Contentment cannot be achieved through a paycheck or a weight loss supplement.
Genuine happiness is a conscious mindset that everyone must create for themselves.
Fortunately, cultivating a sense of serenity and happiness might be easier than you think.
Next time you’re feeling down, try one of these easy, instant, mood-lifting tricks.
They really work!
That tired old cliché, “When you look good, you feel good,” is actually true. If you wake up feeling kind of down for no particular reason, putting on your favorite outfit can help you walk out the door feeling a lot more confident. Plus, the people in your life who see you on a daily basis will surely take notice and let you know how great you look. It’s hard to stay in a bad mood when you’re receiving compliments all day!
I’m certainly a true believer in the healing power of yoga. But you don’t have to be in a studio to receive the feel-good effects of a stretching session. Anytime you want to calm your nerves and get a boost of endorphins, all you have to do is take a moment to stretch and breathe deeply for at least five minutes. You will feel calmer, centered, and ready to take on the world. It definitely works!
When you start feeling overwhelmed, stressed out, and overcome with the feeling that your life is completely unfair, an easy way to regain perspective is to make a list of everything you’re grateful for. The list can include basic freedoms, small luxuries, and of course, the people who matter most to you. It may sound like a cheesy personal growth exercise, but it forces your mind out of the negative and into the positive.
This may feel like a silly parlor trick, but the sense of smell is a powerful way to tap into your positive memories. When I’m exposed to something that smells like my mom’s cooking, or my dad’s cologne, I’m immediately transported back to how I felt as a little girl—happy, and carefree. A pleasant smell is enough to take you out of the present moment, and sometimes that’s all you need.
Occasionally, you just need a minute to yourself. When life gets overwhelming, step away, and shut your mind down. I always like to have places that I can go to unwind for a minute. Sometimes it’s a power nap in the car. Other times, it’s the empty coffee shop down the street. Don’t feel like you have to suit up and show up for every minute of the day. Allow yourself time to slip away, relax, and recharge. Then, you can turn a rested mind back to your duties.
Connecting with someone who you truly feel comfortable with can certainly boost your mood if you’re feeling down. Just a quick pep talk from a special someone you trust can dramatically improve any situation. Chose the most supportive person you can think of. It could be your mom, a close friend, or a significant other. Conversely, make sure to stay away from toxic people when you’re feeling vulnerable. Not everyone is a healer. Know in advance who you can turn to in a crisis.
When sunlight hits your skin, it triggers the production of Vitamin D. Some scientists speculate that a percentage of the population depends on Vitamin D to stay emotionally balanced. Several studies have shown that a deficient amount of Vitamin D is directly related to a dip in mood for certain people. So slap on some sunscreen and catch some healing rays for an instant boost of energy! If spending time in the sun is not an option, you can always give light therapy a try! Just sitting under a full-spectrum light for an hour a day has been shown to relieve symptoms of depression in some studies.
It’s no secret that the food you eat affects how you feel. Although most people might crave junk food when they’re feeling low or stressed out, a healthier option (like an orange) can make you feel better in the long run.
P.S. If you just can’t fight the craving for something sweet, opt for a piece of dark chocolate. This delicious dessert is high in magnesium, a mineral that reduces anxiety. Dark chocolate also has tryptophan, which can help reduce symptoms of depression.
Petting an animal releases all sorts of feel-good hormones like serotonin, prolactin, and oxytocin, and lowers the stress hormone cortisol. Even if you don’t own a pet yourself, you can always go for walk in your neighborhood dog park. Exercise + dogs= total happiness.
Even better, volunteer at your local shelter. Volunteering is another great proven path to happiness. According to Mark Snyder, a psychologist and head of the Center for the Study of the Individual and Society at the University of Minnesota. “People who volunteer tend to have higher self-esteem, psychological well-being, and happiness.” This is especially true for folks that volunteer with animals.
Step away for a minute with your iPod and put your favorite song on. When you need a quick way to space out and shed some stress, going back to basics is sometimes your best bet. Having a go-to song that you listen to when you need a quick burst of energy is a great asset to your happy vault. Putting on your favorite song does more for your mind than you might think. Listening to your favorite melodies and harmonies can trigger the brain to release large amounts of dopamine, a chemical that sends “feel good” signals to the rest of the body and plays a role in both motivation and addiction.
You don’t have to be a victim of stressful circumstances. These are ten simple happiness hacks you can use virtually anywhere, at anytime. You don’t have to spend a ton of money on a spa day, or take a vacation on the beach to unwind. You have the power to change your mood whenever you want. You would be amazed at how something so simple can have such a dramatic impact on your mind.
What do YOU do when you need a quick pick-me-up?
Let us know in the comments!
Craig is the founder of LifeGuider, he is dedicated to improving not only himself but also others in being more physically fit and mentally capable of handling life’s challenges. He is not your regular life coach, no fancy clothes or fast cars, just a regular “Ole Joe” who has experienced the ups and downs of life like everyone else.
Ernest Hemingway said, “There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true…