There is plenty in life that wants to grab you by the hand and drag you down. Shake it off and use these simple tricks to get you through the day. The beauty of these remedies is that they are all over-the-counter, no prescription necessary, easy to swallow and work almost immediately.
Most people think of grabbing a silly movie to make them laugh, but Ohio State University researchers found that tearjerkers are just as effective. In short, the sadder the plot, the happier you are later. So grab the tissues and a copy of "Steel Magnolias."
Doing volunteer work for those less fortunate puts your life into perspective. So read to preschoolers, work at a soup kitchen, walk shelter dogs, visit cancer patients or teach dance to inner-city kids. And if you can't find an hour or so every now and then, make a donation. It will feel almost as good.
Stop what you're doing and play an active game with your kids
Jump on the beds, play catch, throw a Frisbee, act out a play or have a tickle fest. This is a triple whammy. You feel better about yourself for giving time to them you release some endorphins by being active, and you are distracting yourself from what may be troubling you.
Cuddle an animal
This simple act of giving actually lowers blood pressure and slows down your racing mind.
Play the music you love and dance like no one is watching
Music is so personal and can take you back to happier days.
Have a snack
Low blood sugar can trigger irritability. There are a number of good options. Spicy food and dark chocolate releases endorphins, which is why I love chocolate with a little spicy pepper in it. Also incorporating a little protein in each meal or snack will help.
Step outside and take some deep breaths of fresh air
Let the sun beat down on you. Even breathing in the winter chill will rejuvenate your spirits.
Take a break
from the bad news on television and pick up a paper, instead. Reading a newspaperinstead of being assaulted by the repetitious onslaught of ratings-seeking broadcasters was reported as a key difference between most-and least-happy folks in a University of Maryland study.
and involve them in the process. Aromatherapy with lavender, German chamomile, ylang ylang, frankincense, palmarosa and sandalwood. Add some to a bubble bath. Turn down the lights and light some candles. Listen to some uplifting music. Look at beautiful paintings.
Use imagery and take a mini-vacation
Close your eyes. Imagine you are somewhere you want to be. Hear the sounds. Feel the cool breeze. Give yourself five minutes, and then resume your day a little happier.
Watch your diet
Try eating more foods rich in omega-3 fats. These foods have been shown to lift moods and can possibly alleviate depression. Omega-3 fats are found in oily fish like salmon or sardines, canola and olive oils, as well as flaxseeds and walnuts. Limit your intake of energy-draining processed, simple carbohydrates.
Take a walk
When I was at work, every time one of my co-workers would take a cigarette break, I took a walk. Any sort of exercise will release endorphins and leave you feeling more alert and ready to tackle your day. Here's a bonus: Studies have shown that three 10-minute walks burn more fat than one 30-minute walk.
Be creatively spontaneous
Do the unexpected. Put on a lively CD, grab your mate and start dancing while the kids cheer you on. Sing a song in the middle of the grocery store. Eat with your fingers. Tell a silly joke. Doing anything that even momentarily breaks you from your funk will alter your mood. If it delights someone else in the process, that joy grows exponentially.
Buy yourself some flowers or a small trinket
Don't spend a lot, just a little something to treat yourself. I had a friend who measured her depressions by her purchases. She would have a $500 dining room set depression or a $75 new jewelry depression. You don't have to go that far. Just a little gift to lift.
Turn to God
Read your scriptures. Listen to some hymns. Talk to him in prayer. Pour your heart out. Look for him in the beauty of nature or the eyes of your children.
Arm yourself with whatever tools it takes to keep functioning in a world that would love nothing better than to suck the life out of you. Don't wait until it gets unmanageable. Take a few minutes here and there throughout your day to keep your spirits high. You can do it.