Ever since Allen(not his real name) was laid off from his job, he worked hard to find a new position. His day started at 7am. He was showered, fed and at his desk by 8am. He had a full day of sending out resumes, researching companies and contacting resources to help him secure a position as soon as possible. In between job search activities he worked on chores that needed to be done around the house. Because of the economy, the companies in his field just weren’t hiring so the weeks turned into months of hard, fruitless work. Like many people, Allen was raised to put work before pleasure so he naturally set having fun low on his list of priorities. Before long Allen’s daily routine felt more and more like pure drudgery and his mood was so low he wondered if any company would want to talk to him let alone hire him.
What's Your Mood?
Think about a time when you felt hopeful, excited or eager to do something. Did you experience a lightness, a lift in your mood? Was it easier to do the daily tasks, even the most unpleasant ones, because of the mood you were in? Wouldn’t it be nice to access that lighter more energetic feeling when you needed it most?
Well here are five easy ways to lift your mood that don’t cost a thing and take only a few minutes of your time:
1. Go outside. Even if you only have the time or energy to walk down the driveway or around the block, take a moment to breath in fresh air, feel the air on your skin and possibly the sunshine on your face. Find just one thing in nature you think is beautiful. Maybe a bright green blade of grass or an amazing multi colored bug to place your gaze. Fill your senses with the fullness in nature. Notice how each of these simple behaviors affects your mood. If it’s too subtle a shift try taking a brisk walk to notice more of a lift.
2. Write down five things you are glad about. Pollyanna had something here. What is it that you like about your life? Our minds naturally focus on what’s wrong, what needs to be fixed. It’s a survival mechanism in the wiring on our brains to detect danger. Because of this we are more likely to focus on what is wrong in our lives. When we intentionally bring our focus to what’s good about our lives we can change our mood and our perspective going from a survivalist mentality to really living.
3. See the world through the eyes of a child or pet. Even if you don’t have a child or a pet in your life. Use your imagination. Get down on your hands and knees. What is the world like from this perspective? What would it feel like if you were experiencing this view, this taste, this texture for the first time? Delight in everything you see and feel just like an innocent child or pet would do. Then notice the shift.
4. Play a game. Yes, work is important but all work is out of balance. When is the last time you really had fun playing a game? Throw a ball up in the air, or in a hoop. How about a quick game of solitaire or a crossword puzzle? Think about a game you may have played in your childhood that you loved to immerse yourself in. Invite a friend to join in the fun. Let go of any competition even with yourself. Notice how even a few minutes of play can help you shift your mood.
5. Laugh. Even if it’s a fake laugh. Try it and see how it feels. Do you feel silly, lighter than a moment ago? Good. With Laughter Yoga growing in popularity more and more people are seeing the value in humor. If the shift is too subtle try reading the comics or watching a comedy.
It’s just plain unrealistic to expect to feel happy and in a good mood all the time. If you have been stuck in routine that feels heavy and your mood is more often dark than light, take a moment to see how a little fun can create a shift in your mood.
Taking action to intentionally affect your feelings can help you realize how changeable a mood can be. Taking a moment to implement even one of these five things will bring you closer to a more balanced, joyous life. But please remember if you or someone you love has crossed the line from a bad mood to anxiety or depression don’t wait to get the help you need by calling a professional today.
Contact info: Elle Garfield, ACSW Awareness Counseling 248-961-4081 email@example.com