Sometimes it’s the simple daily habits that can either improve our life, or make it much harder. Below are some ideas to make life a little easier, and enjoyable, while you move toward that big dream, and create a better life for yourself.
Daily Habits to Make Life Simple
- Get present. Studies find the best way to stay cheerful is to stay centered in the present—even when it’s not all that pleasant. In contrast, a wandering mind and daydreaming can bring people down. The best way to re-center? Sit quietly for a few minutes and try some deep, calming breaths. Focus on the breath moving in and out of the body and gently guide attention back to the breath if the mind starts to wander.
- Count your blessings. Think about or write down what you’re thankful for. Even if there’s not time to write down everything,expressing gratitude creates an instant mood boost.
- Snuggle up. Climbing under a soft blanket for a few minutes might make us more relaxed and flexible. Researchers found there’s something about contact with soft things that just makes us feel better.
- Do something nice for somebody else. Yep, being nice can help us feel nicer. Small actions—holding the door for the person behind you, sending a quick love text to a partner or friend, or donating ten bucks to a favorite charity—count, so there’s no excuse not to get your nice on.
- Listen to a happy song. It’s quick; it’s easy; it’s an instant mood-lifter. Sing along (perfect pitch not required) for extra benefit.
- Go somewhere quiet. Even if it’s just the office bathroom, taking a few minutes to sit in a quiet space with no external stimulation can do wonders for a bad mood.
- Cuddle. Physical touch can decrease stress, make us feel happier, and even improve our health. For the single folks among us, don’t fret: Even a quick hug with a friend or acquaintance can yield benefits.
- Hang out with a pet. Cuddling, playing, or just chillin’ with Fido can help us feel happier and less stressed .
- Achieve a goal. Even small successes can have big mood payoffs. Toss a crumpled ball of paper into the trash can Michael Jordan style, win a game of Solitaire, pick up a pencil off the floor using only your toes—in moments you’ll be basking in the glory of accomplishment.
- Give yourself a massage. A quick rubdown (focus on the neck, shoulders, lower back, and feet) can improve mood and release stress.
- Meditate. Meditation is a quick, effective way to chill out and improve our outlook, and it might even make us smarter . Just a few minutes of sitting quietly, focusing on the breath, and maybe chanting a few Oms (silently or out loud) can snap us out of a funk.
- Laugh. Laughter can cheer us up and decrease anxiety—and the best news is it doesn’t have to be “genuine” to have a positive effect. So even when it seems like there’s absolutely nothing funny in all of this world, busting out a big guffaw might just change your mind . Need help getting started? Check out the latest viral youtube videos, the Greatest tumblr, or anything said by Zack Galifianakis.
- Do something new. We know, you’ve only got a few minutes; it’s not like you can change careers or fly to Iceland. The good news is even adding something small to a normal routine can brighten up a day. Order a chai if you normally drink coffee, take a different route to the bathroom at work, wear something you would normally never wear.
- Dress up. Speaking of clothing: Buying new garb can amp up mood, but a person doesn’t have to drop cash to reap clothes’ benefits. Wearing the color red can boost confidence and self-esteem—which might just be the pick-me-up you were looking for.
- Notice small miracles. Cultivating positivity and a sense of wonder can build positive outlook . Feeling stuck? Look around for small wonders (a butterfly, an act of kindness, something beautiful) or check out sites like Happy News, Good News Network, and Daily Good for a happier outlook on the world.
These are only a few daily habits that can help enhance your mood, and provide a better life. The point is not to try doing all of them in one day, but do some of them in your daily routine. I think they will make a big difference in your overall well-being. They can also help bring more structure, mental clarity, and balance with new things, new ideas, and new daily habits. This is the entire 34-ways to bust a bad mood in ten-minutes, or less.
7 More Daily Habits to Improve Your Mood
Below is 7 simple daily habits to help increase happiness, improve your mood, and ultimately bring a better life.
1. Munch on nuts.
For a mood-lifting snack, stash walnuts in your desk drawer. Or sneak salmon into your salad for lunch. They’re both packed with omega-3 fats, which may make people less prone to depression, and easier to get along with, say researchers from the University of Pittsburgh. They measured the blood levels of omega-3 fats (a reliable indicator of consumption) of 106 healthy adults and gave them psychological tests. Those with the highest omega-3 blood levels scored 49 to 58% better on the tests than those with the lowest blood levels.
