SOME DAYS DRAG ME DOWN.
I’ve a tendency to feel like getting back up requires dramatic change – an exotic holiday, a bigger house, a new relationship, a ‘better’ job – but actually, it’s usually the simple things that turn my days around. And often, if I keep at them, my years begin to take on an exciting new direction too. So if you’re in need of a long-term pick-me-up, here are five I’ve found to last:
This is such a game-changer! Our brains are built with a negativity bias which means we notice and respond to unpleasant thoughts and events much more frequently than positive ones. A gratitude practice re-directs your attention to the good and helps you feel so much better about life. From the touch of the loved one to the sun in the sky, there’s always something to smile about
2. HAVE FUN
Make life fun to find life fun! I know this sounds pretty obvious, but as we get older it’s tempting to shun play for productivity – and then wonder why we don’t feel very ‘alive’. What makes you feel happy, excited and connected? Surfing? Sewing? Singing? Do it! Our love for life grows in direct proportion to our engagement with it.
3. SLOW DOWN
If you don’t think you can fit ‘fun’ in, this is for you: you don’t need to do as much as possible, in as little time as possible. I know it can feel like society expects it of you, but ‘society’ isn’t in control of your life, you are – even when it doesn’t feel like it. Take time to chew your meals properly, enjoy a cup of tea without turning on the telly, read an article instead of skimming it (or don’t read it at all). You have to be present to experience life’s simple pleasures. Begin to slow down enough so that you are. Honestly, it changes everything!
4. OPEN UP TO FRIENDS
‘Connection is why we’re here; it is what gives purpose and meaning to our lives.’ – Brené Brown, Daring Greatly. More than anything we want to feel we that belong, and this means opening up to friends. We don’t need to tell every thing to every one, but if we can’t share our feelings with a (small) group of loved ones, we can’t experience the closeness that we crave. The next time a friend asks you how you are – a true friend – give them an honest answer. It will improve both your lives. I promise!
Have you ever noticed how much better you feel after exercise? And it doesn’t need to be a lot. Really. A 20 minute school run is all it takes for me to feel more positive about life, and no, it’s not because I’m dropping off the kids for the day! I Walking’s a double-win because getting into nature’s good for us too, but go for the kind of exercise you’d enjoy the most – swim, dance, trampoline… This is a great opportunity to be yourself and have some fun (see #2).
Can you add to the list? If you’re happy to share what works for you, let us know in the comments below!