Some people, it seems, are just born with a more optimistic attitude and outlook, while others focus on the gloom and doom. The research on optimism fills volumes and I wanted to give you some quick tips on practicing safe stress, being more happy and how to be in a better mood for the holidays and every day. It may take more effort during the blustery gray, rainy/snowy days of winter amidst the holiday bustle; but well worth it for your own well-being and for the sake of others in your path. Our energy is contagious – just ask Caesar Milan – the Dog Whisperer – our energy is everything to a dog…and to your neighbors, co-workers and your spouse and friends.
Since your time is short, I’ll make this snappy:
- Get moving – I prefer to think of it as “activity” vs. “exercise” – it just seems more palatable to people to relieve stress and release endorphins. It can be a full-blown cardio/strength/flexibility workout or a brisk walk in the park or even mall walking (before the stores open and before the crowds arrive). If you haven’t tried Zumba or hip hop classes – the music alone will put you in a good mood, even if you’re out of breath.
- Eat breakfast and include protein – some research says eating 60% more protein if you’re lifting weights – donuts don’t count.
- Be smart about your diet, less white stuff, more color, more water-content food/drink, variety and healthy. Enjoy some of your favorite good mood foods in moderation – whatever that may be, cookies, mac and cheese, eggnog, dark chocolate…. think comfy food.
- Hug it out – physical affection and the power of touch helps with happiness – petting a puppy or kitten can help lower blood pressure and calm your nerves.
- Get outside – breathe in fresh air, get out in the woods and catch the negative ions from the pine trees -leave your cell and texting activities in your pocket – this is about nature and you communing and not about you tweeting that you’re in the woods.
- Be in the moment, experience it fully and decide what types of moments you want to have. Don’t like crowds – then avoid the mall, agitated in line – change the time of day for this activity. Stressed over the big holiday feast – suggest a nice restaurant or change it up. Financially stressed about all the gifts you need to get – let everybody know you’re opting out of unfettered consumerism this year and want a pot-luck social gathering instead – don’t fret about the future. Choose wisely where your brain is and focus on the here and now.
- Be grateful – fear goes out the back door when gratitude walks in the front door. Decide to be in a state of grace and gratitude and you will be granted more things to be grateful for.
- Say nice things to others – compliments share positive energy and that’s contagious. Help make the holiday bright with sincere positive praise.
- Focus on making happy memories – invest in experiences and bring others along for the ride. Shared experiences amp up the positive vibe.
10. Listen to upbeat music, dance, sing.
11. Play with your pet or visit a dog park and delight in their bouncing energy.
12. Smile more and stand/sit up straight – good posture promotes elevated spirits. Smiling stimulates the thymus gland, which produces T-cells, which means people who are smiling get sick less often and feel better than those who don’t smile. Smiling is also contagious. At least a hundred studies on how smiling can actually lift your mood – it fakes out your body into thinking it’s happier.
13. Wear comfortable shoes – comfy clothes too. Comfy doesn’t equal sloppy or baggy – when you feel better about your looks and your looks feel better, everybody is happier. A recent survey found 41% of women felt happier when they felt prettier. I’m guessing the men felt happier too.
14. Cashmere, cashmere, cashmere – who couldn’t be in a better mood when you slip on some cashmere?
15. Friends, friends, friends – in any way shape or form of personal contact and socialization elevates our energy. Choose positive friends and be a positive friend – nobody likes being around negative people.
16. Avoid over-obligations and over-scheduling, especially during the holidays. If you need a holiday from the holidays, you missed the point.
17. Laugh out loud – cultivate your sense of humor. As a Certified Laughter Leader who studied how laughter and fun affect us in positive ways; it actually changes your brain chemicals and changes the chemical make-up in your blood. They’ve found markers in your blood which change even when you anticipate a good time or a funny movie or fun activity – even days before the activity.
18. Be kind – kindness also changes your blood chemistry and raises serotonin, which counter-acts depression. Whether you are the giver, receiver or witnessing by-stander, kindness works.
19. Positive self-talk – it’s a tried and true tip to blast yourself with positive self-talk and avoid beating yourself up through your self-talk. Our mindset is EVERYTHING. Our behavior starts with our thoughts – choose wisely to change your outcomes.
20. Try something new – enjoy beginner’s brain again and experience some wonder and awe in your life – discover something new you didn’t know how to do before: cooking, weaving, skiing, dog-sledding, volunteering, wearing red lipstick, painting, riding a unicycle or Zumba.
21. Upbeat live entertainment: comedy clubs, karaoke, theatre, ballet, concerts, coffee shop guitarists and children’s plays.
22. DECIDING to be in a good mood – just change your mind to change your energy and you can change your life and also change the energy of those around you. Your colleagues and friends will thank you.
23. Get plenty of sleep, or take naps. Most Americans get far too little sleep – no wonder we’re a nation of tired and cranky people. It’s hard to be in a good mood if you’re completely exhausted. Can you get help, delete some of your chores, set boundaries, close the door, do not disturb.
24. Keep a check on what you watch on TV or view on your computer or listen to over the airwaves – we’re bombarded with negativity.
25. Outsource the things you don’t enjoy or are not comfortable doing, barter or negotiate something different. Hire somebody to do whatever is not in your zone of excellence or genius and pay them for their skills to make both of you happier.
26. Volunteer to help out your community, a favorite cause or favorite place – being of service serves all involved and puts you in a better mood to feel needed and worthy and that what you’re doing matters.
That’s enough to get you started on the right path to save yourself this holiday and every day you want a little mood lifter. And as a gift to you, 1 extra tip…always give more than expected! A happy life is just a bunch of happy moments and good moods all strung together. I invite you to create your own list or maybe cut your list into strips and put in a jar. Whenever you’re feeling low, grab a piece of paper with one of your activities or ideas on it and do it right then.
Here’s to happier holidays by practicing some safe stress and being purposeful about putting yourself in a good mood. Everybody else wants you there as well. Cheers!
As the CEO (Chief Energizing Officer) at Hartful Living including GaiaHart.com and BizBuilderCards.com; I’m a Messenger and Mentor for women entrepreneurs, connecting them to their capacity to energize their work and their lives in the art of living Hartfully. At BizBuilderCards.com, you can make a living through giving with greeting cards and gifts to build your network net worth as an additive to your current business or an easy way to send gratitude and kindness to the world.