When was the last time you experienced a good, hearty belly-laugh? Have you been operating in all work-no play mode for too long? Maybe as the weeks of winter plod along, youre feeling a bit blue?
Perhaps its time to lighten things up a tad. Here are 11 simple ways to lighten your mood, your heart, your outlook, and perhaps even your load.
Too many of us are spending more time than ever inside, sitting and staring at screens. The simplest way to brighten your mood is to step out into the sunshine. Take a walk around the block, around the town, through the woods, or along the waters edge. Whatever environment you find yourself in, get out into it. The effects of nature on our well-being have been well-documented. If its cold, bundle up. If its raining (absent the risk of lightning) take an umbrella. Make getting outside part of your daily routine.
Your body needs water, and it lets you know when its not getting enough in a number of ways. Lethargy and moodiness are sometimes such signals, but you may be too preoccupied to notice.
Make sure youre running on all cylinders by keeping your body properly hydrated. For extra joy, add lemon or cucumber to your water or try a flavored sparkling water. Tea in the afternoon is lovely, too.
Before you go for a walk or head to the gym, you may not feel like it. Youve got excuses at the ready explaining why you dont have the time, energy, and circumstances to make it happen. You know, though, that once you get moving, and for a good while afterward, you feel great. Those endorphins kick in, boosting your mood, and you feel proud of overcoming your excuses. Even if its just for a few minutes, move your body.
Cue the Music
Create an emergency playlist that goes on when youre feeling that grumpiness set in. Put all of your favorite jams on therewhether thats Beethoven or Barry Manilowno judgment here. Uplifting music can change your state quickly.
If a sense of overwhelm is leading to anxiety, its time to reconsider your commitments. Perhaps youve overcommitted your time or overextended your resources. Re-examine your priorities, and let go. Renegotiate items on your calendar, cut or postpone items on your to-do list, and ask for help. Weve all been there. When you face it, youll feel a lightness youll want to maintain.
When did everybody get so serious? Laughter may just be the best medicine. Dive into some stand-up comedy, silly entertainment, or some good, old-fashioned jokes. Did you hear the one about the guy who stole soap from the grocery store? He was trying to make a clean getaway. (Bahaha!)
Lighten up and laugh more.
The real reasons youre feeling a heavy burden may not actually be external circumstances, but an internal issue. Look within and ask yourself why. Why are you so stressed by these circumstances? Why are you afraid? Why are you worried? Why are you sad?
Dig deep then see if you cant begin to reframe your emotions. Perhaps youll need to turn to experts or spiritual teachings for higher-level perspectives. Seeing things from a higher or broader perspective can allow us to be uplifted and enlightened.
Take a Break
We all need a break from time to time. If youre just pushing yourself all of the time youre likely not performing very well anyway, Breaks allow us to rejuvenate, recharge, and reset. Give yourself a break.
When was the last time you played? Einstein once said that play is the highest form of research. Hey, if it was OK for Einstein, its OK for you. Play with your kids, play a sport, play a board game, play with those old toys youve put into storage, play with Legos, play in the snow. Its fun!
Did you know that most adults dont believe that they are creative, but most children do? I think its a question of courage. Give it a gonobodys looking.
Doodle, paint, sew, build, write, makedo something to get those creative juices flowing.
Its been a long, winding road. Youve probably got the pictures to prove it. Break out the photos and home videos and take a walk down memory lane. Share them with your loved ones. Youll be giggling and sharing Oh, remember when for a good long time.
Were all so busy these days and the simple joys and beauty in life can elude us when were head-down working and checking boxes all of the time. Lighten things up. Youll likely lighten things for those around you as you do.