Written by positivity coach, Miriam Akhtar. Who is currently working with Ryvita and Davina McCall as part of their Positivity Panel to inspire women into #getmore good in their lives https://www.ryvita.co.uk/living-well/miriam-akhtar
Try these tips to give yourself a lift when life is getting you down. Happiness is something we do rather than something that just happens so build some of these practices into your day to #GetMore good into life. Start with the ideas below, which are all known to grow happiness, and then plan your own playlist of mood boosters and do one thing from it every day, whether that’s going for coffee with a friend, or having a treat like a massage.
Three good things
What’s good in your life? What’s gone well? What are you grateful for? Just before bedtime sit down and write a list of your three good things for the day. Counting your blessings focuses your attention on the positives in life, which lifts the mood. We are wired to notice what’s wrong before we notice what’s right, so practiSing gratitude helps you tune in to appreciate the good things you have.
Slow down and smell the roses
A powerful mood booster is to savour positive experiences so that you squeeze all the juice out of them. Bask, marvel, relish, feast and luxuriate to maximise your enjoyment. First up you need to slow down and put your full attention on whatever you’re savouring so stop multi-tasking and switch the phone off. Then use all your senses to turn the volume up on the experience. In workshops I teach people how to savour with fruit – noticing the colour of a strawberry, its sweet smell, the crunch as you bite into it, the texture on your tongue and the full flavour of its delicious taste. You can savour the past – reminiscing over a happy memory or the future – relishing the excitement of something you’re looking forward to like a holiday. Ask yourself what is good about it?
Be a good friend
The number one source of happiness is other people so you can get an instant mood boost by reaching out to someone. Pick up the phone and speak to a friend you haven’t spoken to in a while. Write someone a thank you letter. Help someone out. Acts of kindness help both givers and recipients feel good, so you get positivity bouncing back and forth between you. It’s also a useful distraction from your own troubles.
Get into nature
Green exercise is physical activity in a natural environment. It only takes a few minutes of walking in the woods or wild swimming to start generating positive emotions. Doing it by water has extra calming benefits for the mood. Find your nearest patch of green and get physical – go for a walk or do a few yoga stretches.
Play to your strengths
Your strengths are your positive qualities, such as courage or kindness, and your talents – the things you’re naturally good at. What are you doing when you’re at your best? What do you have a gift for? Finding ways to use your strengths can help you perform better at work and grow your well-being. Your strengths are like levers that you can pull to help you reach goals and resolve issues eg. how can your strength in perseverance help you reach the goal of running 5k?
When something goes wrong, try to find the positive in the negative. A Sunday walk that’s rained off becomes an opportunity to linger over the Sunday papers or curl up on the sofa with a box set. Look for the positive in what happens. On the other side of a negative is an opportunity to prioritise your needs, pamper yourself and have total control over the remote!
Get into flow
What puts you ‘in the zone’? Flow is that state where you’re so completely absorbed in what you’re doing that you might lose track of time. People get into flow through hobbies like crafting or baking, doing something physical like gardening or jogging or creative like painting or jewellery-making. Try to set aside a couple of hours a week where you lose yourself completely in a flow activity. It’s a very satisfying experience.
Something to look forward to
Make a list of 3 positive things that you expect to happen tomorrow and then relish the anticipation of them coming up. What is there to look forward to? Indulge in some day-dreaming and spend a few moments anticipating the positive feelings that you will get from it. By doing this practice regularly you’ll start to feel more optimistic and excited about what’s ahead.