Sunday, 17 November 2013 00:00

5 Things You Can Do To Feel Happier Today

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Everyone has good days and bad days. At times it can feel like we are at the mercy of the mood we wake up with. Once you are feeling low, it can seem as though you are doomed to feel that way for the rest of the day. But research shows there are small things you can do that lift your mood and do your general wellbeing some good. No rocket science involved and you don't have to get up at 5am to pracitce yoga. These are the small things. Some of them might seem too simple to make an impact, but give them a try. These are generally the first things we let slide when we are feeling a little low. So I invite you to try a couple and see if you can improve your day, starting now.

Tip 1. Exercise

Take the stairs two at a time.Get yourself a little out of breath. On a low day you feel even less like going to the gym, but small ways to get the blood flowing can help too. There is a mountain of research evidence to show that exercise gets our bodies sending feel good chemicals to your brain. But you don't have to climb that mountain to feel the effects. So run up those stairs or do a couple of star jumps in your office (when no one is looking). If it doesn't work it's because you are not working your body enough so pick up the pace when you take your dog for a walk. Get out of breath. The effects are almost instant so get going now.

Tip 2. Music

While you are doing that, play some music. Carefully select the happiest tunes that cheer you up. Music has a powerful impact on mood and emotion. It's a great way of drowning out the sound of our own worries for 10 minutes. So get yourself a Happiness playlist and turn up the volume on the commute to work.

Tip 3. Kindness

For an immediate feel good factor, do something for somebody else. It doesn't need to be a grand gesture. No need to devote your life to charity (although this would be wonderful). Small acts of kindness help you to feel good straight away. Helping that mother get her pushchair onto the train, helping someone with their work, always pass on a compliment. They'll feel better and so will you.

Tip 4. Gratitude

Grab a pen and write down three things you are grateful for today. Low mood can cause our mind to act like a sieve, filtering out the positives in life and leaving us with just the negatives. This short exercise can help to bring back a broader perspective and lift mood. If you find this helpful you can make even more use of this by making it part of your daily routine. When you get into bed at the end of the day, make a short list of things you have enjoyed, moments when you have felt close to someone else, and times you felt you have done well.

Tip 5. Nutrition

The food you put into your body has an impact on your mood and wellbeing. Today, try adding a banana to your breakfast. Firstly, having breakfast is important for waking your body up, fuelling your brain ready for action and reducing cravings for sugary snacks that give you dips in mood. Secondly, bananas have been shown to help produce those happy chemicals in your brain. Thirdly, it gets you closer to your five a day. So if you do nothing else today, eat a banana.

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Dr Julie Smith

Dr. Julie Smith, 'The Mind Doctor' is a Clinical Psychologist with several years of experience working in the field of mental health. She has put together a series of videos and articles as a self-help resource for a range of common problems.

Dr. Julie Smith is available online for private one-to-one sessions. For more information please email Julie@The-Mind-Doctor.com.

Website: www.The-Mind-Doctor.com

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