When it comes to long, busy workdays, we're bound to go through ups and downs. Feeling stressed is totally normal, but it's important to be able to manage our stresses, lift ourselves up, and get back to feeling happier and more productive. Keeping in mind a few easy and effective happiness tricks to snap us right out of that funk comes in handy, especially in work settings, where keeping our spirits, energy and performance high is so pivotal to success.
As a certified health coach, I understand how our actions and thoughts can really affect our moods. By acknowledging negativity, accepting it, addressing it, and working to shift perspectives, we can achieve a greater sense of wellbeing and become better at overcoming obstacles. Dwelling in sadness can become chronic over time, and it can be a challenging habit to break. I always tell my clients that they have the power to change their moods and to define their own happiness, with a few simple tweaks and a whole lot of self-love and acceptance. For those whose depression has become debilitating in their daily functioning and maintenance of relationships, I recommend seeking outside help, likely from a therapist, support group or organization.
But if you're just feeling a little low and are in need of an instant hit of happy, look to these nine surprising and simple ways to banish sadness and regain a positive perspective.
1. Crack A Smile
Nothing could ever be so simple. Just the mere act of smiling can activate mood-boosting hormones to provide that immediate lift. Even if your mind has yet to reach a happy state, manipulating your body can help the rest of you follow suit.
2. Check Your Posture
Sitting upright can build confidence and help you regain control over the situation. It also helps banish lethargy, which can only exacerbate a sour mood. "Moving our bodies with poor posture leads to chronic fatigue," advises Dr. Ariana Brosco, with MVP Chiropractic, in an email interview with Bustle. If we feel chronically sluggish, it'll be a lot harder to shake negativity during the day.
3. Eat With Energy In Mind
Grabbing a snack that is high in serotonin, the "happy hormone," can improve mood and keep us satiated. Certain foods contain nutrients and minerals that can naturally increase serotonin levels in the body, and many of these picks are also incredibly healthy for us. Next time you're in a slump, reach for a handful of almonds with a square or two of dark chocolate, spread avocado on whole grain toast, or open up a can of albacore tuna to pair with some crackers.
4. Take A Walk
Movement can help clear negative thoughts, calm anxieties, and put things in proper perspective. Air supplies fresh oxygen, which can energize us and change the chemicals in our system to promote more feel-good sensations. Head outside on a sunny day for an added bonus, as sunshine enhances our levels of vitamin D, which can also lead to greater happiness.
5. Think Of A Happy Memory
Revisiting past moments can ignite feelings of happiness. Recall situations where you feel most happy, or think about a joke or fun moment that you had recently enjoyed. Visualize your surroundings to relive the moment. Are you happiest when on a beach? Go back to that place in your mind. How about a first date with your partner? Think about the jokes and dessert you shared.
6. Be Grateful For What You Have
When we're feeling down, it's easy to lose sight of all the positive things around us. Between past accomplishments, a tight network of friends and family and our health, we have so many reasons to feel fortunate. "Express gratitude for the rest of your body," says Erika Fay, a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, in an email interview with Bustle. Give yourself a hug, and list three things you appreciate about yourself. Extend the thanks to others, and list three things you love about other important people in your life. Feel free to call or email them your thoughts; you'll make their days a bit happier, too!
7. Keep A Positive Mantra Handy
Positive self-talk can make us feel happier and motivated to move past hardships. Figure out what sentiment works best for you. Setting an intention is a great way to remind yourself of the expectations you had for the day ahead. "You can recite a mantra such as, "this is going to be a good day" or set an intention for the day such as, "whatever happens today, I will handle with grace and ease," recommends Fay. Once a mood strikes, revert back to these promises and think about the next steps towards getting back to a happier and more productive place.
8. Power Your Playlist
Compile a few of your favorite songs for an instant lift in mood. Research shows that listening to positive tunes can release dopamine in the brain, which will make us feel happier. Pop those headphones in at work, or if you're granted privacy, break out a couple of dance moves and crank the volume way up.
9. Give Someone A Compliment
While it might be the furthest thing from your mind when you're feeling low, giving someone else a compliment can in turn make you feel happier and more connected to the world. Tell a co-worker that you like her dress, or head to your local coffee shop and tell the barista how that cup of joe brightens your day. Let their smiles cause a ripple effect, and take in the mood-boosting benefits yourself!
Whether you are interacting with others or focusing on "me" time, using these happiness tricks can immediately help you bounce back and start to feel like your happy, confident and productive self again. You'll be smiling for real, in no time!
Images: Pixabay (10), Pexels (1); Isla Murray/Bustle