I had another article planned for this week, but decided this morning I needed to post this one. I’m taking a detour lead by faith ….
It’s been a heavy week; conversations of divorce, teen suicide and a close friend on life support. I decided to post this article to honor those in my life who are walking through some difficult times. These are things everyone encounters at some time or another, stress is a reality of life, and something that can overtake the healthiest person if gone unchecked. I am not a master of stress management or grief counseling, although I’ve put plenty of principles into practice. Many of these are things that I teach in corporate seminars and my yoga classes.
Stress has a definite impact on our physical body, practice different techniques to see what works for you.
Do you know how to breathe? One simple mood lifter is to just breathe, exhale (#8). Surprisingly, we often hold our breath in times of stress or anxiety, when our body needs to release tension. While a full breath is most important, the exhale of your breath is the activity that helps your body relax. It’s a simple technique, just exhale longer than you inhale. You can count to 4 as you inhale, then exhale for 6 counts, inhale for 6, then exhale for 8. Repeat this for several breaths and notice how it clears your mind. This simple breath can alleviate tension, anxiety and ease depression even if for a few minutes. It can help with mental clarity and your concentration.
Just cry Of course there are times when nothing will lift your mood for the time being, like the loss of a loved one. There are circumstances where just crying it out and talking with someone are required in order to heal emotionally. Many things take time, and crying is emotionally cleansing to our body.
Simplify These little activities can often put a smile on your face, as well as someone else’s when you fully participate in life. What matters with all of these is that you put your heart into them. Don’t just do it for the sake of crossing another thing off your “to do” list. One reason these things can help boost your mood is they help us divert our attention away from our circumstances. While you don’t want to live always avoiding conflict, it’s healthy to give your body and mind a break from the stresses of day to day life, especially if you are in the midst of a crisis. Minutes do matter! It’s better to lift your mood in an activity 10-20 minutes a day rather than waiting all week and getting all your play in on a Saturday night and trying to change your perspective in one evening. Better yet, apply some of these principles to your daily activities whether work or chores around the house. When you go about your daily routine, notice the beauty around you, the simple things. Observe your surroundings, notice the snow flakes falling (and forget about shoveling for 10 minutes!), look at the texture of the clouds and the deep colors of the sky. Take notice of children & pets, they often have a carefree attitude that is often contagious.
Wait I just want to explain #7 a little, practicing delayed gratification. Our culture encourages self-gratification. We can eat whenever we want, get most things we want within a day if not hours or minutes depending on our resources and as a culture we really don’t wait for much. The old adage that absence makes the heart grow fonder is filled with wisdom. So often we think we will be happy if we get what we want, fast. The sooner the better, and the sooner we’ll be happy, when in reality we often become let down, right? It seems counter-intuitive, but really works. When you wait for something you’ll often be happier with the result. So whether it’s eating that hot fudge sunday (right now) or opening a package you got in the mail, practice delayed gratification so you don’t always expect to get what you want instantaneously. It’s a little exercise in practicing gratitude and enjoying the present moment (that’s while it’s called “the present” right?!)
So here’s my full list of little things that can boost your mood for this week:
Having a pure home and body involves your mind as well,our thoughts are powerful and have a huge impact on our health. What are you going to do this week to lift your mood? Have a wonderful weekend!