It’s only 2pm and you're already on your fourth cup of joe. There's a stack of papers a mile high you have to take care of before going home, there are plans tonight you don't know if you can keep, and that nagging headache isn't going away. Your coworker asks for help with a simple task and you snap. You throw your head down on your desk feeling defeated and wonder: "Will this day ever end??"
About 50% of our happiness is directly influenced by the things we deliberately do to make ourselves happy. That means good news for all of us: we have the power of turning a bad day around. Next time you have a hellish day at work or need a pick-me-up in the middle of a slow afternoon, try one of these proven tips to instantly lift your mood and make your day better.
Get some Vitamin D.
If you can, take your lunch break outside. Sit in a sunny spot and sip your drink with your eyes closed. Soak in the rays and absorb some Vitamin D, feel the warmth on your skin and meditate on what you are grateful for - it is healthy for your body, and proven to naturally lift your mood.
Stop and smell the roses.
We mean literally, stop and smell the roses. Fresh flowers are an easy way to brighten your day or week and put you in a good mood- especially on a cold, gloomy day when sun is not an option. Go to your local Farmer's Market and pick up a bouquet of flowers for your home or work space, or grab a latte and stroll through your neighborhood nursery - studies show that plants help lower anxiety and calm your nervous system.
Put your phone down.
Take a break from social media for at least one hour per day and focus on being fully present in whatever you are doing. Give your 100% full attention to your family or friends and engage in a real face-to-face, uninterrupted conversation. Social media can trigger anxiety and depression, and if your day is already going downhill, try to avoid any additional stress until you are fully recovered.
You heard me. Get busy. It will bring you and your partner closer and will leave you feeling less stressed. Physical intimacy releases the "feel good" hormones in our brain and studies show that regardless of the activity, the process of deep connection with another human being increases happiness levels. You're also not likely to be distracted by other issues, allowing yourself to be fully in the moment, another plus.
Put it on paper.
Free your mind of the constant thoughts and ideas running through your mind. Journaling is said to be therapeutic and can even help decrease anxiety. If you like to draw, pick up a coloring book and pencils and get those creative juices flowing. This exercise helps to tune out the noise around you and centering yourself, which helps develop self awareness and self love.
Free up some time in your busy schedule for YOU. Try and aim for at least 15 minutes of alone time everyday. Take the time sip your coffee out on your deck in the morning or to take a bath at the end of the night. Whatever it is, try to squeeze in time for you. You need to unwind, relax your muscles, and mentally decompress.
Breathe in some fresh air.
My grandfather always told me to get out and breathe in the fresh air. But seriously, have you ever went outside and actually breathed in the air deep into your lungs? It feels great and you can actually feel the oxygen rushing throughout your body. It can also help relieve any built up stress or tension from your day.
Break a sweat.
We make every excuse in the world to not get to the gym, but it is known to actually make us more productive and energetic. Try designating (at least) a half hour a day to working out - get that blood moving and heart pumping. Don’t have a gym membership? Get outside. Lace up those Nike's and take yourself on a walk, a jog, or stretch out your yoga mat. The first step is the hardest, but just trust that you will feel much more energized and ready to conquer your day once you take the first step and get moving.
Listen to your favorite song on full blast
Try unwinding from your busy day by listening to some of your favorite songs. Plug in those headphones during your lunch break and simply get lost in the melodies of the music. The music will help to keep your mind off things and give you a small break from reality.
Come up with one inspirational quote every Sunday that is meant to motivate you that week. You can keep it posted on a letter board like I do at home, or you can simply write it down on a sticky note and put it in your car or on the mirror at home. Wherever it is, just keep it where you will see it and let it serve as a daily reminder and source of encouragement.