Posted : February 19, 2019
Despite being the shortest month of the year, February has a way of taking a really long time to go away.
Sometimes described as the Algebra Class of Months, you’ll often hear comments like “How is it only Tuesday?” or, “I feel like today is February 72nd”.
It’s grey. It’s cold. And we’re pale. So if you’re feeling a little down these days, know that you’re not alone. The good news is, there are some quick and easy things we can do to pull ourselves out of this little rut – and you’re about to get the inside scoop.
Smile. Even If You Have To Fake It
Neuroscience has proven that if you turn the edges of your lips upwards, and force those grumpy lips into the shape of a smile - for at least 14 seconds, it will trick your brain into thinking that you’re happy and release chemicals that will make you feel happier.
So go ahead and turn that frown upside down :)
Brighten Things Up
Ignore that black sweater and wear some colour! Treat yourself to a vibrant bouquet of flowers, sit by a window, and replace some of the light bulbs in your life, with those that simulate natural daylight.
Mix Business with Pleasure
Paul Dolan, author of the book Happiness By Design, explains that every day of your life consists of a mix of activities that you tend to regard as pleasurable or purposeful. For example, binge watching the newly released season of your favorite show, is pleasurable. While creating a presentation for your work, is purposeful.
To get the most joy out of your day, it’s best to alternate pleasurable activities with purposeful ones.
For example, you can try to consciously integrate pleasure breaks into your day; like scheduling a coffee break with a colleague who’s personality inspires you, or taking a break to read a book you’ve been meaning to get to. Find the mix that works for you, and literally put it into your schedule.
It’s cold and you just sprinted into the door. Why on earth would you voluntarily go out?
You'll go because the fresh air and light is good for you! (even if the sun has failed to make an appearance).
It might be a shock for the first few minutes, but if you wear the right jacket and shoes, once you get going you’ll notice that it starts to feel good, like really good.
“The key to being happier is to pay more attention to what makes you happy,
and less attention to what doesn’t.”
Pay Attention to the Good Things
As we go about our days, we tend to give more attention to the stressful projects, or the novelties, rather than the routines in our lives – which can make us forget to cherish the good things we engage in on a daily basis.
Feeling happy isn’t so much about changing what we do, but about what we turn our attention to. How amazing does it feel to hug some of the special people in your life? Notice how great it can be to chug a refreshing glass of water, or to simply flip a switch and have a room fill with light. You’ve got more good going on in your life than you know.
Notice When You’re Engaging in Negative Thoughts and Conversations
It can be fun to moan and groan about the weather, or to complain with your colleagues about that one person in your office who just doesn’t seem to pull their weight, or to replay in our heads that frustrating interaction.
But complaining about things, or over-thinking about them doesn’t make things any better - it actually makes things even worse. For you. Causing stress, tension, and depression.
If you notice yourself engaging in a negative conversation you’ve already had, or ruminating about something you’ve already ruminated about - change the subject, or walk away - diverting your attention to something that will make you feel good instead.
Drink More Water
Your brain is 90% water, and it needs to be hydrated, and plump, and lubricated to work efficiently. Without the water, your thought processes are strained, you make more mistakes, and you’re simply less efficient. Drink more water and your day will go more smoothly.