Mood lifting living.
The science of happiness.
Feeling down? Can't seem to shake the blues? Everyone has periods when they feel unmotivated and down in the dumps.
While the weather, lack of sleep, stress, problems, are all factors affecting your day-to-day mood. There are scientifically proven behaviours that can help you manage and live happier more meaningful lives.
1. We are what we think
There is the advice that if you pretend to be happy, you can trick your brain into thinking you are. But this isn't the whole story. The conscious mind - our doing mind - is our functioning state (also known as the small mind) and to pretend to be happy when you feel
down helps temporarily. For longer lasting and authentic happiness, you need to focus on your subconscious mind (large mind). It has unique characteristics to create anything you wish by thinking it on a daily basis. If you believe you can't achieve something, your subconscious will create these conditions so that your beliefs are proven. So invest time in affirming I am healthy/happy/peaceful daily and eventually your conscious mind will begin to adapt to these thoughts creating the happiness you want.
2. Do something selfish
Selfish is an ugly word. It conjures up an image of a miserable old scrooge. But like everything else. Selfishness in moderation is good for you! Doing what you want instead of what you should be is liberating. It makes you feel good which increases your happiness.
Being selfish doesn't necessarily mean thinking of yourself. Saying 'No' to things you don't have time for means having time to spend doing what you love. It isn't as hard as it sounds. Start with a small 'No'. The after work drink when you'd rather make it home in time to watch your favourite TV show. Turning off your mobile phone at dinner so you can listen to how someone else's day has been. Ignoring the late evening email because you'd rather tell a bedtime story are small yet effective ways to be selfish.
Humans are not built to sit or remain still for extended periods of time. Our whole beings, physical and mental, benefits from all types of movement. If you work in an office, consider getting up every 20 minutes and stretching. This small movement helps your mind stay alert and relieves your body from its unnatural state. For those who exercise, it doesn't matter if you like low impact workouts or HIIT classes. The point is to move. Walk, jog, run, cycle, swim. They all add up to a healthier mind and body. The science part? Exercise produces endorphins, our feel good chemical. The more you move, the better you feel!
Been through your Facebook likes today? Updated your Insta? Re-tweeted? Unfortunately, this doesn't count as connecting with others. Relationships are part of what makes us human and a positive relationship in whatever capacity makes us feel like we matter, that we exist for a reason. The more connections we have, the more fulfilling our lives. When did you last take the time to speak to someone just for the sake of it? The checkout lady at the supermarket, the security guard at your office, that phone call you keep meaning make and the 'let's meet up soon' email you keep promising. Start connecting today.
5. Be creative
Creativity has always been a misdirected life skill. Being creative and doing more of what you love is essential for keeping our minds supple and a supple mind is one that isn't moulded into being worried and fearful of failure. A freethinking mind is nature's way of expressing happiness. When you start letting go of conditioned thinking, you start doing things for you. Just for fun. Dance, sing, write, paint, make, invent. Creativity expresses the inner you and once let out will provide you with more meaning and purpose.
6. The 80/20 rule
The key to healthy eating and achieving your natural, healthy weight is a simple 80% clean foods and 20% cheat foods rule. Don't be too concerned with the maths. It's easy: 3 meals a day = 3 cheat meals per week and 5 meals a day = 7 cheat meals a week. This removes all guilt or conditions most diets place on us because you are no longer thinking in terms of ‘restricted' or ‘allowed' foods. This rule will change your association with food to a healthier more positive one. Supermodel Miranda Kerr has also explained how the 80/20 rule has done wonders for her relationship with food. She says, "Food is my friend, and consistency is the key. I believe that everything in moderation is best." We couldn't agree more!
7. Dress for the life you want
How you dress directly reflects how you feel and how people treat you. Getting your wardrobe into shape sets the stage for where you want to be in life. Choose colours and shapes that flatter you and don't spend a fortune reinventing a new wardrobe every season.
Infuse your staple wardrobe with a few trend updates and invest in classic pieces that are well made, like a jacket. Accessories are an easy way to add a feature to an outfit, and a new handbag can take a look from so-so to wow!
These behaviours won't solve problems or make the sun come out but it will keep you from feeling down for long periods of time. And remember, a problem shared is a problem halved or get to a punchbag and let your frustrations loose!