Don’t you wish life was always a celebration? The unfortunate truth is, life is not always as great as we’d like it to be, but it doesn’t mean it has to be bad.
We all know that feeling down is a part of life, there’s no escaping it. Maybe there’s a reason for it, like someone pisses you off, you made a mistake and you’re deep in blaming yourself, and sometimes we just let things get to us, even though there’s really no reason to get upset. But we do. The good news is, there’s no shame in feeling down – but you don’t have to stay that way, and I try to personally find ways to limit those bad feelings to around 10 minutes or less.
I read a quote the other day by Andy Warhol’s book “The Philosophy of Andy Warhol” that I found applicable:
“What makes a person spend time being sad when they could be happy?”
Feeling good comes from within, it really does, you have to get yourself to understand that your reactions come from outside events, not inside.
Too many of us believe that being in a good or positive mood is something that’s determined by other people, the weather, our jobs, our bank accounts or anything else that we fully don’t control. The reality is, that how you react and feel about these things is something that’s solely in your control. It’s YOU who decides to let yourself get down, which means it’s YOU who decides that you have to do something that cheers you back up.
I’ve compiled a list of seven things which you can do to instantly feel better about yourself.
GIVE YOURSELF A COMPLIMENT
We’re all our worst critics, we don’t like how our hair looks, the bags under our eyes, how that dress or those pants fit…the list goes on, and when you put together everything you do in a day…wow, talk about hard work! I’m not joking. The toll on your body is immense when you factor in not just the physicality of what you’re doing each day, but also the mental stress you place upon yourself.
If going through all that each day isn’t worth a compliment, justify what does. It may sound insignificant, even minute, however you should be proud of what you accomplish each day, take a moment in the mirror and say to yourself, “Great job on everything you’ve done today!”. There are hundreds of studies that have proven, taking a moment and recognizing your own efforts can change not just your mood, but the direction the remainder of your day will take. So don’t be so hard on yourself, instead, pick yourself up and give yourself a high-five for being able to do it!
LAUGH A LITTLE
Your mother probably said this, as have many others, “Laughter is the best medicine.” This is something I do every day without fail, because I know the impact it has on my mood. You may think it’s just hogwash, but there’s some truth to all this:
• It relaxes the whole body
• It boosts the immune system
• It decreases stress hormones in the body
- It triggers the release of endorphins
- It helps to protect the heart
Yep, just laughing can do all that. All it takes is a couple of minutes on YouTube watching something funny and let the giggles and laughs ensue. I personally like watching old Foster Brooks / Dean Martin and Tim Conway videos….they get me smiling and chuckling every time.
DO PUSHUPS OR GO FOR A WALK
It’s scientifically proven that a little exercise, and it really can be just a little, is enough to improve your mood within just 5 minutes. A 20 minute walk at a semi-fast pace or 10-20 push ups is a perfect amount to get your mind distracted from what ails you and onto something more pleasant. I won’t even get started on how your body will love you for it.
LISTEN TO MUSIC
This one works every time, provided your playlist isn’t loaded with music about how person A left person B and how heart-broken they are because of it. Grab yourself some music you can start tapping your toes to, or better yet, how about something you can sing along with that puts a smile on your face. Some Genesis (This is the world we live in), Whitesnake (Here I Go Again), or how about a little MC Hammer (Can’t touch this) or the Humpty Dance. Trust me, once you get started you can’t stop, and you’ll feel much better after as much as a single song! Listening to these songs while exercising can actually increase your enjoyment while doing it….you might not want to sing out loud though if you’re in a gym. Just saying.
If you’re a fan of Harry Potter ® in the Prisoner of Azkaban after Prof. Lupin gave him a piece of chocolate…”…it’ll make you feel better”. Even in the movies they know the power of chocolate, but there’s a real truth to it. Since we were kids we’ve had a thing for chocolate, whereby popping a square or two down the gullet makes us feel better about things. Scientifically speaking, it’s the tryptophan in chocolate that causes our bodies to release serotonin to our brains that relaxes us and makes us feel better. Turkey can do that too, so if you’re not into chocolate I suppose a nice turkey sandwich will work…but really, who doesn’t like chocolate?!
EAT A HEALTHY DIET
I know, how do you follow up eating chocolate with healthy eating? The truth is, what you eat affects your brain, and like chocolate, eating the right foods can dictate how good/bad you’re feeling. More and more I tell my clients how important it is to eat a balanced diet that contains whole-grains, fruits, vegetables and protein. Unless you’re in your 20’s, chances are your body’s specific needs aren’t really being addressed by your diet. There’s no silver bullet for fighting depression or feeling down. Carbohydrates and foods that contain vitamin D boost levels of serotonin in your body. It’s even coming out in more and more research, that increasing omega-3 fatty acid intake through foods like fish and fish-oil supplements can help bring your mood back into the positive. I’ve put a number of salmon recipes here on the site, so have a peek and see if any of them grab your fancy!
GET OUT OF THE WEEDS
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had this conversation with people. If you’re always thinking negatively about things, how can you expect to find anything positive? I call it living in the weeds because like weeds, negativity doesn’t require anything from you to maintain and grow within you. I’m sure you’ve met people who are always complaining, always think that no-one likes them, that they aren’t worthy of anything good…that right there is being in the weeds. Getting out of them will require work, and it’s all up to you to do it, however, you can help yourself immensely by being more aware of what you’re thinking and catching yourself before you act on those thoughts.
Why does everything bad that happens to you have to be because of you? Why can’t some people just be the oxygen thieves they actually are? As I’ve said before, life works in balance. Since you’re the amazing, beautiful, talented and simply wonderful you that you are, life must balance itself out by putting complete douche’s in your path. Yes I know, sometimes it takes effort not to slap the stupid out of them, but in reality, that’s their battle…you just need to recognize, that the worse the person life places in front of you, the more amazing a person you actually are. Negatives are always attracted to positives…so resist! Resist I tell ya!
I’m sure many of you may have your own methods to instantly feeling better, so I encourage you to share below in the comments. I’d love to read about what you find works, what songs you pump up to, and how quickly you find these things work for you!