“Most people are about as happy as they have made up their minds to be.”- attributed to Abraham Lincoln
There are several things you can do lighten your mood and feel better about life. While these won’t heal clinical depression, these simple steps can turn your down days into happy ones.
We usually smile because we are happy, but it turns out this works the other way around too. The more you smile, even when at first you don’t feel like it, the happier you end up feeling.
2. Turn on happy music
Keep a playlist of songs that help you feel happy and give yourself a boost with a happy dose of upbeat music. For best results, sing along.
3. Notice your blessings
Take a moment to see all the great things you have going for you. Listing things you love about your life can be hard at first, but as you make yourself do it, happiness will start to seep into your heart.
4. Say “Thank you”
As you remember your blessings, tell someone thank you. Send a text, make a phone call, or say a prayer expressing gratitude. Expressing gratitude focuses attention on the positive things in your life.
5. Keep a “What I’m doing right?” journal
If you’re struggling to feel like you are making a positive impact, grab a notebook and start a journal recording the things you are doing well, the times you make a positive impact, and the good choices you make. You’ll see that you are actually amazing!
6. Get some sunshine
Sunlight is a natural antidepressant. Go for a walk, work in the yard, get the mail, or even just open the curtains and blinds. Sunshine can lighten your mood dramatically.
Walking quickly for 35 minutes a day 5 times a week, or for 60 minutes 3 times a week, can ease clinical depression as much as taking antidepressants. (Source.) Even if it is just a few jumping jacks, it can increase your endorphins and lift your mood.
8. Get a good night’s sleep
Getting caught up on sleep can turn the world around. If you don’t believe me, check out a toddler who missed her nap. Hit the sack early for happy days.
9. Reach out and touch someone
Both literally and figuratively. Physical touch releases endorphins, much like exercise does. And reaching out to help someone refocuses your attention on others and is virtually guaranteed to increase your own happiness as well as theirs.
10. Eat chocolate
Because when all else fails, a good piece of chocolate is almost always helpful. Chocolate contains chemicals that temporarily elevate your mood. For best results, share chocolate with a friend.