Everyone has good days and bad days. But we are not at the mercy of the mood we wake up with. Evidence shows that the following actions can lift your mood and get you back on track. No rocket science involved and you don’t have to get up at 5am to practice yoga. These are the small things. They may seem simple, but these are the first things we let slide when we are feeling low. So try a couple and see if you can improve your day, starting now.
Tip 1. Move Your Body
Get yourself a little out of breath. On a low day you feel even less like going to the gym, but small ways to get the blood flowing can really help. There is a mountain of evidence to show that exercise gets our bodies sending feel good chemicals to your brain. But you don’t have to climb that mountain to feel the effects. So run up those stairs or do a few star jumps in your office (when no one is looking). If it doesn’t work it’s because you are not working your body enough so pick up the pace when you take your dog for a walk. Get out of breath. The effects are almost instant so get going now.
Tip 2. Music
When you get your body moving, why not play some music at the same time? But be careful with your choice of music. It has a powerful impact on mood and emotion. So make yourself a ‘feel good’ playlist with all the tracks that you know make you feel lifted and fired up again. Turn up the volume and dance around the house like nobody is watching. When you do this, you get the benefits from the music, the body movement, and you get to focus your mind on the present moment. Even if its just for 5 minutes, your mind gets a min-break from the bombardment of worry and rumination.
Tip 3. Be Kind to Someone
For an immediate feel good factor, do something for somebody else. It doesn’t need to be a grand gesture. Small acts of kindness help you to feel good straight away. Kindness acts as a dimmer switch on our threat system and turns on our soothing system. This makes us feel safe and content. Its impact doesn’t stop there. An act of kindness reduces inflammation, reduces blood pressure, boosts the immune system, and makes other people happier too. So smile at your neighbour, make your colleague a coffee. It costs nothing. They’ll feel better and so will you.
Tip 4. Turn to Gratitude
Grab a pen or the notes on your phone and write down three things you are grateful for today. Go ahead and try it now. When you feel low your mind acts like a sieve. It lets go of the positives and holds onto all the negatives for you to churn over. Gratitude practice helps to turn this pattern around. It’s does not mean minimising or invalidating your problems. It means turning to gratitude to help you through. This exercise is so simple and so quick. It can be done anywhere, anytime. There is a huge amount of evidence demonstrating the power of turning your mind in this way. So if you only keep one promise to yourself today, let it be this one. The more you practice the more benefit you will get so make it part of your daily routine. When you get into bed at the end of the day, turn your mind toward gratitude.