How to get happy in just 30 minutes
Feeling a bit under the weather?
What a wet August! After a blistering June/July you’d be forgiven for being a tad fed up with this year’s August.
So far. Did I just say, “so far”? That’s got to be from the mouth of an optimist!
Having taught for 20 years in schools, I feel particularly sorry for our children and teachers who endured steaming hot classrooms until the end of term, and are now trying to make the most of some rather drizzly holiday time.
If your mood is somewhat dampened(!) you might want to read the suggestions below. Meanwhile…
C’mon weather. Sort yerself out!
30 minutes to getting happy
- Move! Exercise makes you happy. Too much sitting increases depression symptoms. However, a neurotransmitter called anandamide (AEA) increases during and after exercise. It’s not known as the ‘Bliss Compound’ for nothing!
- Hug someone! It reduces cortisol, the stress hormone. It also stimulates the orbitofrontal cortex in your brain. So what? It’s linked to good feelings of compassion and reward so you feel good.
- Get organised! A cluttered environment feels unsettling. A good tidy up makes you feel relieved and as though you’ve achieved something. If tackling the whole lot feels overwhelming, just tidy up one thing now. Later in the day, you can tidy up one more thing, and so on. You can even set a timer for just 10 minutes and see just how much you can achieve in that time.
- Just do it! If you’ve been putting off a dreaded task, it actually feels worse than if you eat that frog! So just get it done and you will feel much better. Need an added incentive? Promise yourself something nice that you can only have once the task is completed.
- Get out! Or if you can’t go outside, at least open the curtains and let the sun in if you want those endorphins to flow. If you can get outside, the vitamin D that your body makes in the sun will help to counteract seasonal affective disorder (SAD) and depression. Just 20 minutes outside makes most people happier, especially if the temperature happens to be 13.8889°C!! Who knew?
- Learn something! Put your full attention and effort into 15 minutes of reading about something you’re really interested in. Notice I didn’t say something you have to learn, but something you choose to indulge in.
- Do a good turn! Fancy experiencing a little “Helper’s High”? Maybe volunteer? There are plenty of places that could do with your help. It lowers depression and anxiety and makes you feel better. But it doesn’t have to be a big deal. Simply opening the door for someone else makes you feel good too.
- Give it away! Donate blood and save a life. Sign up as an organ donor and save another life. Or several. All feels good to know you are doing good.
- Smile! Or if you don’t feel like it, stick a pencil between your teeth and try not to touch it with your lips! No, seriously! Smiling sends a message to your brain that you’re happy and will make you feel so. If you can’t manage a real smile, use the pencil trick. It works just as well.
- Look up! Likewise, deliberately looking at the tops of trees, lamp posts, buildings etc sends your brain the message that all is well. It’s no coincidence that when we feel down we look down too. That’s where the expression comes from.
Don’t be down in the dumps. Spend 30 minutes or so changing your mood for the better.