It’s pouring rain, you’re up against a deadline and in truth, your bum is big. While you can’t control everything in your life, you can do a lot to boost your mood.
Learn something new for a happier you!
According to psychology professor Sonja Lyubomirsky, author of ‘The How of Happiness,’ up to 40% of our happiness is determined by how we react to life.
Putting your mind to it
The mindfulness living skills I teach my clients are all about being in the present moment, based on a Buddhist concept that there is no other time but right now. We do well to live in the present, being fully absorbed at each moment, no matter what we are doing. This releases us from anxiety as there is usually nothing worrying about ‘right now’- it’s our thoughts of the past and fears for the future which cause distress. The past can’t be altered and living well improves resilience for facing the future.
Using Mindfulness is not a new idea. 2,000 years ago the Greek philosopher Epictetus said: ‘We are disturbed not by events but by the views we take on them.’
Most of us rehash old thoughts and memories, dwelling in the past or worry about the future. Rumination makes a bad mood worse. Ready to break this cycle? Focus on finishing a project, getting exercise, cleaning, playing with a pet, singing, reading, baking, gardening, or checking out a museum exhibition. You get my drift … do something different, that doesn’t require company or cash! TV can be mindless, so maybe a comedy dvd will get you laughing instead.
When nothing seems to be working out, remind yourself that things change with time.
Ask yourself ’Can I change anything?’ If yes, do what you can to feel empowered.
If no, ask ‘Can I accept the situation?’ A different perspective may allow new solutions to reveal themselves.
Feeling down is characterized by slow thinking, so why not try speeding it up to feel better? Read rapidly. Give yourself timed deadlines to finish routine tasks. Listen to lively music to get you moving quickly.
My old mentor, Dr Jack Gibson, was writing another book when he died in his early nineties. His enthusiasm for life and learning made him a charming and entertaining companion. His curiosity about a new hotel led us to gate-crashing a memorable party! Curiosity and learning new skills keeps your mind fresh, gives great pleasure, making for interesting new adventures.
Being grateful and appreciative works both ways. When you thank someone sincerely there is a shared moment that lifts the mood for each. Why? Dopamine, the happy reward chemical, is released in the brain and a smile usually follows! This works best when it is a genuine, heart-felt gratitude.
Train of thought
Our brains are like tape recorders, replaying the same negative thoughts, which lower the mood. When we learn to challenge the truth of them …”I’m an dreadful cook” becomes “I don’t like cooking, but I get everyone fed.”
Get out there
Random acts of kindness boost your mood. As simple as opening a door, retweeting or letting a car out in front of you it costs nothing. According to Prof. Lyubomirsky ’people who perform regular acts of kindness show significant increases in happiness.’
Drop the draggers
Bad vibes from moaning begrudgers are catching – it’s called ‘emotional contagion! Choose to be around people who are pleasant, positive and value you. Keep a healthy mix in your life to balance out those you can’t choose like a challenging boss or relative.
Set it up
Act as if you are a buzzy extrovert and you’ll have a lot more fun at events. This can take you out of yourself and into interesting company. Chat to strangers and you’ll discover a new confidence. We are social beings who thrive on interaction and variety.
What works for you?