The other day Alex and I chatted about how writing our Moodnudges posts makes us feel good. The warm feedback we regularly get from readers reassures us that we’re helping people and, as we’ve written before, the very act of knowing you’ve helped someone can give you, the helper, a glow of satisfaction.
Wouldn’t it be nice, though, if we found a way of helping you share in this glow? I think we may have done so. You see, this post is written with a two-fold objective.
First, I hope its contents will inspire you directly.
Secondly, it’s specifically designed for you to share with a friend or friends. And in hopefully helping them, you in turn stand a good chance of getting that delightful shot in the arm delivered by doing a good deed.
Once you’ve read today’s post, then, please do forward it to, and share it with, as many friends as possible, perhaps inviting them to sign up for our free four-times-a-week email. We’d love that. This post is quite a bit longer than usual, but I’d like to pack in a lot.
Today’s theme? Seven modest ideas pretty certain to lift anyone’s mood. And they’re really not that difficult to implement. How about allocating one to each of the next seven days? Thanks to our great friends at Action for Happiness for inspiring this list, by the way.
1. Make contact with other people. You have precisely 2,880 minutes in each day of your life, and the more of those you spend in contact with others, the better you’re likely to feel. Of course, nothing compares to a nice long chat with a good friend, but this may not be possible every day. When it isn’t, look for as many small opportunities to connect with people as you can. Exchange a few words with shop assistants, brightening their day as well as yours. Send the briefest of hello emails/texts to a couple of people you’ve not heard from for a while. Smile and say hello to a stranger in the street. It all adds up.
2. Accept the person you are, and love yourself. Having spent rather too much of my own life doing the polar opposite of loving myself, I know how hard this is. But trust me. Next time you’re in the bathroom, look at yourself in the mirror and say this out loud. “I like you. I like you very much.” Then, if you dare, “I love you. I love you very much.” It’s making me teary-eyed just to think about you doing this: it can have huge power, if you’re brave enough to tell yourself.
3. Always have things to look forward to. When you’re feeling low it may feel as if there’s nothing positive on the horizon. Tackle this by choosing to anticipate small things that are already coming, even if it’s the sandwich you’ll eat at lunchtime, or the drive you’ll take tomorrow. Make each of these routine events a bit more rewarding by choosing to read a favourite magazine with your lunch, or listen to some long-lost tunes while you drive. Turn routines into mini goals, and reward yourself.
4. Decide to take a positive view of life. You may have noticed that different people can share the same experience, yet see it in completely different ways. To some degree you have the power to view life in the way you choose. See everything gloomily, and that’s the way things will be. Alternatively, opt for a more positive outlook and – hey presto – your world will take on a rosier tint. Although it may sound fake, it really isn’t.
5. Learn something new every day. One of the reasons Alex’s daughters love school is that they’re always learning. Acquiring new knowledge boosts your confidence and raises your spirits. But you can do this without registering for a college class. Why not tackle a recipe you’ve never tried before? Teach yourself the order of the planets in the solar system. Learn a few words of the language spoken by that person you often see, but only ever speak to in English. Keep learning, have fun.
6. Appreciate all that surrounds you. I’m sure you’ll have experienced that walking-around-in-a-fog feeling you get when your mood is low. It may seem as if your mental focus is directed entirely inwards. You can become oblivious to your environment. Doing the opposite, however, is a helpful way to lift your spirits. At any given moment shift your attention, using as many senses as possible, to drink in the richness that surrounds you – then find three things to be grateful for in your environment. That piece of furniture that’s stood you in such good stead. That sky. That tree. That squirrel. Look for the small details. Love them.
7. Look after that body of yours. That mind of yours is, of course, pretty closely connected to your body. You spend all day carrying it around with you, after all. It’s easy to forget how one affects the other. Low moods can be lifted by such simple actions as eating good food and drinking enough water. It nearly always helps to get a good night’s sleep. And taking exercise is a huge help too. So what can you do in the next 24 hours to treat your own body as you would any other cherished possession? Love your body and it will love you right back.