Feeling a little low? Things not going your way? You’re not alone. We all have periods in life when we don’t feel happy.
But let’s face it, happiness does seem to come to some more easily than others. It’s usually associated with a healthy outlook on life and good mental health.
Studies show though that just 14 per cent of the population enjoys good mental health. The same percentage is at the other end of the spectrum and struggle with mental illness.
And the rest of us? We’re located somewhere in the middle. We have good days, we have bad days, but for the most part we simply get by.
There is now evidence to show that a few small changes to your everyday life can give you an instant lift and in the long run, have a serious impact on your happiness.
So, what can you do to put a smile on your face?
1. Try something different
It’s easy to get stuck in a rut doing the same old things day-in and day-out.
While routine is good for us, it’s also important to shake things up from time to time.
Studies show that people who engage in a variety of experiences are more likely to retain positive emotions and minimise negative ones.
You don’t have to travel to another country or run a marathon, try going to the cinema on your own, joining a pottery class, or wearing a different colour – anything that challenges you a little. It will give you a lift.
2. Call a Friend
Research shows that isolation and loneliness breed unhappiness. By building and maintaining relationships with people who matter, you will feel less isolated, more secure and ultimately happier. So, go on, call a friend!
3. Get off the couch
It can be hard to motivate yourself when you’re feeling down. But when you exercise, your body releases chemicals called endorphins, which trigger a positive feeling and help to instantly boost your mood.
Regular exercise has been proven to reduce stress, ward off anxiety and feelings of depression, boost self-esteem and improve sleep. Find a physical activity that you enjoy and can fit into your everyday life.
4. Get some shut eye
Sleep is vital to our wellbeing and has a massive effect on our mood – and ultimately on your happiness.
Sleep deprivation can disrupt your health, your concentration, your mood and how you function in work, and at home. Aim for a minimum of eight hours a night and watch your mood change.
5. Step away from the junk food
It’s easy to comfort eat when you’re feeling low. But in the long run, a balanced diet is more likely to make you feel happier. Opt instead for a healthy treat and feel good in the knowledge that you’re looking after your body – and your mental health.
6. Smile at stranger
It’s easy to get caught up in our own needs and desires to the detriment of others. Ironically giving to others makes us happy.
Do something nice for a friend, talk to a homeless person or volunteer your time. Simply smiling at a stranger can lift your mood.
Nobody’s life is stress-free. You need to discover what triggers your stress and find a way to manage it.
This could be going for a walk, doing some yoga or meditation, or simply taking a few minutes and concentrating on your breathing.
8. Think positively
We realise this is easier said than done at times. It’s hard to think positively when it seems like nothing is going your way. But no matter what the situation, thinking positively can help to elevate your mood.
Even if you’re not feeling it, fake it til you make it! In the long run, it works.