During the lockdown, it’s more important than usual for people to stay socially connected. While sending texts might seem like a great way to keep up with loved ones, recent analysis suggests a video call is much better.
- New findings: practicing self-care and exercising are the two most effective ways to improve mood during physical distancing.
- Making a phone call or a video call lead to more positive and fewer negative emotions, compared to just texting.
- Researchers recommend reading less news and helping others if possible.
In April, researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill asked 600 US adults to share their routine over several days to see which habits brought them joy during the pandemic. The analysis showed that people were most content after physical activity, spending time on hobbies, and relaxation practices like meditation.
Connecting with friends and family through social media was also found beneficial for mental health. However, the boost of positive emotions was only noticed in interactions when people could hear or see the other person. For example, sending texts didn’t fill responders with happiness, while a video call did. This was equally true for introverts and extroverts.
Researchers were surprised by such results: “We thought we were doing ourselves well by keeping up via text. But the evidence suggests this isn’t as valuable as we thought. It’s much harder to establish a meaningful connection with someone via text.” With plenty of video-calling platforms available these days, applying these findings to your life shouldn’t be problematic.
On the other hand, it was no surprise, the more people spent time passively scrolling through social media feeds and looking for updates, the more they felt anxious.
Also, responders who devoted some of their time to helping others said, they were filled with positive emotions afterward.
To have a better day during a lockdown, researchers recommend:
- Don’t spend too much time reading the news.
- Take good care of yourself.
- Don’t be afraid of negative emotions, it’s part of being human.
- Try really connect with people.
- Help others if you can.