Life is stressful and hard. There are, however, little cheats you can do for yourself to improve your mood and release stress.
Go for a walk. Being outdoors is good for you. Exercising is good for you and releases all sorts of good chemicals in your brain. You need sunlight, you need fresh air, and you need to remember that not all the world looks like your cubicle. Even if it’s just for 5 minutes, it’ll change how you feel for hours.
Hug somebody. It might make you cry, especially if you haven’t been hugged in a little while. That’s fine. Hug somebody who loves you. Hug somebody who likes you enough to let you hug them. Hug your coworker or one of those “FREE HUGS” guys. Hug an old lady on the subway and run (no, don’t do that). Cuddling is another thing that confusing your brain into feeling great. You can also rub your feet or the fleshy part of your hand between your thumb and forefinger for a little jolt of relaxation.
Talk to yourself. Literally. Do it out loud if you have to. Talk to all of your selves – past, present and future. Acknowledge that your past self made some mistakes and tell that past self that it’s OK. They’re forgiven. Your past self also did some nice things for you: she applied to jobs and took French classes and hugged your dog when he was old and sickly. These are things that make present you feel better now. Tell your future self that you’re going to do them some favors. You love your future self! Your future self is the one that’s going to be head of the first fashion magazine run from space, you’ve got to take good care of her. She’s really nice and really powerful and she couldn’t have done it without present you and past you. And tell your present self that you’re doing the best you can and it’s going to be OK and that the best thing present you can do is forgive and thank the best and do sweet things for future you. Listen to her, too. What does she need? What does she want? How does she feel? Your relationship with yourself is the most important one you’ll ever have, you should communicate.
Mini-meditations. Real meditation is hard. It sounds scary. You have to sit in an awkward position on the mat on the floor and stop thinking about lunch. Pretty much impossible. But mini-meditation? That you can do in the shower and requires almost no guidance. Here’s what you do: breathe in and think of a positive thing. In with the good. Breathe out and get rid of a negative thing. Out with the bad. You can even just think, “In with the good, out with the bad.” That’s fine. Whatever you come up with, and no judgment on what comes out. This feels great and helps purge negative energy. Plus, deep breathing really relaxes you. On a personal note, this and a good Italian restaurant basically carried me through one very hard summer.
Treat yourself. Whatever that means to you, do it. Every now and then, pretend you’re on vacation. If you can afford a splurge, splurge a little.
If you do all of these things, you will become enlightened and start glowing. Well, maybe not, but you’ll notice a marked improvement in your mood, and when your mood is better, your life gets better (and you’ll be more able to see how great your life is)!
And here’s a bonus one:
Drink water, eat on time. Do I really have to say this? I think yes. Drinking water and eating like a human are so important for your mood. If the body’s not happy, ain’t nobody happy.
Adapted from this very helpful reddit comment: http://www.reddit.com/r/getdisciplined/comments/1q96b5/i_just_dont_care_about_myself/cdah4af
This meditation originally adapted from something read in “Eat, Pray, Love” by Elizabeth Gilbert.