When you're feeling down, it can be really hard to pick yourself up and move forward. While you might be trying to find ways to feel better about yourself, sulking in your bed with the lights out may not sound like a bad idea either. But it's time to wake up and smell the roses, because your life is worth more than just lounging in your house doing nothing while feeling bad for yourself. Trust me on this one.
How you decide to feel about yourself can really make an impact on your everyday choices. For example, if you're feeling worthless, you might not go after that job application because you think you're not skilled enough, or you'll stay in a horrible relationship because you don't think you can do any better. While it's completely normal to feel this way every once in a while, you don't want your negative thoughts to be taking control of your life and driving you in a direction that will prevent you from growing and learning. According to INC., The BPS Research Digest featured a study that proved simply getting enough sleep can determine how sensitive you're to negative emotions. By taking certain steps, you can alter your mood to be more positive so you can feel better about yourself. But if you still need some scientific proof as to how you can turn your mood from a zero to a 10, here are some proven ways to feel better now.
1. Spend Time Outdoors
Spending time outside the four walls of your apartment can be an instant mood lifter. According to Business Insider, a study found that people who spent time in the forest had lower levels of cortisol and decreased heart rates — especially those compared to people who lives in metropolitan cities. If you don't have the time to go outside during office hours, add some greenery to your desk for some plant therapy.
Sometimes you feel better when we don't have the focus on you, but rather help someone else out who really needs it. "People who volunteer tend to have higher self-esteem, psychological well-being, and happiness," Psychologist Mark Snyder said in an interview with U.S. News. "All of these things go up as their feelings of social connectedness goes up, which in reality, it does. It also improves their health and even their longevity."
3. Eat Healthier
Being particular about what you eat can increase your mood and make you feel better about yourself. According to LIVESTRONG, eating foods that are filled with nutrients on the regular can help you feel more positive and energetic. And, oppositely, foods that are high in fat, sodium, or sugar can make your mood crash. Plus, if you're eating healthier, you may find you feel better mentally too, which will allow you to handle everyday stresses with ease.
4. Practice Gratitude
While expressing gratitude can lift your mood, it doesn't mean you have to write a long list of reasons why you're thankful. According to Happify, research conducted by UC Davis psychologist Robert Emmons suggested that just by briefly writing in your gratitude journal on the regular can increase your well-being and overall life satisfaction.
5. Get Rid Of Negative Self-Talk
Sometimes we're our own worst enemies, saying things to ourselves that we would never dare say to a loved one. But if you truly want to feel better about yourself, you have to change how you talk to yourself. According to Psychology Today, positive thinking supports brain growth, increases attentiveness, improves your ability to analyze and your cognition by increasing mental productivity.
6. Dress Up
What you decide to wear every day can dictate how you will feel. You probably have that one item in your closet that makes you feel pretty or confident the minute you put it on. According to The Huffington Post, postdoctoral research scholar Michael Slepian said, “Wearing formal clothing leads to more big-picture thinking, rather than concrete thinking that focuses on the details."
7. Have Me Time
Thinking that alone time with some ice cream while you watch the season finale of GIRLS isn't good for you? Think again. According to Science Daily, a study conducted by Dr. Almuth McDowall suggested that quality me time improves your psychological well-being and it can also make you a better employee. "Overall, our research suggests if people take time out to recharge their batteries and experience the time taken out as high quality, this reaps benefits for their own psychological well-being, their family relationships and for their employers as they are more likely to perform better at work," said Dr. Almuth McDowall.
8. Smile More Often
If you want to feel better about yourself, all you have to do is flex your zygomatic major muscle AKA smile. According to Psychology Today, when your brain senses that you're using your muscles to smile, it's assuming that it must be happy about something. Fake it till you make it, am I right?
9. Be Accepting With Your Status
Rather than comparing yourself to others and feeling down, acknowledge the path you're on is the right one. "Your mammal brain will always compare your table to others and find reasons why 'they' got the 'good table' and you didn’t. But you can re-wire your inner mammal to be happy about the table you’re at. You can consciously look for the advantages of where you are," says Loretta Graziano Breuning, PhD in an interview with Bustle over email. "Keep doing it and you will build a new pathway in your brain that looks for the good. If you don’t, your brain will reflexively look for the disadvantages of where you are, no matter how good you have it. It’s not easy being a mammal, but you have power over your brain."
10. Exercise More
Whether you hate it or love it, it's hard to ignore how essential exercising is for you to feel happier. According to Fast Company, when you're exercising, your brain believes that you're in stress mode. To protect your brain from stress, it releases a protein called BDNF (Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor) and endorphins that help blocks the feeling of pain and associates with the feeling of euphoria). "The first 20 minutes of moving around, if someone has been really sedentary, provide most of the health benefits. You get prolonged life, reduced disease risk — all of those things come in in the first 20 minutes of being active," Gretchen Reynolds said in her book The First 20 Minutes.
One of the best ways to start the day is by simply letting go of your thoughts. According to Psychology Today, if you meditate on a regular basis, your anxiety decreases and healthier connections form between the Assessment Center and the bodily sensation/fear centers. Essentially, it allows more rational thinking to take the place of anxiety.
At the end of the day, you're the only person who can make yourself feel better. Rather than putting the weight on your happiness on other people's shoulders, take control and use these tips to help you feel better about yourself ASAP.
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