We can blame it on our generation, technology or maybe even our unceasing ambition (hey, nothing wrong with that), but there’s no denying that us as humans aren’t the easiest people to please. Employees are jumping from job to job more quickly, singles looking to settle down are few and far between, and bigger, better and faster technologies have us always looking for the next best thing.
While we’re all about holding high standards for ourselves, this constant desire for things to improve has created an inability for us to feel truly comfortable with anything. And although we all inherently know that any level of perfection cannot be reached, that doesn’t exactly help feelings of happiness and self-satisfaction. Inspirational speaker Mitch Williams explains that “without inner peace, as well as peaceful relationships, any so-called happiness we may experience will most often be more about striving, wanting and fleeting moments of self-aggrandizement and ego gratification. Peace is the foundation of any true happiness, and it’s only from a place of peaceful balance and equilibrium that we have the insight necessary to take truly effective action to address the various challenges of life.”
How to find balance
So how can we still reach for the stars, but feel at peace while on our way up? Experts emphasize the importance of having this balance in our everyday life and how anyone can achieve it:
Practice feelings of gratitude
Having gratitude towards many aspects of your life can help you feel more at peace with where you are now. Plus, it’s a pretty easy habit to pick up! Start your mornings by thinking of a few things you’re grateful for each day, or even pick up a gratitude journal if that helps you stay focused. Kathy Walsh, parenting expert and founder of Joyohboy, says “gratitude journals can help us all focus on the good. Going to bed with positive thoughts and a heart filled with gratitude helps aid in a restful night’s sleep. It really is the key to a peaceful heart and a joyful life.”
Exercisers are used to being told to breathe, but it’s pretty vital for your mental health, too. Clinical hypnotist Scott Schmaren explains,“By controlling our body, by controlling our breath, we induce what is called ‘the relaxation response’ in our brain and our minds begin to slow down and become more peaceful. When you control the physiology of our body, our minds and emotions follow along.” Practicing deep inhales and exhales are a great first step to giving yourself peace of mind and—best part—can easily be done no matter where you are.
Get your priorities straight
It’s hard to feel at peace when you have so many temptations distracting you from your goals. Decluttering your space, making to-do lists or even writing down your goals are all beneficial towards achieving peace of mind at a moment’s notice. Bal Agrawal, CEO of LifeWorx Inc., says that often, “there are too many distractions, and if you have more than three to five priorities, it will be very difficult to find peace. Best is to pace and spread out these priories over time and focus on one or two things.” Think about what’s really important to you, then forget about the rest (for now, at least). You’ll feel calm enough to tackle what’s pressing first, and then be able to accomplish more later.
This ancient practice has been becoming much more mainstream lately, and if you see how zenned out meditators are, you can understand why! Ridding yourself of negative thoughts and allowing your mind to focus on a single movement, the breath, can bring you an immediate and overwhelming sense of calm. Sherna Stephenson, founder of the meditation app BlackZen, suggests that, “Meditating twice a day, in the morning to begin the day and in the evening to complete the day, can have a profound impact on centering yourself so you feel less tension and invite more joy. When our minds and emotions are scattered and not at peace, we respond in ways not consistent with promoting happiness.”
Plan ahead, like a week ahead
ClassPass has your back on this one. The ability to book classes a full week in advance sets you up for a solid line up of classes that will match up with your other obligations for the week. Using a little logic and planning skills, you can actually create a great flow to carry you through the week. For example, take the hardest class on Monday (no one likes Mondays anyway) and plan for a relaxing Yoga class on the day you know you have a stressful meeting at work.
Use geography to your advantage
Cut back on transportation time dramatically, and you’ll be able to fit more into your days. For example, if you know you’ll be in a certain neighborhood for a class at 6 p.m., make plans with the friend that lives or works in that neighborhood for when you get out (if they’re not in there taking the class with you, of course). Double the fun with minimal effort.
Rally the troops
Are you taking a class tonight? See which of your friends can join. You need to eat dinner eventually, right? Invite your brother. Consolidation of plans is key to fitting it all in, and stepping up in a coordinator role between your friends will make a world of difference.
