Do you ever get a case of the Mondays…on a Thursday? We all get down sometimes, but that doesn’t mean we need to stay there. Whether someone said something that upset you, you’re stressing about an approaching deadline, or you’re just feeling a little blue, give these three things a try and start feeling happier right now!
Go for a stroll in the great outdoors
If you work in a windowless office, make sure you step out to see the sun a few times throughout the day. Studies show people who get more light exposure during the day have fewer sleep problems and less depression. Evidence also suggests light can keep you alert and productive. If you have more time, a longer bout of exercise may also spark a smile. Studies have shown even mild exercise, about 40% of your maximum heart rate, can lift your mood. Research has also suggested spending time in nature can make you feel happier. So, get up and get moving!
Listen to some upbeat tunes
Research suggests that listening to upbeat music while trying to feel happier can actually make you happier. It can’t just be any tune, though. A study from the Journal of Positive Psychology found that people who listen to upbeat music can improve their moods and boost their happiness in just two weeks. It’s a work in progress, so you should fill your space with as many optimistic tunes as possible, to make sure you don’t run out of any feel-good emotions before your two-week window is up.
If you don’t know where to find musical inspiration, Spotify can surely guide you in the right direction. But with over a million songs to choose from, you may easily get overwhelmed. To help you from getting discouraged, here is a list of 21 Spotify playlists you can refer to, as you start your quest for Good Vibrations. You’ll be Walking on Sunshine in no time!
Eat your way to happiness
You are what you eat, and research shows higher levels of certain vitamins, minerals, and chemical compounds can boost your mood and help ward off depression. The next time you’re feeling down, just snack on these foods and feel your blues wash away.
- Fish – Fish oil is famously high in DHA, an omega-3 fatty acid essential to brain function and cardiovascular health, but scientists are also learning a lack of DHA is common among people with depression. Try adding more wild salmon, mackerel and arctic char to your diet, all of which have high levels of omega-3s and low levels of mercury.
- Dark-green leafy vegetables – Vegetables like spinach, asparagus, and Brussels sprouts are off the charts in folate, a B vitamin that has been shown to improve the mood of people with depression.
- Oranges and papaya – These tropical fruits are high in vitamin B6 and folic acid, which have shown to be lacking in people who suffer from depression. Make yourself a fruit salad to enjoy during the workday and up your happiness factor. Who knows, you could even boost the mood of your coworkers, as people often say the cheery color and scent of oranges are enough to lift their spirits.
- Brazil nuts – Just one Brazil nut provides more selenium, a powerful antioxidant proven to boost mood and mental performance, than your body needs for the day. Nuts are an easy snack to keep in your desk and munch on when you’re feeling down.
- Chocolate – Last but not least, chocolate is a popular go-to snack when battling the blues. Dark chocolate, in particular, stimulates the production of endorphins, the chemicals in the brain that bring on feelings of pleasure. It also contains the chemical serotonin, which acts as an anti-depressant. Just don’t overindulge or you may end up feeling worse. Instead, reach for chocolate of the raw variety, which doesn’t have added fat and sugar.
If all else fails, fake it ‘til you make it. There’s good evidence that even forcing a smile can go a long way to elevate your mood. Studies show that muscular changes in your face can make you happier, as can good posture. Just looking happier also has the domino effect of making you look more approachable, so you’ll make more friends and live a more social, happy life!