2. Flip through old photos.
When you’re feeling down, break out your kids’ baby albums or pics from your favorite vacation. It may actually make you feel happier than a square of Godiva chocolate would. That’s what researchers at the United Kingdom’s Open University found after they examined how much people’s moods rose after eating a chocolate snack, sipping an alcoholic drink, watching TV, listening to music, or looking at personal photos. The music and chocolate left most people’s moods unchanged; alcohol and TV gave a slight lift (1%), but viewing pictures made people feel 11% better. To keep your spirits high at work, upload your favorite pics to your computer and set them as a rotating screensaver. Or splurge on a frame that flips through digital photos.
MORE: 8 Ways To Have Your Best Day Ever
3. Inhale a calming scent.
Fill your office with a fragrant candle or diffuser to calm down during a deadline-packed day. In an Austrian study, researchers wafted the smell of oranges before some participants and lavender before others. The two groups felt less anxious, more positive, and calmer when compared with participants who were exposed no fragrance at all. Add a few drops of either oil to a room diffuser (we like the Scentball, available at amazon.com) and use in your office on stressful days.
4. Open your shades.
To feel happier in seconds, let the sunlight stream in when you first wake up. One study of more than 450 women found that those who got the most light, particularly in the morning, reported better moods and sleep. Got more time? Eat breakfast near a window that gets plenty of daylight, and put exercise equipment near a bright view. Some researchers speculate that combining exercise with morning light exposure may amplify light’s beneficial effects on mood, sleep, and alertness, says Anthony Levitt, MD, a University of Toronto light researcher.
5. Walk around the block.
If you work in a windowless office, make sure you step out to see the sun a few times throughout the day. “Studies show that people who get more light exposure during the day have fewer sleep problems and less depression, and evidence suggests that light can keep you alert and productive,” says Daniel Kripke, MD, a University of California, San Diego, light and sleep expert.
If you have more time, a longer bout of exercise may also spark a smile. “Lots of people skip working out when their moods aren’t ideal because they don’t have the mental energy to switch gears,” says mental health and exercise expert Jack Raglin, PhD, of Indiana University. “But the trick lies in finding the right workout to match the mood you’re in.” When you’re battling blues, try something low-key and mindless. “Studies have shown that even mild exercise, about 40% of your max heart rate, can lift your mood,” says Raglin. “So if you’re not up for the usual high-energy stuff, do some leisure activity you enjoy, such as digging in your garden or walking in a park. View it as mental recreation, not exercise.” If you’re angry, pick something that makes you focus. “As tempting as it may be, skip the kickboxing,” Raglin advises. “You can’t punch away anger. Instead, do something that involves your mind and keeps you from focusing and ruminating on what has you angry. Play racquetball, or take an aerobics class you’ve never tried. Learning new moves will free your mind from what’s upsetting you.”
MORE: 7 Ways To Work Out At The Office
6. Clear away clutter.
Disorganized heaps of paper in your cube or on the kitchen counter can make you anxious. For some, “clutter is a reminder of things that should be getting done but aren’t,” says Elaine Aron, PhD, author of The Highly Sensitive Person. “It can make you feel like a failure.” For a quick fix, straighten up a few surfaces in your office or in the areas of the house where you spend the most time. “It’s when every bit of space is messy that it’s most disturbing,” says Aron. Don’t bother to organize unless you have a chunk of time. Instead, arrange papers, books, and other detritus of daily living in neat piles or store them in baskets. “Just the illusion of order is enough to ease the mind,” she says.
7. Think fast.
Turn your thoughts into a race—it can lift the blues in minutes, says Princeton University psychologist Emily Pronin, PhD. For example, when your mother-in-law is driving you crazy, give yourself 30 seconds to make a list of all the ways she’s been helpful to you in the past—you’ll feel better fast. (If nothing nice comes to mind, quickly jot down other ways she bugs you; speed thinking negative thoughts can still improve your mood, Pronin found.) Researchers believe that rapid thinking may release feel-good brain chemicals—or it could just be a helpful distraction. Here’s 2 minutes to a happier you.
All of these tips & tricks are an excellent way to bring more happiness, and improve your life. Hopefully some of these daily habits will help organize, and put some structure into your projects, and daily tasks. The best ways to avoid to0 much stress, and overload is to start out small. After all it’s the small things we do everyday that mold a better life.