Take a personal day
It’s a necessity, don’t fight this one. Everyone seems too busy to actually do this, but that’s exactly why it’s needed. Resetting with some alone time will help you more clearly plan the rest of your week. If an entire day is out of the question, you can always carve out a few hours somewhere.
How to improve your mood quickly
We do everything we can to feel our happiest, best selves on a daily basis. We bring ourselves to workout before it’s even light outside, we seek to work in a career we love and have passion for and we do our best to surround ourselves with positive, dependable friends and partners who can help us be the very best versions of ourselves.
We do all of these things, each and everyday, but sometimes we can’t help it: we just wake up on the wrong side of the bed.
As much as we want to be in a great, upbeat mood each and everyday, life happens. Things go wrong, people hurt us and as hard as we try, we can’t always find the bright side when we’re feeling low. It’s hard enough balancing work, family, and a social life within the mere 24 hours were allotted each day- we just don’t always have the time to make ourselves feel happy.
So for all those multi-taskers, life balancers, and busy bees out there – we have good news. There are little tricks and tips anyone can do to improve your mood when you’re feeling down…and it only takes a few minutes. We chatted with life experts to find out what these mood boosters are and how anyone can fit them into their lifestyle.
Make Yourself a Cup of Tea
As Mom always used to say, “there’s nothing a cup of tea won’t fix”. Turns out, she wasn’t wrong (not that we ever would doubt advice from you, Ma!). Registered nurse and creator of Remediesforme.com, a site that sheds light on the benefits of natural remedies for different ailments, Rebecca Lee recommends brewing some chamomile the next time you’re feeling down. “Chamomile is one of the oldest medicinal herbs, has no known adverse side effects and is non-habit forming”. Used to treat depression and anxiety, chamomile has a natural calming effect that can ease your worries and reduce stress. Not a fan of tea? Rebecca tells us chamomile can also be inhaled in its essential oil form to bring about the same benefits.
Try DIY Acupressure
One of the best sources of evidence that there is a mind-body connection within every person is that physical movement and touch can have a deep effect on the mental and emotional states of the body. Dr. Nada Milosavljevic, MD, founder of Sage Tonic, an innovative holistic program for wellness explains “Acupuncture is a simple and easy way to help improve your overall health, and has been linked to providing some relief from feelings of depression and anxiety. While we think this is one approach that should be considered, we understand that not everyone has the time or money to commit to an acupuncture treatment. But, there is an alternative: acupressure.By pressing down on certain points on your body, your mood can lift and help you get back to your day”. A quick Google search and some spare minutes are all that is needed to try this acupressure at home and instantly boost your mood.
Spend Time with Your Pets
Dogs (and cats too!) are known for being a man or woman’s best friend, but they can also be great sources of happiness in times of need. Jennifer S. Kennett, licensed mental health therapist, recommends taking a few minutes during your day to spend time with animals. It sounds silly, but touching something soft and loving can bring give you that extra affection you need when feeling down. Try stopping to pet a furry friend you spot or snuggling up with your own at night to erase any bad mood in the fluffiest, most cuddliest way.
Listen to Some Tunes
Have you ever wondered why singing in the shower or dancing in your mirror just feels so good? Turns out, music really does have some magical powers that can boost your mood instantly. Dr. Nada Milosavljevic adds “You might have even heard of the study that resulted in the term “The Mozart Effect,” which was coined after it showed that college students performed better on math problems when listening to classical music. As one of your five senses, sound can improve concentration, decrease headache pain, lift your mood, and promote relaxation through the use of music sound therapy”. So go ahead, un-pause that playlist and feel the good vibes flow in.
We get it: cleaning up sounds a lot more like a drag than a method for boosting your mood. But Lianna Tsangarides, social worker and therapist at Mindful Healing swears by it. “They say messy bed, messy head. I find that having a clean space can really turn my day around. I feel more productive and organized having taken the time to start my day off right. It’s a small ritual that helps to create a soothing environment for the rest of the day.”