We could all use a bit more happiness in our lives, and if you are reading this, maybe you are feeling a bit down. Here are 20 things that you can do right now to make yourself a little bit happier. From listening to your favourite song to getting outside - these 20 Ways To Be Happy Right Now always work for me.
Today is Blue Monday, also known as the most depressing day of the year. Why so? Well, it is said that all our happy Christmas memories have faded and we are dealing with the financial fall out from it, the weight gain and resigning ourselves to the fact that we might not be as committed to our New Year's resolutions as we thought. Oh, and the weather! Add that all together and some probably not-so-scientific calculations have come up with today as the gloomiest day of the year. Well, how about we change that and make some positive happy changes today?!
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Let me say first, that if you are really struggling, then know that you are NEVER alone - there is always someone to talk to. Mind Charity have a list of mental health related contacts on their website and there will always be someone you can talk to. You can always drop me and email too (I am not a trained professional though, just a listening ear). This post is about changes for those days where we all feel a little bit down - not dealing with depression which you should speak to someone qualified about. This is the first of many posts this year where I will be talking about mental health and things we can do to improve our mental wellbeing.
We all have those days where we don't feel our most positive and bubbly self and if that's all it is, then there are lots of little changes that you can do to feel instantly brighter. Different things are going to work for different people, but these 20 changes always instantly brighten up my day.
Count Your Blessings
One of the main reasons many of us feel down, is because we focus on all the negatives in our lives. Well, how about you turn that around and focus on the positives and you will see that your grass is just as green as every one else's. Make a list of 5 things you have to be thankful for and keep the note to re-read when you need it.
I believe that a bit of fresh air can do wonders and at times when everything feels a bit "meh", I get outside for a walk. Even if it's just for 30 minutes, my head always feels a little bit clearer. Try to have a walk in nature, rather than a built up area as that could make you more stressed.
You have heard the phase "fake it until you make it", well just the act of smiling can make you feel happier and you will boost the mood of everyone around you too.
You knew this one was coming! Although the thought of exercise might make some people feel more down than they did before, for most people they will feel a huge mood boost after they finish a workout. Endorphins that are released during a workout will instantly improve your mood and you can workout anyway. It doesn't have to be an hour at the gym - do some squats, lunges and jumping jacks in your living room and get the whole family involved too.
There is nothing like doing something for someone else to give you and instant mood boost. Whether it is a random act of kindness, like paying for the coffee of the person behind you in line, or donating to a charity online, doing something selfless will make you feel great!
Spend 10 minutes or so snuggling up on the sofa with your cat or dog (or a friend's pet if you don't have one), as cuddling up to our firry friends releases oxytocin in the brain, which is the feel good chemical. If you can't physically cuddle a cat or a dog, then check out some videos on YouTube for an instant giggle.
You know that funny videos aren't just cats, right? Head to YouTube and just search "funny video" and find something that knocks you over with laughter, because laughing can reduce your stress levels and turn your mood around in and instant. Why not share the joy and share a video with someone you think might need it.
Have A Bath
There is not much that is more uplifting than a nice warm bath. Add a colourful bath bomb, some music and maybe a glass of wine and you have yourself a mood booster. Just make sure you don't have kids banging at the door shouting "muuuuuuuum" every 5 seconds.
Dance Like No-One's Watching
Put you favourite song on (no matter how much of a guilty pleasure it is), turn it up as loud as you can and then dance like no-one is watching. Don't worry about co-ordinated dance routines, just jump up and down and flail your arms around and your mood will thank you for it.
Find Someone Happy
Happiness is contagious and we all know someone that always has a smile on their face. Call them up and ask them if they want to hang out and whilst you are at it, ask them why they always have a smile on their face. They might just have the secret to happiness.
Plan Plan Plan
Things might not be very exciting right now, which is why you might be feeling a bit down, but that doesn't mean they won't be exciting in the future. So why not plan something. Plan a holiday with friends, or a local day trip or even just a nice meal out to somewhere you have been waiting to try. The anticipation of whatever you have planned will boost your mood.
Ditch The Junk
Making healthy changes to your diet can take time, but in the same way that a big fast food meal can make you feel sluggish and bloated, a nutrient bursting meal can make you feel full of energy. So, head down to your local market and buy as many different coloured fruit and vegetables as you can and make yourself a meal as bright as the rainbow.
Make Some New Friends
Your current friends might be one of the reasons for your low mood, so why not look at making some new ones? Start a conversation with someone at the gym, join a club or talk to a coworker you haven't interacted with much - you might find someone you make a real connection with. I have a whole post coming soon about how to make friends as an adult.
Catch some Zzzzzzzz's
Who doesn't need more sleep?! You know you haven't gotten enough sleep when you wake up in a seriously bad mood. Well, aim to get in bed 60-90 minutes earlier tonight and see how much that extra sleep has boosted your mood in the morning. Why not take a little mood boosting nap right now to recharge?
Tick Something Off Your To-Do List
You know that list you have that is never ending! Well, feeling overwhelmed can contribute to a low mood, so if you just keep adding to your list and never tick anything off, try to do something small every day. Even if it is just cleaning all the light switches in the house, it is one task ticked off.
Think Of Happier Times
You haven't always felt this way, even though it might feel like it. Have a look through photos of when you were having a great time and try to take some of that positivity from the photos. Or plan activities to do the same things that made you happy in the photos.
Turn Off The Internet
After you have got to the end of this post of course. Do you find yourself feeling drained and sad as you scroll through Facebook? Does everyone else's life seem oh so exciting whilst you are checking what toilet roll is on offer? Well log off the internet and do something that you feel is going to enhance your life, rather than stressing about what everyone else is doing. Remember that people's lives on the internet are not always what they seem.
Get Some Human Interaction
No, not like that! Actually, maybe like that - it is a mood booster! But along the same lines as getting off the internet, why not talk to someone on the phone or in real life? The majority of our social interactions happen online and they aren't very social at all. Meet a friend for a coffee, or call someone up for a long chat. You might just brighten up their day too.
Food is definitely the way to my heart and anything where I get to be creative and eat at the end of it is an instant mood booster for me. Cook your favourite meal, maybe something that brings back happy childhood memories and make your day brighter. Bonus points if you cook for other people and brighten up their day with the meal too.
Cry It Out
This might sound like the opposite of what you want to achieve, but sometimes you can feel better after a good cry. Bottling up your feelings is not healthy, so put The Note Book on and let those emotions out.