We all have those days, when a dark cloud settles in, leaving us feeling a little irritable or like a full blown grade A biotch. Could be PMS, could be a draining day at work, could be other people’s drama bringing us down-whatever it is-you’ve got the control to pull yourself out of a funk anytime, anywhere. Empowering, right? Try some or ALL of these amazing tips to GTFO out of your pity party and into a happier place.
I know it might sound cliche or overused in the self help world, but gratitude seriously works. Devote a few moments each day to think about what you appreciate in your life to instantly be in a more positive mindset. Dopamine and serotonin are released in your brain, as you begin to create a new neurological pattern. From a scientific point of view, neurons that fire together, wire together. Meaning that if we’re constantly focusing on the negative things in life, we’ll strengthen our habit of seeing life through that dark lens. If we start to create new positive patterns in our brains-even after just 21 days of gratitude-it will become second nature to automatically look for all the awesome things in our lives.
Show yourself some love and pencil time into your busy schedule to do the things that make your heart happy. Whether that’s treating yourself to a mani & pedi, indulging in some chick-lit or spending the afternoon at a cute cafe…do it. You’re so worth it.
Get your Dopamine Flowing
Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that controls the reward and pleasure center in our brains. It also plays a key role in our motivation, focus and productivity levels. Learning something new or working toward a goal can boost your dopamine. What’s something you’re interested in, but have never taken the time to learn about? What’s a personal goal you have been putting off? Now is the time to check this off your list. Your diet and lifestyle choices can also increase this feel good chemical. Opt for proteins, avocados, bananas, watermelon, peanuts, olive oil, green leafy veggies, and green tea. Listening to music, indulging in a therapeutic massage, practicing meditation, regular sleep, Vit D, and exercise have all shown to also increase this happy chemical.
Write it Out
Journaling about what is irking us will bring those feelings to the surface. Expressing them in writing can be therapeutic and may give you the relief and clarity you need to work through the issues.
Meditation can be a little intimidating, probably because it’s rare for us to sit still, without our phones and be alone with our thoughts. The benefits are amazing, from anti aging to improved health. Read more in my previous post. What stands out to me is that meditation changes our brain chemistry. By activating the prefrontal cortex in our brain and shutting off the amygdala, the fight or flight response, it decreases stress and builds the receptors that manage it. Mediation could not be more accessible. There are a ton of apps to help you get started in your practice or you can search for guided meditations online. There are even contemporary meditation studios popping up, such as Unplug in Los Angeles or Chill in Chicago. The question really is, Why aren’t you meditating?
This is one of the slowest moving, most calming forms of yoga. Don’t expect an intense workout, this is all about stretching and holding poses for a long time, allowing your muscles and your mind to deeply relax. Bolsters, blocks and blankets are used to create comfort. When we’re stressed, our fight of flight stress response is in overdrive. And remember, the body does not know the difference between the stress of an overdue project versus the stress of running from a bear. See how stress can take a toll on our bodies and mind? Restorative yoga activates our parasympathetic nervous system, which creates an overall calming effect and keeps our stress levels in check. So, breathe in that positive energy.
Stop Your Negative Thinking in it’s Tracks
Cognitive Behavior Therapy or CBT interrupts your negative thought patterns that are impacting your emotions and behaviors. Basically, if you engage in negative self talk, you kick off a really bad cycle. Here is an some examples of how this works.
Kayla can’t stand her boss and it’s impacting her performance at her marketing job. She really loves her job, but she can’t see how she can work under someone who is so unfair.
Thought: “I can’t stand my boss. She is so unfair and I’ll never get a promotion.”
Emotions: Anger, frustration, hurt, depressed etc.
Behaviors: She is emotionally drained and tired causing her to not be productive at work. Her numbers start to decrease. She starts spending time during work looking for a new job. She says negative things she later regrets to her coworkers or boss.
It’s a pretty ugly cycle, so why not change it up? This is going to be tough, but try reframing the situation by replacing the negative thought with something positive. Kayla might tell herself, “I can’t control what my boss does or says, but I’m not going to let her get in the way of my goals. I’m going to keep working hard and killing it at work, keeping records of all my successes. Eventually, I will get a promotion or a better offer from another company and I won’t have to report to her.” This way of thinking allows Kayla (and you) to stay in a high energy, positive place and to not sabotage your goals.
Even if you’re not a budding artist, you can find some way to channel your creativity and get into your flow. A creative flow is when you’re so immersed in what you’re writing, building or creating that time seems to stand still. Not only does it feel good to admire your accomplishments, even if they aren’t exactly Pinterest worthy, but art is a form of reflection and self expression. So start working on a DIY project and release all the BS holding you down.
Take a walk, hit the gym or do a quick workout video on youtube-anything to get your endorphins pumping! Exercise has been shown to reduce stress, decrease anxiety and depression, increase self esteem and improve sleep. Feel better and look hotter? Win-win.
Change it Up
Sometimes our lives can feel a bit routine, causing us to feel stagnant. Rather than living on autopilot, spice things up. Try something new that excites you. It can be as small as trying out a new restaurant to as grand as planning a trip to a different country. The point is to shake things up to rediscover the big (and small) joys in your life.