Having a bad day? Scientific research has shown that what you do to make yourself happy has four times more effect on how you feel than the basic circumstances you’re dealing with. So don’t blame the rain, your hair do or the person next door. Get busy on some or all of these activities, and soon you’ll be smiling again!
1) Eat Sensibly
It’s easy to overlook the most obvious things, but if you aren’t having the right foods at the right times, your mood is guaranteed to slump. Avoid sweet fixes, because they will send your blood-sugar sky high, only to plummet an hour later, causing you to reach for another chocolate bar. Too much tea or coffee will do the same, so try decaff and don’t forget to drink water. Have a breakfast of slow-release carbohydrate and snack on nuts – these are high in Omega-3 fatty acids which enhance your mood. Salmon has the same effect. Make sure you eat regularly, and healthily, to keep your blood sugar steady.
Exercise releases endorphins into your blood-stream. These are the body’s own equivalent to morphine, and they make you feel deliciously high. You don’t have to go for a five mile jog or workout at the gym for an hour. Just run up the stairs a few times or go for a brisk walk. Better still, throw some crazy shapes to your favourite tunes, and you’ll benefit at the same time from the mood-enhancing effects of the music. If you’re feeling grumpy, get up from your desk or work-station and take yourself off to do a few stretches, or yoga poses. Let your poor old bod know that you haven’t forgotten it and it will reward you by churning out some feel-good hormones.
You smile when you’re happy, but by a system called ‘bio-feedback’ you will be happy if you smile! Moving those facial muscles in a cheery grin sends the message back to your brain that you’re feeling positive. Do this in the mirror as you look yourself in the eye and say ‘You’re great!’. Smile at strangers, people in shops and the postman. Soon you’ll get smiles in return and the blues will be gone.
4) Get Some Sunshine
These days a great deal of fuss is made about the harmful effects of the sun, to the point where many people are shunning sunlight altogether, so risking chronic, serious Vitamin D deficiency, which gives you the miseries (and worse!) When the sun shines do your best to be out in it for half an hour at least, letting the warmth fall on your face and breathing it in. With winter coming along this could be more difficult, but don’t risk SAD – get yourself a sun-ray lamp and bask for a while.
5) Take a Power-Nap
All too often we drive ourselves on and on, pushing through the exhaustion barrier with coffee and determination. We may believe we’re chalking up Brownie points, but actually we’re heading for a health crisis. Successful people know how to pace themselves and get the best from their resources, which is why many high-flyers take power-naps. When it all seems too much and your eyelids are drooping, let it happen. Give yourself 30 minutes zzz and when you wake up your head will be clear and the bad mood will be history.
6) Do someone a favour
Doing a good turn for a friend or colleague can warm your heart. Just knowing that you’ve made someone’s day, taken a load off them and/or relieved them of anxiety will make your own day seem brighter. Perhaps you now feel ‘connected’, your isolation is gone and you’ve seen the meaningful way you contribute. Wonderful!
7) Tidy up!
Living in a skip sends messages of failure to your brain, making you feel overwhelmed and ineffectual. If you don’t have time for a deep clean, at least put stuff back where it belongs, chuck away old wrappers and put the junk mail in the recycling. Just ten minutes spent clearing up can transform your environment, and your mood will follow suit.
Have these strategies worked their magic for you? Or are you struggling with deeper issues that won’t go away? Then you need help from our wise readers at The Circle, who can guide you towards solutions and put a smile back on your face. Don’t agonise alone – put in a call today.
PUBLISHED: 20 October 2014