Life is busy, complicated, stressful and full-on. So is it really any wonder that even the most emotionally resilient of us sometimes end up feeling less than chipper? Having a happiness slump is a perfectly normal occurance from time to time. But what happens when you can’t shake off that bad mood? When life lightens up again but you can’t do the same? It might be necessary to try and give yourself a little lift through external means if your mood is showing no sign of passing naturally. So if life’s little setbacks – from a poor review at work to a run of rainy weather – has caused the dark clouds to draw in, try one of this small actions for a micro-feelgood moment that could be just enough to break you out of the grumps and take your skies back to blue…
Do Something Good
When the world feels full of injustice and bad things, right the balance a little by doing something kind. Research shows that people who find local volunteer work tend to be happier than those who don’t – regardless of socio-economic factors. Helping other people gives our empathy a boost, and helps us to feel good about ourselves and see the great fortune in our own lives. It’s sort of a win-win situation – you do something kind for others, and you gain a boost yourself. So, from getting involved with raising money on a charity fun run, to bringing supplies to a homeless shelter, consider the list of things you could do.
Take A Little Me Time
Very often, especially if we have caring responsibilities to others, such as small children or elderly relatives, we can be at the bottom of what feels like a never-ending to do list. In these circumstances, although taking time for ourselves may seem indulgent, remember the old maxim about taking care of the carer – if you don’t have the occasional bit of time for self-care, you won’t be fully able to look after everyone else. Time is all you need – it doesn’t have to be complicated. From treating yourself to a trip to the theatre to taking a morning to sit nursing a coffee and the papers watching the world go by, it’s the little things which can restore our spirits. Cook and eat your very favourite dinner on your best plates or order yourself a flower delivery. Just remember to as kind to yourself as you are to everyone else.
Literally Lighten Up
Lighten up isn’t just an expression – bright light therapy, especially in the winter months, can have a dramatic effect of depression and anxiety, mood and sleep quality. Just an hour of bright indoor light once a day has been shown in studies to be as effective as antidepressants – and certainly has less side effects. A daylight lamp can be a really great purchase, and also just try to make sure that you have exposure to natural daylight – perhaps by making sure you fit in a lunchtime walk in the great outdoors.
We all know the physical benefits of a regular workout routine, but have you ever stopped to consider the impact on your mental state? Our sense of wellbeing along with our energy levels are greatly enhanced by the endorphins which are released when we exercise. It can also be a way to improve our self-confidence as we see a tangible progress in our fitness levels. You may think you don’t have time, but even ten minutes is enough to find a High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) workout, which you can do at home without any expensive equipment. For even more mood-lifting results, you could combine workouts with meeting a friend – starting a team sport or exercise class together, so you can socialise and get your exercise. If you find something you enjoy or go with a friend, you’re much more likely to stick to your programme and enjoy the results.
If your source of stress is being caused or exacerbated by the fact that you’re finding it difficult to wind down in the evenings and relax, then it could be well worth giving the practice of mindfulness a try. Put simply, it allows you to free your mind of unproductive worries about ‘what if’ scenarios and just to focus on being in the present moment. There are lots of extremely helpful mindfulness apps which can guide you through the process. Putting aside fifteen minutes before bedtime to wind down, shelve your worries, give thanks for the positive things in your life and make a plan of attack for the day to come can really help you to turn things around mentally.