The other day, I had a seriously rotten morning. I massively overslept, which threw a major wrench in my routine. I left my house so late that I had to deal with rush hour traffic (which, if you read last week’s post, you know I despise), and while I wasn’t officially late for work, I arrived a lot later than I normally do, and didn’t get my cherished hour of quiet to get started on my day. I had a lot to do, including some meetings I was dreading, and people stopped me in the hall to tell me about new problems before I even made it to my door.
By the time I got to my desk, I was already feeling angry and defeated. However, hiding from the world wasn’t an option, and I knew that facing the rest of the day with a bad attitude was only going to make things worse.
I’m willing to bet that a lot of you have been there. A bad mood wants to hang around, and it can be hard to shake off, especially if you have a limited time to put your game face on (in this case, I had about fifteen minutes). Luckily, there are several things you can do very quickly that give you a badly needed emotional boost. I can say that I walked out of my office in a much better frame of mind, but I’m not just speaking from experience here: there’s a scientific basis for all three of my favorite fixes.
Research has shown that these simple actions can immediately make you feel better, and if you make a habit of them, they have long term, cumulative benefits. You can even improve your physical health, for a total win-win! So the next time you want to turn your frown upside down (sorry, couldn’t resist), try:
Music is one of my favorite ways to keep myself in a positive headspace. Listening to a favorite song, especially if it’s upbeat, is one of the fastest ways to give yourself a boost. I have a happy mix (more on that in this post) that I play every morning, and as much as possible throughout the day, to minimize stress and increase my energy.
The benefits of laughter are huge. If you’re feeling out of sorts, think of a funny memory, or watch a quick humorous video, like The Muppets performing Bohemian Rhapsody.
That one always works for me, anyway.
If all else fails, fake laugh. That might sound a little strange, but scientists have discovered that fake laughter causes your body to produce the same beneficial chemicals as real laughter, so it’s still going to make you feel better.
Studies have proven time and again that interacting with others is very important for emotional health. While face to face conversation has the highest benefit, according to current research, phone calls and electronic communication also fill our need for socialization. A quick chat, email, online dialogue, etc. creates an instant mood boost, so when you want to get out of a funk, take a few minutes for some human connection. I talk to my mom and my best friend every morning (even if it’s only a brief exchange) to start the day off right, and go straight to one of them if I’m feeling unhappy.
How do you haul yourself out of the dumps? Share your favorite tricks in the comments!