Research has shown that happiness is determined by a combination of life circumstances (10%), what we choose to do (40%) and a genetic ‘set point’ (50%). It has been found each person has their own natural level or ‘set point’ of happiness. If something wonderful happens a person’s level of happiness will rise for a while and then drop back to this set point. When something devastating happens, their happiness will plummet but in time it will tend to return to their set point. When we are feeling down there are some things we can deliberately do in an attempt to improve our mood.
Go for a walk. This is especially effective if you can walk in a natural environment. If the sun is shining this is a plus.
If it is winter try to get a few minutes of sun to get a dose of Vitamin D. Just being outside in the light will help even if you can’t go for a walk. Open your blinds and let some natural light get inside.
Certain foods are likely to boost your mood. Wholegrain bread and dark chocolate contain the ‘happy’ hormone serotonin. Dark chocolate also increases blood flow to the brain which will improve both your mood and concentration. Chilli stimulates endorphins. Greek Yoghurt which is rich in calcium improves your mood.by making the brain release dopamine. Salmon, walnuts, peas, spinach, honey, eggs and tomatoes will also boost your mood.
Scent analysts claim perfumes containing orange or mandarin scents are best for boosting your mood. Lavender has a calming effect so may elevate your mood if you have been feeling stressed. Orange, mandarin or lavender body wash or scented candles should have the same positive effect.
Listen to music that makes you happy. This will be a personal choice, it could be music with an upbeat tempo or something relaxing.
Indoor plants tend to improve your mood because they remove pollutants from the air. Six plants scattered through an average size house is said to elevate mood. (On a different website I read the recommendation of one plant per ten square metres). The following are claimed to be particularly effective, Kentia Palm, Chinese Evergreen, Boston Fern, Philodendron, Spider Plant and Peace Lily. Spider Plants and Chinese Evergreen are hardy so these might be good choices if you don’t have a green thumb.
Cuddle a pet. Brush your pet or play with him or her.
Be spontaneous. Do something different. It may just be something small but breaking your routine will tend to make you feel happier.
Smile. The act of smiling will make you feel happier. Other people are likely to be more positive towards you if you smile and this will lift your mood further. Mother Theresa said, ‘Every time you smile at someone, it is an action of love, a gift to that person, a beautiful thing.’
Watch a comedy, read a book of jokes or spend time with a friend who makes you laugh.
Some days you may just be having a ‘down day’. You may try one or two things that usually make you feel better, but they don’t work today. It is okay to have a day here and there when you are feeling a bit down. Nobody feels happy all the time. Don’t try to complete difficult tasks today. It may be better to do more routine tasks. An early night might be a good idea. Tomorrow will be a new day.