Wow, we’ve almost reached the end of 2010! I’m astonished by how fast it’s gone by. Holidays are just around the corner. It is happy time for some, and depressing time for others, depending on your circumstances and state of mind. One year I was alone on Christmas Eve, ready to watch TV, eat some takeout, and call it a night, when a friend called and asked me to join his ad hoc band of carolers. We went door-to-door singing Christmas carols to strangers. It was kind of crazy, but we had a blast. To this day, it’s still one of the most memorable Christmases I’ve ever had.
So I thought, “Why don’t I compile a list of things we can do to give our mood a little lift during the holidays, and for other times when we need it?” Here is my list of 5 natural mood-lifters – absolutely free!
The opposite of depression is expression. The blues often result from a pattern of suppressing and then repressing feelings. Letting out those feelings will certain help lift your mood. Release your feelings through art, music, dance, or anything creative. Be bold, crazy and wild. Do something you would never allow yourself to do in normal circumstances – but of course something harmless to others.
Be with people
Hang out with friends. Get together with people to talk, laugh and relax, you’ll be stirring up those feel-good neurotransmitters. Another year I spent my Christmas Eve with total strangers at a local Coffee Bean. Still, there was a sense of union and bonding – even with people I didn’t know, and have never seen again.
Make someone’s day
The joy is in the giving. It’s true! When you make someone else feel good, you will feel good naturally. Buy a cup of coffee for someone lining up behind you, help someone with his or her groceries, or volunteer. Research at Cornell University found that volunteering increases a person’s energy, sense of mastery over life (a measure of happiness), and self-esteem.
Researchers have discovered that smiling is so powerful a happiness booster that our mood improves any time we turn up the corners of our mouth. So you can fake it until you make it – to genuine happiness.
Laugh until you almost cry
Laughter is the best mood-lifter there is. Researchers at Cornell University have discovered that watching even five minutes of a funny movie made people feel happier. Order a list of your favorite comedies from Netflix and laugh at the silly scenes. Better yet, invite some friends over and laugh together. Laughter is highly contagious!!
Happiness is within us, and it doesn’t have to cost anything to acquire it.