As happens with all of our lives, we get busy. We run from point A to B, then C, D, E….the list goes on. Focusing on the tasks that need to be completed, we often lose sight of our goals, our dreams and our ambitions. Forever stuck in a revolving rut, we forget to find joy in the little things.
So our blog for today is simple; find at least one thing that will make you smile.
A simple smile is one of the most powerful gestures in the world. An outward sign of contentment and happiness that can be inspiring to someone who has temporarily lost their way. What is that old saying, “A smile makes the world go round?” Ok, ok – so maybe that’s not how the saying goes, but it sure sounded great! Even a forced smile can have positive impact on a person’s mood. In tests, those who smiled exhibited a lower heart rate than those who maintained a neutral expression.
But, what if you don’t feel like smiling….not to worry! We have you covered.
- Start Your Day with Nature
Studies show that exposure to natural sunlight boosts your mood, so think about having your morning beverage outdoors. Check messages or emails from a park bench or patio deck. Anything to get you outside and into nature.
- Get to the Gym
I know, I know…this is one of the least exciting tips for me personally, but it’s no surprise that endorphins released by exercising can improve your mood and lift your spirits IMMEDIATELY. If you aren’t exactly committed to the idea of waking up an hour earlier, or spending your lunch break on the treadmill, try taking the stairs instead of the elevator or take a parking space in the back of the lot.
- Humor Your Funny Bone
Every office has at least one funny guy (or gal). Take a walk over to someone guaranteed to make you laugh when you need a pick-me-up. Five minutes with a fun and energetic co-worker can make all the difference. If you aren’t in the office, call up someone known to crack jokes or tell crazy stories, even if they are embellished a bit. It’s in the name of humor!
- Do Something Nice for Yourself
Sometimes, we get stuck in the mindset of spending time on others, making sure they have what they need plus a little more. But we often end up forgetting to help ourselves. So grab your favorite cup of coffee on your way out, read a good book at lunch, put your earbuds in and take a break from the world…something that can help you recharge your batteries and highlight the ‘me’ time.
- Visually Represent Your Blessings
Ok, so this one is a real saying, ‘Count Your Blessings.’ Mentally ticking off the things that you’re grateful for is a start, but out of sight out of mind. Instead, try writing them down once a week. Keep this list in a drawer or on a desk that is a little out of the way so that when you come across it again in a few days, it really is a reminder of the wonderful things in your life.
- Listen to Music and SING
If you drive anywhere, the noise coming from your car speakers has most likely become background music, but you can actually turn that noise into an activity that is not only spontaneous, but can bring immense joy and a sense of adventure. Create a playlist of your favorite music, pump up the volume and sing along until you reach your destination. Sing at stop signs and red lights, in parking spaces and traffic jams…you won’t be able to stop smiling once you get out of your vehicle.
- Take a Different Route to Work
Mix up the monotony and avoid the interstate and those same old boring roads. Calculate a different path or just head in a different direction before you turn on the GPS for some back roads exploring. You may add a few minutes to your commute, but you could find something fun and interesting like a new deli or bakery, a park, nature walk, place to go jogging or biking, or cute new neighborhood you didn’t know existed.
- Eat Something Delicious
Sigh….this one is so hard for some people. The need to adhere to modern beauty standards is at an all time high and the diet fads are borderline cultish. However, if you are gutsy enough to put a few extra calories in your regimen, go out and try something new! Food is a true unifier of people. Unless you are a salad, no dressing, don’t even let that bread touch me kind of person, you can find a world of possibilities with local restaurants, tasting menus and local festivals. Grab a friend, go find the nearest food truck and try something new. I bet it will be delicious!
- Stay off Social Media
The irony here is not wasted on us since you are probably reading this on Facebook or LinkedIn, but the science doesn’t lie! If you are one of those people that checks for likes, comments and shares in the morning, you may be hurting your overall wellbeing. Research has found that people who use Facebook experience negative emotions associated with their time online. So stay away! Instead, spend your time waking up your mind, enjoying your morning beverage and opening your eyes and mind to the world. The constant assault of news, media and information is not imperative to your day and certainly not your happiness.
- Spend Time with Loved Ones
We aren’t saying to sacrifice your mental stability and spend time with Aunt Gertrude who has a fondness for finding faults, but instead spend time with family that makes you smile and makes you feel connected and loved. Whether it’s at home with your spouse or children, a lunch date with a sibling or parent, a friend that has been in your life since childhood, a cousin, whoever it is, this time is extremely valuable and should be prioritized. So whether you have to plan it into your calendar or you jump in your car right now (and sing along the way!), make sure that you spend as much time as possible with people who actually make you happy.
Now, if you will excuse me, I am off to sing my way to my next adventure.