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Smile — Yes even fake smiles exercise the “smiling muscles” which are neurologically linked with the release of happy hormones like serotonin. When we bring attention to this sensation we can appreciate the positive effect even more intently.
The Power of “Yes” — Simply repeating a “mantra” of the word YES for maybe 20 seconds or more will release those positive endorphins your mind associates with a positive word such as yes. You can do this verbalised or silently in your head.
Laugh! — Even pretending to laugh is effective – it brings in additional oxygen into the lungs, it triggers our pleasure and joy centres and is often so contagious that it soon enough becomes authentic laughter anyway!
Fist Pump into the air — Imagine some victory! The physical actions we take have huge effect on our whole physiological being – pretending to be confident, happy or victorious will release corresponding feelings and hormones that make us genuinely believe we are those things!
Cuddle Something — Cuddling releases Oxytocin (the “love hormone”) which makes us feel trust and attachment to people, teddy bears and even oneself! (Best results after +6 seconds!)
Thank someone! Whether you’ve been meaning to thank a friend or brother for a favour they did you recently or have just want to surprise someone with a loving grateful message, take a few minutes to actually do it! Write a message, pick up the phone or use a carrier pigeon. Numerous studies have shown that people who regularly express gratitude for the things and people in their lives are happier, less stressed, and have higher self-esteem and decreased depressive symptoms!
Bite Your Pen — This looks very slightly less weird than trying to fake a smile every day. Hold a pen across your mouth between your teeth without your lips touching it – the muscles are still linked to the positive feeling as fake or authentic smiling and you look less like a serial killer.
There You Are — Training the mind to be present is a great way to regain focus on the moment and allow the appreciation of the countless reasons we always have to be happy. Repeat to yourself the phrase: “I am Here” over and over, either audibly or mentally. As you repeat the three words, focus on the implications of what those words mean. Allow yourself to explore what was required for those three words to have meaning. You may find this is a very powerful way to bring things back into perspective a little.
BREATHE — Conscious Breathing is the most commonly practised stress reduction technique and has been recognised for thousands of years as an effective way to calm the mind and allow more uplifting thoughts to arise.
Breathing Exercise #2 — Focusing the attention on the sensations of the flow of air passing through your lungs, aware of the increasing oxygen levels in the blood immediately purging the stress hormone Cortisol in the brain and blood with each long exhale. Wherever you are, whenever you may feel in need of a clearer mind, take three long conscious breaths, and return the clarity of this present moment.
Exercise — even a quick ten-minute walk will increase your energy and boost your mood. This really works – long term and short term! Even for 10 seconds. People often say they’re too tired to exercise, but in fact, unless you’re exercising at a very intense level, exercise tends to boost energy rather than deplete it. Serotonin is released with exercise which is attributed to the almost euphoric sensation of “Runner’s High”
Listen to lively music — This is one of the simplest ways to get a jolt of happy energy so pick an upbeat piece and let it power you up for action! (yes even cliché music like this, this, this, this, this or anything that works for you!)
Get enough sleep — If the alarm blasts you awake every morning, you might not be getting enough sleep — and it really does matter. Most adults need at least seven hours each night. (Here are some tips for getting good sleep.)
Act Energetic — Research shows that when people move faster, their metabolism speeds up. The way we act significantly influences the way we feel, so acting with energy really will make you feel more energetic.
Stand up while talking on the phone, walk more quickly, speak with more animation, make your legs jump under the table, raise your eyebrows higher, whatever you try will be a good start!
Talk to an uplifting friend — We get a huge boost from connecting with other people, especially if they are positive and uplifting characters. Don’t be afraid of reaching out if you need a boost, people feel great when they help other people cheer up so you’re offering them an opportunity to help themselves as well as you! While introverts may feel additional hesitation to “reaching out”, allowing someone to be loving towards us is powerful to introverts and extroverts alike, we all feel better when we allow ourselves to.
Accomplish a Micro-Goal — Crossing a nagging chore off your to-do list (and being aware of the completion) provides a big boost in motivation and energy. We can even cheat ourselves into motivation surges by starting with more visual tasks like organising a work space or cleaning out a closet. Every to-do list should include one item that can be crossed off in the first five minutes. If that’s all you can do, do it; you’ll feel better.
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