Monday, 6 June 2016

10 Simple Mood Boosters

Some days just get us down. You know the ones where nothing's really going right? The morning's groggy grumpiness lingers til lunchtime and before we know it we've had just about enough of the whole day. Our list of complaints cascade from our minds, catastrophising every little thing that didn't go our way. We woke up late, we burnt our tongue on our brekkie, we missed the bus, every pedestrian in front of us is walking at a snail's pace, we get stressed out at work, have no time to ourselves etc etc.

These days come. And these days go.

But it'd probably be in our best interest to not let them spiral. Of course these moods happen, that's natural. We can get cranky, down, irritable or just plain p*ssed off and this can be a fairly effective way to ruin our day - but only when we choose to let those bad moments become a bad day.

Personally, I've found that when these 'bad moods' strike, I can absolutely milk it and be a grumpy youknowwhat for the remainder of the day or I can do something to make myself feel better. (Trust me, the latter works out nicer!)

The thing about our moods and feelings that we tend to forget, is that we have the power to change them. Thoughts create feelings, and we can always change our thinking.

So even when we feel like we're about to lose our damn minds, it turns out that they're the only thing we can definitely use to cultivate contentment. When the external situations are a swirl of negativity and stress, we need to tap into the power that we actually have to deal with them - how we think about them.


'It's not what happens to you, it's how you react to it that matters.'


We need to use our minds to our advantage, not against ourselves. We need to get in touch with the tools we already have to boost our mood, and y'know actually start using them... Here's some suggestions to get started:



1. SMILE 


Even when we don't want to, the act of smiling has been shown to be effective in boosting our moods. Force it if you have to but even through gritted teeth a smile can make us feel better. Plus it's pretty easy and it's entirely free.  

2. GET SOME LIGHT

When it makes an appearance, getting into the sunshine is a great mood booster. Even for just a few minutes, soaking up that Vitamin D can help to improve how we feel. 
If the clouds aren't showing any leeway, just throwing your curtains wide and letting the light in can make a difference too. When you think about it, it just makes sense when you feel shrouded in darkness to actively let the light in.

3. TALK

We all know how good it can feel to rant away when we're feeling down, so try to use this instead of allowing it all bubble beneath the surface. Or even talk about something different if that feels better. Expression helps us to process what's going on in our minds so getting it out can really lift the weight of a dark mood.

4. MUSIC

Music is quite a powerful tool for all moods - whether we need to be soothed, energised or just chilled out there's gonna be a song out there that's sure to suit. Sometimes we just need to stick in the earphones and get away from all the other noise in order to come back to ourselves.

5. MOVE

Even when the desire to cocoon ourselves in a miserable fort in our room is seriously strong, it can be significantly more helpful to get up and physically do something. Take a stroll, have a little dance, stretch from your head to your toes - find movement that'll lift you out of that funk. There's definitely some science out there to back this one up!

6. AFFIRMATIONS

When we feel like we're having a bad day, we need to watch our language. Negative self-talk often kicks into overdrive on these days and we've got to take control of shutting that up. Affirm how you would like to feel, affirm the good parts of the day, use your own language to create a positive mindset regardless what has happened. Practice beginning sentences with 'At least' and positive 'I am' statements. As you continue with this kind of translation, your positive language gradually becomes more fluent.

7. GRATITUDE

An attitude of gratitude is a powerful tool. There is always always always something to be grateful for. When everything seems to be the absolute worst, it's your job to find the good, find something to be thankful for and then seek more and more. Write it out in a list and actually see how much good there is in your life. A bad mood simply cannot compete with that.

8. VISUALISE

See your day as you would like it to be. See yourself as you'd like to be. See your dreams, your personal goals, your ideal. Put vivid colour and feeling into it, make it real and feel how you'd like to feel. Repeat this image until it's crystal clear, strengthening the feelings you have about it. This is yours and you can bring it to mind at any time. When life gets you down, bring forward this picture. This picture is possibility. Connect with it and make it your very own mood booster.

9. PHOTOS

Take and keep photos of things that make you happy. Capturing memories gives us something to look back on fondly at any time. Whether it's on our phone, in our heads, in a journal or even a scrapbook, I think it's so helpful to have a little stash of happiness that you can revisit whenever it's needed. We just need to keep that little stash to hand and add to it frequently.

10. CHECKLIST

Productivity can feel damn good, so when you're feeling a bit meh - get active. Write a to-do list and tick each little task off one by one. Accomplishing tasks can be a great little mood booster, plus you get the added bonus of actually getting things done! Tidy your room, make a meal, organise your wardrobe, send an email, read an article - whatever it is, write it down and tick it off. It feels goood.

~~~

Of course, this isn't an exhaustive list, there are so many things we can do for ourselves to boost our mood. But when we're in the height of it, these are the things that are generally furthest from our minds so it's time to bring them forward.

Maybe we could even avoid the term 'bad mood' altogether and aim to identify what we're really feeling. Quite often it stems from something else, but brandishing it under one swift label might leave us missing the point and losing our solution. 

It's worth remembering that sometimes certain suggestions will work better, sometimes we'll need a whole different approach but that's up to us to figure out. If we're agitated maybe we need soothing, if we're stressed maybe there's relaxation required, if we're anxious we might need reassurance. It'll differ for each of us and for each feeling, so we need to become aware and listen to what's actually going on so we can help ourselves accordingly.

If we want to be happy, we need to take control and create it in the moments where it's lacking, however we can. Maybe you find that it's a walk, a comedy, making a plan, reading a book, having a bath, doing a good deed, having a cuddle, playing with your dog, a cup of coffee, some chocolate, tidying your room - the point of this is to discover what has a place on your very own list. 


What is going to lift your mood when it's weighing you down?

'Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light'.


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