We all have days when we may feel sad and down, it is only natural! Maybe it is due to stress, loneliness, dissatisfaction in your career or personal life but remember that no-one can be happy all the time. It can sometimes help to have a few ideas up your sleeve for when you do feel sad, so that you can feel better again more quickly and enjoy life more. These five simple ways to feel happier are only small ideas and are all mere suggestions for lifting your spirits and boosting your mood again. Giving something new a try from this list could be just what you need to feel happier. This is because sometimes when we are down we forget what makes us happy and cheerful and it is harder to place ourselves in a positive mind frame. So why not take a look and possibly give one of these ideas a go today!
1. Friends and Family
Communicating with those you love and simply having a conversation and a laugh can help to pick you up when you are feeling sad or down. This is because other people can help you to get out of the zone of focusing in on yourself and your own worries and concerns. It can do wonders for your mood and spirits to engage in social activities, as hard as it may be sometimes to find the motivation to do so. Even if you can only manage to call your friends or family members on the phone or possibly to video call your relatives, it will hopefully act to boost your mood in a positive way.
It is worth investing time in your personal relationships as everyone needs a strong and loving support network around them. If you do not have this, then actively joining a book club, a walking group, volunteering in your local community, attending an art class or a dance class could give you a focus and a way to meet new people. First and foremost, surrounding yourself with loving and supportive people will make everything else in the world seem easier to manage. Then, you can manage bad times together as well as good and knowing you are not alone can really boost your mood and spirits, so it is worth developing and nurturing your personal relationships as best you can.
I hear you say, ‘oh no, another tip about how exercise can boost my mood and how I should be doing it all the time!’ Of course, when you are feeling down in the dumps the last thing you feel like doing is finding the motivation to run a marathon or go to a dance class. The secret key to exercising successfully when you are feeling down is to start small and to not let the exercise itself be the end goal. For example, if you need to go to the local shops then walk instead of taking the car, or pop out to see a movie but walk there and back if you can.
Just a simple walk can be enough to raise your serotonin levels, (serotonin is a feel-good hormone released when you exercise) and to get you more fresh air. In addition, it will increase your vitamin D levels through allowing yourself some sunshine, and it will help to change your milieu or the ‘background environment’ that your mind is focusing on, both visually and mentally. There is even research suggesting that exercise can help to boost your immune system too.
Removing yourself physically from the situation or the place where you are feeling sad certainly does not eradicate a problem or issue, but it does help to provide you with some perspective and clarity so that you can at least feel slightly more refreshed upon your return. So start small and it could be as little as walking around the block or to a local park or even taking the dog for a walk. Any exercise will be better than no exercise at all, so put those trainers on and help yourself to feel happier today with a walk.
3. Music Helps the Mind
There have been countless studies on how music therapy can boost our mood and help to alleviate depression. For example, a study back in 2011 from researchers from Finland and Norway encouraged people to play musical instruments as part of their treatment for depression. They concluded that those receiving music therapy in addition to the standard care ‘showed significantly greater improvement than those receiving standard care alone’.
As well as this, the participant’s scores of anxiety symptoms improved alongside their general functioning. Whilst you do not have to take up a musical instrument, even listening to music on the radio on online at home will have a positive effect on your happiness levels. If you then can find the motivation to attend a concert, maybe in a group setting, it will work wonders for your mental outlook. Not only can this work in the short term but in the longer term too, giving your mind another ‘coping mechanism’ for next time when you may feel depressed or low. So why not turn on that radio or try a new genre (or category) of music today and you will give yourself a new focus as well as a distraction.
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Food intake when we are depressed tends to consist of junk food, alcoholic beverages or even smoking. These things are not going to do your body or your mind any good in the long run! Of course many of us turn to food as a comfort when feeling low or down but this is a bad habit and offers us no solutions. What is worse is that things can easily spiral out of control with food. Reaching for the fruit bowl may not be immediately appealing to you right now, but we should all want to look after ourselves.
Try this visualization exercise to help; imagine you were a small baby again and picture yourself smiling, walking around, playing and so on, would you want to be fed junk food items by your parents? Would you allow your own child to consume such junk food? The answer is always no as you would want yourself and your children to have the best diets and health possible. Your body is a temple and you need to learn to respect and appreciate yourself again. So think of the benefits fruit will do for your complexion and skin tone, think how those leafy green vegetables will boost your calcium intake and your bones, think how those chicken salads or fruit smoothies can do wonders for your health and choose them over junk food. You will actually boost your metabolism again (or the rate at which your body digests your food), because junk food can slow down our metabolic rate. Think healthy diet, happy mind.
5. Little Extra Happiness Secrets
Getting enough sleep or having a nap in the day time is a great help if you can, as this will recharge your batteries and help you cope better with what life is throwing your way. Secondly, how many of us have showers instead of baths? Try having a relaxing soak in a bubble bath and you will feel better and happier because the warm water will lower your heart rate which opens up your veins more and gets more oxygen to your brain. This oxygen will provide you with more energy and will sooth you, lowering your blood pressure too. Humor is a massive help but it is harder to muster yourself when you are feeling blue.
Therefore, why not watch a comedy show on television or online, and if you have the motivation, then attend a live comedian’s show locally. Laughing out loud will boost your mood too. Giving back to charity is a great way to help make you feel a bigger part of your community as well as helping a well deserving cause; it could also be a great use of your spare time. Making a ‘positivity board’ or ‘happiness board’ could be an excellent way to focus in on what you are going to achieve next in life and the direct ways in which you can feel happier and act to change your life for the better. Things such as working hard to get that raise at work, exercising more, looking after a pet or tidying the house are all valid ideas. Whether they are small or big ideas, a happiness board is your own template to customize!
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Always take into account that moods are always temporary and that feeling low or down will pass in due time. Life is short and we have to count our blessings and appreciate what we do have whilst we can.
Remember that these five tips are only intended for mild symptoms and feelings of depression, if you have been feeling extremely depressed daily for a week or more, then always talk to a friend or family member or seek medical help.
Below is a great video on ‘the secrets of truly happy people’ from You Tuber Lindy and her You Tube channel ‘bubz beauty’.