Being happy is the ultimate goal for many people. There are hundreds of books and blogs written on how to find true happiness. Generally, many of us are rather happy. But sometimes, we may wake up on the wrong side of the bed or a dreary day may mute our mood. We cannot expect to be happy all the time, right? But, if you’re trying to break out of that moody rut try some of the following methods to brighten up your spirit! What is the best part? They can each be done in 60 seconds or less!
If you’re in the need of adding some sweetness to your day, that is a perfect excuse to grab some chocolate! Chocolate contains neurotransmitters, Phenylethylamine to be exact, that our body associates with euphoria. In a study, it was observed that dopamine levels in participants of the study had risen after consuming chocolate. Bonus points: because of the flavonoids, there are actually a plethora of health benefits associated with dark chocolate. Just don’t go overboard with it. And remember, the darker the chocolate the better the health benefits, so shoot for at least 70% cocoa content.
2. Upbeat Music
Who wants to have a dance party? There’s no denying the power an awesome song can have. Music has a strong link with our emotions and can influence how we feel based on what we’re listening to, according to research. The next time you’re feeling down, turn up your favorite tunes and have yourself a little dance party. Need some inspiration on what to listen to? Try one of these.
3. Hug or Kiss a Loved One
Or pet your favorite furry friend. Physical contact releases oxytocin into our system which lifts our spirits, and the benefits extend to both hugger and the individual you hug. Not only will hugging make you happier, it is also linked to extra health benefits like reducing stress and heart problems. Researchers aren’t sure if benefits extend to strangers though (in fact, it may cause the opposite), so find a friend, family member, or Lil’ Mittens for a good hug.
4. Make Your Bed or Clean a Little
There’s something about tidiness that helps to calm our minds. If you need a quick fix and begin to notice things are a little unruly in your room, just make your bed. It instantly makes things look much neater and put together. Plus, it could be the 60-seconds you need to take your mind off what is troubling you (unless it’s your room, then get to cleaning!).
5. See the Sun (and some fresh air)
A sunny day and fresh air could be just what you need to brighten your day. Go outside or throw your windows open and soak in the warmth. It’s a natural mood enhancer and really reawakens the senses. If you’re not able to get much sunlight consider getting yourself “happy lamps” which emulate sunlight.
In a world where we are constantly being bombarded with text messages, notifications, and all sorts of external stimuli, sometimes we just need to remember to give ourselves a minute. Set a timer, close your eyes, and breathe. Visualize negativity expelling out with every breath. Take a moment to think of some positive affirmations and practice gratitude. Re-center yourself. This breathing can be a simple and effective meditative moment.
Fake it ‘til you make it. There is truth in the old adage and research to prove it. The action of just smiling causes you to actually begin to feel happy. The same goes for the reverse, so no frowny faces. The research shows that the emotions don’t even need to be genuine but if you can find your happy place, bonus points for you. Since we are incredibly social creatures, if you smile when around others, you’ll help lift their spirits too!
Talking to your best friend or sibling can be like therapy! Sometimes you need to just share a laugh over something silly, or sometimes you need to get something off of your chest. Either way, speaking to a friend, a relative, a coach, or someone close to you is a natural way to feel happier again. Go have a great conversation with people you love to be around and see how you feel afterwards.
9. Get Up!
Do some jumping jacks. Or a few yoga poses. Seriously. Being physically active is another way to release those feel-good hormones and it doesn’t necessarily take a lot to get them going. Ideally, you’re exercising a few times a week but if you need an extra pick me up or feel like you don’t have time, try a few of your favorite moves to get your blood pumping.
10. Stop and Smell the… Vanilla
Aromatherapy can have a dramatic effect on how we feel and real vanilla has been pretty consistent in being the best in some studies. Other great options include lavender and citrus scents, which offer variances in feelings of happiness, relaxation, and energy.
It’s important to not get the little things get you down, but these small exercises can help add some spark to your day. Mood isn’t constant. Some variation of emotions, in reason, is okay. But if you’re feeling sad often and for unexplained reasons, it may be worth considering speaking to a professional. If you’ve noticed that your low points come around the same time every year, like winter, you could be suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and while these suggestions can help a little, nothing replaces the consultation of an expert.