If you are human, there are times in your life that life gets you down. I won’t bore you with details of my life and how sometimes life gets me down, but I assure you, even the most upbeat people you know (even the ones you think have a perfect life on Facebook) get down sometimes. What do you do to reenergize when you are down?
When life gets you down, or when life hands you lemons, make lemonade! You’ve heard that expression, right? What if you don’t care so much for lemonade? Here are 5 ways to reenergize you and make you feel better, almost instantly, when you are feeling down.
Soak In Some Rays. Sound simple, right? But how much time do you actually spend outdoors these days? [And no, walking to your car from your front door doesn’t count!] Count the minutes or hours and you might be surprised as to how little time and how few rays you catch! Many, many of us do not get enough sunlight, for which there are several reasons. First, the last two-three generations have started to work more indoors than outdoors. Also, warnings about skin cancer, and increased instances of skin cancer, have people keep themselves and their kids indoors more. Yet natural sunlight is a free and available mood enhancer: it encourages us to produce vitamin D and protects us from seasonal mood changes. Read the science behind sunlight and mood here.
Move Your Body. Notice I didn’t write ‘exercise’, which I’d initially was going to, but since I know the word exercise shuts down some brain cells in certain people, I thought using the words ‘Move Your Body’ would be more appropriate. So what’s the deal? Getting up from a sitting or laying down position and moving will help change your mood. It gets your blood flowing and (bear with me, looking up all this science-y stuff) according to Harvard Medical School psychiatrist John Ratey, author of the book, ‘Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain’: "Exercise is the single best thing you can do for your brain in terms of mood, memory, and learning. Even 10 minutes of activity changes your brain." Read more in this article.
Hug Another Human. Quick, grab the person nearest to you as you are reading this and hold on to them for at least 20 seconds because… hugs boost oxytocin levels, which in turn heals feelings of loneliness and isolation. Oxytocin (a hormone) does more than make us feel good. It lowers the levels of stress hormones in the body, reducing blood pressure, improving mood, increasing tolerance for pain and perhaps even speeding how fast wounds heal. Have you hugged your human today?
Do Good. Really, that’s all? Yes, ‘help others to help yourself’. There’s no shortage of research showing that people who give time, money, or support to others are more likely to be happy and satisfied with their lives—and less likely to be depressed. How can make the world a better place and reenergize yourself and your life? You could volunteer, give money or give your support some other way.
Care for an animal. You do not have to be the owner of an animal to reap the benefits of caring for one! (Think: volunteering at an animal shelter by walking dogs…) While most pet owners experience the joys that come with sharing their lives with pets, many people remain unaware of the physical and mental health benefits that can also accompany the pleasure of caring for a furry friend. It’s only recently that studies have begun to scientifically explore the benefits of the human-animal bond. The American Heart Association has linked the ownership of pets, especially dogs, with a reduced risk for heart disease and greater longevity.
Now go out into the world and enjoy this fine day!