How are you feeling just now?
I’d say on a scale of low to upbeat I’ve been feeling ‘bleugh’ these last few weeks. It’s hard to pinpoint why. Most probably the global situation has a fair bit to do with it. As opposed to specific things that I have control over changing.
So I sat down and tried to think of little things I could do to help me feel more uplifted. Things I can make a conscious choice to bring into my life. Some I’ve done before; some I searched for online. All of them I’m going to add to my daily routines. Though I may just focus on one at a time – I don’t want them to add to my stress! They’re all totally free and don’t take up much time. Which already makes me feel better! Let's get started:
1 - Start your day by getting some sunlight as early as possible. Even better if you can get outside for eg a brisk walk or some stretching in the sun. That’s going to be a whole lot easier now we’re heading into summer. Though I do also love heading out on crisp, chilly days, wrapped up warm. The sun can still reach the tiny portion of my face visible between my hat and my scarf!
2 - Sniff a lemon! Japanese researchers found that linalool, a substance found in lemons, may turn down your classic "flight-or-fight" stress response. We do have a lemon tree. But it’s rather small and doesn’t have much fruit. Plus, if I pick and cut a lemon to sniff, I’ll be too tempted to pop it in a G&T! So instead I’ve taken to keeping a bottle of lemon essential oil at my desk. A wee sniff every now and again does make me feel happier. What is your favourite thing to smell? And can you do it in the middle of the office without looking odd?!
3 – Did you ever notice how the right song coming on the radio can affect your mood? Music is powerful stuff! Studies have shown that listening to music can help lower blood pressure, reduce stress, and boost mood. What is your favourite uplifting song?
4 – Posture. Body language. Whatever you want to call it. The experts say that sitting up straight helps us feel more confident and in control. Check out this Ted talk by Amy Cuddy: https://www.ted.com/talks/amy_cuddy_your_body_language_may_shape_who_you_are
5 – 5 minutes of meditation. Set a timer to remind you to do this during the day if you can. A great app to use is Insight Timer. It’s free. You can select the time you want to meditate for (there are some just a minute long) and what kind of vibe you need. They are guided meditations so if you struggle, like me, to switch your mind off, these are great as they give you just one thing to focus on. If you can’t do this during the day, just before bed is a nice time to quiet your mind. While you’re relaxing in the bath is another great time to add this little bit of mindfulness to your day.
6 – What went well for you today? When things are getting on top of you it’s easy to forget that some little things during the day did spark joy. It’s easy to write off the whole day. Instead, get writing about the positives. Take a minute to ask yourself what you noticed that went well or what brought a smile to your face. This is even more powerful if you write it down. The act of putting pen to paper seems to reinforce the positive vibes. Today I will most definitely be writing that I feel positive that I got this blog written and posted! If you’d like to treat yourself to a gratitude journal and support an awesome NZ business, check out Awesome Inc.
7 – Smile! Researchers at the University of Kansas showed that smiling can alter our stress response in difficult situations. The study indicated that smiling, even if you’re not feeling happy, can slow heart rate and decrease your perceived levels of stress. Smiling sends a signal to the rest of your body that things are okay.
8 – Take it one step further and make someone else smile! A quick text or email to let them know you’re thinking of them could do. Even smiling at a stranger can have a knock-on positive effect. A little bit of kindness can create a virtuous cycle that will promote your own feelings of happiness and well-being.
Are these things you could add to your day? Maybe you do them already. If you have any other ideas for us, please do share them!
Wishing you the uppest of Upliftings days xx