Being happy helps you live longer! A positive mental attitude wards off illness, fatigue, depression and positions you to have an all round better life. Check out these easy things you can do to improve your mood right now.
1. Get some sunshine in your brain. Studies show that people who are exposed to more sunlight on a daily basis are happier and healthier. Why not position your desk at work to face the window and make sure the blinds are up. In the dead of winter or if you work in a bat cave then you can invest in a light lamp.
2. Go outside.The happiest temperature is 13.9 degrees, so when you see that going on outside, get running out that door! In The Happiness Advantage, Shawn Achor recommends getting out and about to boost our mood:
“Making time to go outside on a nice day also delivers a huge advantage; one study found that spending 20 minutes outside in good weather not only boosted positive mood, but broadened thinking and improved working memory...”
3. Smile. Smiling reduces the stress of an upsetting situation. None of this fake smiling stuff; you need to smile with your eyes. Why not send some time watching a funny video at work - you can tell your boss it'll actually make you more productive! You can also go to laughing yoga, which can be a little strange to begin with, but you'll get the benefits all up in your brain. Read more here.
4. Stretch. Bringing a yoga mat to work and throwing it down once or twice a day can do wonders for aches and pains with a nice stretch and will get you away from the computer screen. No worries if you don’t know any moves, you can pull up a quick video on You Tube and do something in 5 – 10 minutes. If you can visit a yoga class before or after work, specifically a Restorative Yoga class you’ll feel great. Here’s one of my favourite relaxation yoga videos, don’t worry, it’s mega simple.
5. Scan for the positives.Searching for the good things that have happened in the day will train your brain to think of the good. I keep a happiness journal and every night write down my 3 favourite things that happened in the day. To begin with I would struggle to come up with 3 quickly, but now it’s a breeze and feels so great to be able to look back and realize how much joy you have even on the bad days. Buy a Happiness Journal here.
6. Have a break.Taking a break, even if it’s for just a few minutes will increase your productivity and performance. How about killing 3 birds with one stone and have a walk outside for 10 minutes – sun, outdoors time and a break all at the same time, holy moley! Hello, cloud nine!
7. See people who love you.I always say to myself “Am I going to care about this on my death bed?”. What you will care about is the about of time you spent with people who truly care about you and love you. Social time is highly valuable and what better people to spend it with than those who don’t judge you, who you can truly relax around. Check out this regrets of the dying article.
8. Exercise. I don’t mean go run a marathon, unless you’re into that sort of thing (you awesome running runner you!). A brisk walk has been shown to super beneficial for a myriad of things. It doesn’t cost anything, you don’t need any fancy equipment and you can do it anywhere. Why not walk home from work if you’re strapped for time or walk on your lunch break.
9. Be kind. Studies have shown that if you’re kind to others it makes some great stuff happen to your brain. Shawn Achor says:
“...when researchers interviewed more than 150 people about their recent purchases, they found that money spent on activities--such as concerts and group dinners out--brought far more pleasure than material purchases like shoes, televisions, or expensive watches. Spending money on other people, called "prosocial spending," also boosts happiness.”
Here are some ideas for random acts of kindness.
10. Take a nap. Naps are a great way to boost mental and physical health. The ideal power nap time is under 45 minutes so that you don’t feel groggy. Aim for anything over 10 minutes to feel the benefits, even if you don’t fall asleep, the quiet time will be restorative. If you work for a company who wouldn’t take you napping well then tell them Google have nap pods and all the hip and happening companies want you sleeping on the job.
11. Spend time with an animal. Us pet owners have always known how poochie makes us super happy all up in our brains but now there are scientific studies showing just that! You don’t even need to own a pet to get all those feel good juices going; even short interactions can make you calmer and less stressed. I have a beautiful mutt from a rescue and he spends many of his waking hours bringing me and others oodles of fun times! If you want to adopt an animal check out PetFinder.