We’ve all been there: at catastrophe at work, your bus was late, your loud neighbours kept you up until 2am, and your cat just vomited on your favourite sweater. You’re officially having a horrible day. Not only are bad moods contagious, they’re frankly nasty. Once that negative, doom-focussed mind-set takes over, it can be hard to shake.
Here’s 5 things you can do right now to brighten your mood:
1. Take 3 deep breaths. Diaphragmatic (belly) breathing activates the parasympathetic nervous system, our rest-and-digest mode. This helps calm down the sympathetic nervous system, our fight-or-flight mode, but helping to lower blood pressure, and slow pulse. 3 breaths can be remarkably clarifying and soothing.
2. Smile. Especially if you’re angry. Studies have shown that forcing yourself to smile when you’re angry decreases stress. Seriously. Trick your brain into some good vibes by smiling!
3. Bust out a sun salutation. When we’re angry and stressed (fight-or-flight) our bodies are priming us to leap into action, so our muscles get tight and our posture often suffers heavily. Press pause for 5 minutes, and flow through some sun salutations. The improvements in circulation and breathing, not to mention a little serotonin-hit from physical activity will be remarkable.
4. Listen to an utterly fabulous/ridiculous song. Now is the moment to reach for your emergency Janet Jackson or Backstreet Boys. Whatever your musical guilty pleasure, indulge it. Our favourite songs are able to powerfully relax us. Ever gotten the Goosebumps from a song? That’s a flood of serotonin (the happy hormone) hitting your body.
5. Do something nice for someone. I recently had a horrible afternoon: stress, tired, frustrated. The whole shebang. I realised that one way I could shift that nasty vibe was by doing something nice for someone else. One chocolate shop later, I had a sweet treat for each of the amazing staff at my favourite café, and my favourite yoga teachers. These people make a huge difference to my life on an almost daily basis, and are some of the nicest people I know. Showing them a little love, and seeing how happy it made them, was the best feeling.
Do you have any quick tips when you’re feeling blergh? Share away if you think I’ve missed any!