Simple Ideas to Get Through a Difficult Day
(Heck – do these EVERY day!)
1. Get outside. Spending just 5 minutes outside can elevate mood and help you get through the day. Go outside for a few minutes during your lunch break.
2. Move. If you are working at your desk, make a point to get up and move your body every hour. Through deliberate body movement, we can influence our emotional states. This is a basic idea used in dance/movement therapy. Body movements associated with happiness, such as skipping, have been used to purposefully boost one’s mood. If you’re at a home office, skip from your office to the kitchen to get your lunch. If you’re at the office, shock your coworkers and skip down the hall! And if you don’t feel like skipping, don’t worry. Any kind of movement will help your emotional state.
3. Plan for enjoyment. Have something to look forward to at the end of the day. Get together with or plan a phone call with a good friend. Read a good book. Watch your favorite movie. Engage in your favorite physical activity. Eat a good meal.
4. Visualize. When you cannot escape your physical situation, escape with your mind. Visualize a favorite spot or experience. Remember it with as much detail as possible. Did you know that your brain cannot distinguish between living an event and remembering an event? The same feel-good neurotransmitters are firing, resulting in a boost in mood.
5. Hydrate. Drink plenty of water. One study found that drinking water decreased confusion, depression, and tension.
6. Smile. The act of smiling releases dopamine in your brain, which increases feelings of happiness. It also increases the release of serotonin, which is known to reduce stress and help the body relax. In turn, this lowers heart rate and blood pressure. And get this: it doesn’t even need to be a genuine smile. So if you’re feeling emotionally down in the dumps and have no reason to smile, then force one. The brain cannot distinguish the difference between a genuine smile or a forced smile. You can actually “trick” your brain to release serotonin and dopamine—and get yourself into an improved mood!