeling of time passing slowly. Time stretched when people felt bored.”

Start each day by making a schedule of what you need to do. Whether that starts with online school or chores, write everything down and make sure you do it. 

This will help occupy your time and keep you busy so you don’t become bored. Of course, it is healthy to have a break time, but keep it under control.

Call or FaceTime; don’t text

Seeing and hearing someone speak has a different impact on your brain than texting does. It matches a face with the words being spoken, thus allowing for a more genuine human reaction. 

Without a face or speech, words can be misinterpreted. The brain also likes faces.

“When two people conversed with each other while talking either face-to-face or with their backs turned to each other, their brain activity was monitored with near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS),” said Dr. Susan R Barry Ph.D. in a paper written to Psychology Today. “This technique monitors changes in brain blood flow, which reflect changes in brain activity. When the subjects talked face-to-face, but not back-to-back, they shared similar activity in their left inferior frontal cortex.”

The purpose of the left inferior frontal cortex is to process information specific to the human articulatory network involved in motor syllable programs. This function is how we speak and react to those speaking to us. 

Not having this kind of stimulation when conducting a conversation, such as texting, is bad for our communication side of the brain. This has a major impact on an extrovert’s perception of having a conversation and stimulates the same kind of reaction that having a face-to-face conversation does, allowing for a social-battery recharge.

Develop some new hobbies

Find some activities that interest you or on your “fun” list.

Research shows that people with hobbies are less likely to suffer from stress, low mood and depression. Activities that get you out and about can make you feel happier and more relaxed.”

— Australian Health Department report

Learn how to play the piano or guitar. Cook something for your family. Draw  items around the house. Try out that daring and colorful make-up look.

“Spending time on an activity that you enjoy can improve your mental health and well-being,” said the Australian Government’s Health Department in a report called Purposeful Activity. “Research shows that people with hobbies are less likely to suffer from stress, low mood and depression. Activities that get you out and about can make you feel happier and more relaxed.”

As you can see, activities like this will keep your brain busy and will help you pass time. It also enables for fresh experiences, which will allow for brain growth and thus prevents mental health issues. 

Also, if you are doing something you enjoy, you are going to be happier. 

Write a letter to someone you care about

The most important factor to remember is that no one is alone in this day and age, even when  stuck in our own houses.

“Unlike a text message or a phone call, a letter is a tangible piece of communication,” Mary Todd Christian said in a post for Greenville University’s online page Papyrus. “We can actually hold on to the pen and paper, and we can read the letters we have received over and over again without the fear of them being deleted or forgotten.” 

Check on your friends. Make sure they are OK. Write to them and let them know how much you care for them. Don’t forget your family members who might not have anyone to talk to. 

Write letters to your grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins or others you know need some encouragement. Tell them about a favorite memory you have with them. No one knows what they might be going through and a kind note might just brighten their day. 

In times like this, being an extrovert is truly less than favorable. But we have a superpower that some people don’t have: We want to talk. 

Hopefully these tips will help those struggling with the harsh reality of quarantine. If you have any other tricks to maintaining a level-head, we invite you to leave your comment below.

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