Get Happy With Everyday Ease
This article was written by Blake Miller and was featured in our April issue of Home By Design magazine. To visit the original Home By Design article and view more photos, click here.
Feeling down and out these days? Don’t fret. “The good news is: you can boost your mood with uncomplicated, actionable lifestyle changes and coping skills,” says Lindsey Konchar, MSW, LGSW, and owner of Coping with Lindsey. “Self-awareness is one of the best traits a person can possess. When we are aware of our mood and how or when it changes, we can more easily get ourselves back to baseline (aka feel better, faster).” Adds Rayna Sanghvi, PhD, a licensed clinical psychologist: “We can’t change our mood states without being aware of the specificity of our emotions. This could be to help change our emotions to positive, or being aware of our positive moods to incorporate gratitude and appreciation in our day-to-day life.”
In the market for a positive change? Here’s how to get started with boosting your mood today.
Try Body Scanning.
Body scanning, also known as Benson’s Technique, is a quick and easy form of mindfulness practice, says Konchar. “In layman’s terms, we use our brain to connect with internal body sensations.”
Extensive research supports that body scanning can lower anxiety and, in turn, boost your mood. In a 2019 study, emergency department patients who utilized the body scanning technique showed improved anxiety scores versus those who did not. While another study found that body scanning and the antidepressant medication Citalopram had similar effects on improving the symptoms of anxiety and depression.
Luckily, body scanning is simple and “very discrete,” says Konchar. “You can do this at your work desk without anyone even noticing.” To get started, sit or lie comfortably, and bring awareness to each region of the body. Start at your feet and move up through your legs, abdomen, arms, shoulder, neck, all the way to your head. If your focus shifts, acknowledge it, and come back to the body scan.
Write a Gratitude List.
Gratitude has become a bit of a buzzword, but for good reason. A study from UC Berkeley found that those who wrote gratitude letters reported significantly better mental health afterward. Studies such as this suggest that gratitude lists can be beneficial for boosting your overall mood. Just 23 percent of participants who wrote gratitude letters actually sent them; however, those who didn’t still reaped the mood-boosting benefits of gratitude.
Researchers found that approximately twelve weeks of gratitude writing would improve overall mental health. But keep at it even longer and it’ll surely result in a positive result, they say (for you, and those whom you thank).
Find Something in Your Control.
“Our mood is all too often dictated by things and people other than ourselves,” says Konchar. “The fastest way to bring ourselves back to baseline is to figure out what is in our control. One of the ways to do this is to clean up your physical surroundings, which in turn, will clean up your mental mess.” According to the Association for Consumer Research, it’s common to use object ownership to satisfy psychological needs, reward oneself, and flaunt social status. But the reality is, overconsumption can ultimately have a negative effect on mood.
“Not only does too much stuff make us feel dejected, but when that stuff is disorganized, we feel out of control,” says Konchar, and that can wreak havoc on our mindset. Organizing both physical and mental spaces can leave you feeling satisfied, calm, and in a better mood overall. Take one afternoon to sort through and donate unused clothes or cleanup your office desktop. Or, make and effort to tidy up one space per day. That act can go a long way in boosting your mood for the afternoon and the future.
|HOW COLOR AFFECTS YOUR MOOD
|The phenomenon of color and mood has been studied for centuries, most recently with famed Swiss psychologist and psychiatrist Carl Jung. Jung once said, “colors are the mother tongue of the subconscious”; and his research eventually led him to create art therapies to help patients overcome trauma. While there’s research that suggests our brains are hardwired to like or dislike certain colors, we know that we subconsciously associate certain colors with character traits, feelings, and moods. Generally, colors evoke moods, including:
While it’s not a hard-and-fast rule, it is something to take into consideration when choosing a hue for an interview, a paint color, or even a car. “When our mood changes to positive, we have happy hormones running through or body like dopamine, serotonin, and endorphins,” explains Rayna Sanghvi, PhD.