When you’re feeling down in the dumps, what do you do? You have two options: keep doing what you’re doing or try one of these happy hacks to bring a smile back to your face and ultimately boost your mood.
Here are five simple ways to bring more joy to your life right now.
Unplug- Theodore Roosevelt once said, “Comparison is the thief of joy”. If you are vulnerable to social comparison, limit your time spent on social media. Social media can help us stay up-to-date with our social networks but too much of a good thing can have negative effects. Frequent cellphone use is associated with higher anxiety levels and reduced happiness. Be careful how much time you spend scrolling through your newsfeed so you can stay present in your own life. There is no substitute for human interaction so if you miss seeing your friends, give them a call and find out how their day is going.
Get moving- one of the best ways to put more pep in your step is to get up and get some exercise. Blood flow will increase oxygen to your brain. If you’re feeling a bit low on energy, don’t just sit there, bust a move! Try some of the many free fitness videos online, go for a walk, put on your favorite song, and dance around in your jammies. Dancing always does the trick for me. Aim for 30 minutes of moderate-intensity activity every day.
Reach for a healthy snack- if you’re feeling less than ideal, don’t reach for a snack to match. In other words, don’t fill up on junk food. Instead, fill your body with vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients to help turn your day around. Fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and even a little dark chocolate could be just what you need. Don’t forget about the sunshine vitamin! Getting outside for a healthy dose of Vitamin D can also help boost your mood. One healthy habit will lead to another and start a chain reaction.
Develop an attitude of gratitude- we all owe someone our deepest thanks. Whether you take the time to write a heartfelt letter, compose a song, or virtually connect online, make it a point to express your gratitude toward someone that has made an impact in your life. In recent years, I’ve sent cards to my K-12 teachers and they are touched to know they are still remembered and appreciated after all these years. It’s a small act that can bring joy to your life and that of the receiver. Other strategies to enhance feelings of gratitude include journaling or writing down what you are grateful for each day, meditating or praying on gratitude, and thinking about someone or something you are grateful for.
Take some deep breaths- stop reading for a moment and take a long deep breath and calmly exhale. Don’t you feel better already? When you’re in the grip of anxiety or a stressful situation, the body wants to transition to short, thoracic breaths (chest-breathing). By practicing a deep breathing exercise, you can return to a more relaxed state. The next time you’re feeling stressed, try breathing in for four counts and slowly exhaling for four counts. Repeat this process until you’re in a peaceful state of calm.
I’ll leave you with one of my favorite quotes from Thick Nhat Hanh, “Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.” Have a happy and healthy week!