As the days get colder and greyer, it’s easy for our moods to slip and stay that way. But don’t worry, in just 15 minutes you can banish that bad mood and get yourself feeling happier and more positive. Here are our five simple tips to sparking up a smile.
We know, we know, when you’re down in the dumps of winter, getting up and out is the last thing you feel like doing. But research has shown that people are happier when they engage in physical activity, and overall more activity increases overall happiness. Even better, this includes incidental physical activity, meaning that standing, walking around the house, gardening or even tidying the kitchen counts.
Pat a dog
Hanging out with a furry friend can lessen symptoms of depression and anxiety, can lower your blood pressure and help to make you more positive and optimistic. According to Psychology Today, your levels of oxytocin, the ‘love hormone’ increase when patting a dog, making you feel happier and more comfortable.
While having someone tell you to ‘smile more’ when you’re in a bad mood may trigger the desire to hurl a frying pan in their general direction, the science says they’re right. Smiling, or even holding a wooden spoon between your teeth to imitate the gesture of smiling, can trick your brain into releasing hormones such as dopamine and serotonin. Serotonin is known to reduce stress levels and dopamine increases happiness; a lack of both is linked to depression.
Whip out the old classics, whatever makes you want to sing into a candlestick, while you slide around in socks and a shirt – you know the ones. Research has shown listening to upbeat and positive tunes is an instant mood lifter. As we know, even light exercise can to release happiness endorphins, so singing and spinning around the kitchen might give you an extra positive kick.
If you’re not already on the growing bandwagon of meditation enthusiasts, it might be time to embrace the idea. According to Greatist, meditating helps to calm you down, makes you feel more positive and may even make you smarter. You can find an array of meditations on streaming platforms such as YouTube for free, or you could use paid apps such as Head Space.
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