Hello lovelies! I’ve taken a short break from blogging as I’ve been busy with clients, speaking as a featured storyteller for Hub Dot, and getting ready for my upcoming website that will be launched next month.
“I’m trying to be strong and be positive, but some days I just feel so sad.”
I’m writing this article about getting happy in a hurry because this is one of the things I hear most among women who are struggling with their fertility. As someone who suffered from clinical depression for ten years, I know what it means to feel so down that you don’t know if you’ll ever be able to get back up. There are times in our lives when feeling sad is an understatement and we actually need to seek out professional help to break free from depression’s grip.
But then there are other times when we’re not so low that we can no longer function in our everyday lives, but we wouldn’t describe ourselves as being joyful either. We might be capable of putting on a smile for our best friend who just announced her pregnancy or pull ourselves together for yet another baby shower, but let’s face it: there are days when you just feel like staying in your pajamas and bingeing on Netflix. Eating ice cream directly out of the carton could also be included on the day’s list of activities.
When you find yourself in this situation, what do you do? The truth is, no matter how impossible or unlikely it may seem, happiness is always a choice. It’s a lot easier to access it, however, when we have a few tricks up our sleeves to help things along.
So without further adieu, here are my favorite go-to strategies for getting happy in a hurry.
1) Get grateful
Gratitude again? I know. Lately it seems like all anyone ever talks about is how grateful you should be, but practicing gratitude, especially when you’re feeling down actually works. In positive psychology, having a regular gratitude practice has been consistently related to greater happiness. Furthermore, new research suggests that the more you feel grateful on a regular basis, the more likely it is that your brain will adapt to this positive mind-set and that you will be able to access these feelings more easily in the future. Gratitude can be expressed in any number of ways, but in my case,I make a list of thirty things: ten have to do with my body, ten have to do with my relationships, and ten have to do with my material possessions.
2) Get dressed
But not just in any old thing! Get dressed in something that reflects how you want to feel. Never underestimate the power of clothes to turn your mood around. If I’m feeling blue, I know the last thing I need is to spend the day in my yoga pants. Pick out an outfit you would wear if you had something important to do. If you’re feeling insecure, put on that suit that makes you feel powerful and confident. If you’re feeling frumpy, grab that dress that people can’t help but compliment you on whenever you wear it. The colors we wear also have a huge impact on how we feel, so use cheerful colors like yellow and pink to their full advantage.
3) Get gorgeous
Put on makeup, do your hair, whatever makes you feel your best. Sometimes it just takes a little bit of mascara and a good hair day to feel like the Universe is on your side. Speaking for myself, I notice a huge difference in my level of confidence based on how I choose to get ready in the morning. If you want to fearlessly put yourself out into the world, you need to feel good about the person who’s looking back at you in the mirror. On days when I’m feeling particularly down, I leave nothing to chance: big hair out, full makeup on, contact lenses in. When people notice how good you look, own the compliment, feel gratitude for it, and put it in your pocket for another rainy day.
4) Tune up the music
I’ve recently switched out Nirvana for Calvin Harris. As much as I love Kurt Cobain, he can be a real downer and it was about six months ago that I realized how my favorite playlists were only reinforcing my sadness rather than getting me out of it. A 2013 study in the Journal of Positive Psychology found that listening to upbeat music for just two weeks was enough for people to experience a significant boost in happiness and mood. If you’re not sure where to start, platforms like Spotify and Apple Music make it easy with their playlists according to mood and activity. I’ve discovered a lot of songs that way that I never would have listened to otherwise.
5) Dance to the beat
When I’m feeling blue, the last thing I need is to sit still. Get your body involved in your good mood mission! Whether I’m in my Zumba class or just shaking it in my living room, I’m always amazed at how different I feel after having danced for just ten minutes. It’s not surprising, therefore, that a Columbia University neuroscientist referred to dance as a “pleasure double play.” When we listen to music, the brain’s reward centers are stimulated, while dancing activates its sensory and motor circuits. In my case, all I have to do is cha cha cha to Calvin Harris’s My Way and I’m good to go. Don’t worry about having all the right moves, just do whatever comes naturally and let your body take the lead.
6) Get out
You look amazing, you’re dressed to impress, and you feel connected with everything that’s good in your life. Now the only thing missing is to get out and share yourself with the world. On a workday, this is relatively easy because most of us are obligated to leave the house to do our jobs. But don’t fall into the weekend trap of staying in your pajamas curled up on the couch with the idea that all you need is to relax. Yes, it’s nice to hit the pause button every once in a while, but experience has taught me that the low times are the worst times to isolate yourself from the outside world. If you don’t feel like being with other people, try connecting with nature instead. My problems always seem smaller when I look up at the (hopefully) blue sky and realize that I’m part of something much greater than myself alone.
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