Health & Wellbeing

5 Easy Ways to be Instantly Happier

All of us suffer from low mood or feelings of sadness at some point in our lives and some more than others. If you’re feeling like you need a little boost to get you out of a mini funk, check out these 5 quick and easy tips on how to lift your mood instantly. Obviously these aren’t long term solutions to prolonged feelings of sadness but I challenge you to try these out and if you don’t feel even a little more positive and uplifted I’ll eat my hat.

1. Get Outdoors
I know the last thing you might feel like doing when you’re suffering from a low mood is to get outdoors but it really does improve your mental wellbeing as well as your physical health. Walking in itself reduces stress and lifts your mood and, if you’ve got a furry 4 legged friend, take them too and you’ll get a double whammy of a positive feeling.

Being outside increases your vitamin D levels which can help fight depression and heart attacks and the additional light will help you to be more alert and full of energy. Getting outdoors also gives you a sense of a wider world and can break you out of your mindset and put your problems into perspective.

2. Call a Friend
Give a friend or a loved one a call, not necessarily to talk about your low mood but more so to distract yourself from the way you may be feeling. Ask them what they’ve been up to and talk about things that are lighthearted such as TV shows you both watch or share some funny anecdotes. While there is always a time and a place to talk to someone close to you about how you are feeling, if you know you just need an instant mood boost, try and put your mind jumbled thoughts to one side for a moment and get lost in a different conversation. When you’ve ended the call you will most likely find that you are feeling a little more positive and motivated and if you’ve made plans to get together, even better.

3. Abstain from Social Media
I have had friends in the past who have been addicted to social media and not in a good way. They would frequently message me screenshots of things that had been posted online by people they are friends with and they would use this to criticise themselves for not being as happy, put together, or attractive as this person. They’d actively peruse profiles (let’s be honest, stalk) that they knew might be pure torture for them to look at.

I am not perfect when it comes to comparing myself to people online, but I realised very early on in the social media revolution that I never felt happier or better from being on these sites (this is another reason I stopped buying celebrity magazines). You must always remember that what people put on social media isn’t real life and they are only ever showing you the best part of their lives – those same people may also be suffering from their own struggles but only ever post uplifting content. So if any of the above sounds familiar and you know that checking your social media sites makes you more unhappy, don’t use them to further lower your mood.

4. Watch a Comedy
Laughing instantly boosts your mood because it releases those feel good endorphins. Even when we put on a fake smile, the brain releases dopamine – it really is a case of fake it ’til you make it! So if you don’t fancy doing some fake laughing, watch a favourite comedy that you know will get you smiling and this in turn will make you feel happier. Studies have also shown that you’re more likely to laugh at something if you are with someone else so if you can rope someone in to watching it with you, even better.

5. Listen to Music
Listening to music that you have an emotional connection to can ease pain, motivate your mind and reduce stress. Make sure you’re choosing music that makes you happier and avoid those songs that make you want to stay in bed for days and cry (so no Adele allowed). There are plenty of Spotify playlists that are full of happy songs so you don’t even need to create one yourself.

So give these a try and let me know if you have any tried and trusted ways of improving your mood.

Advertisements
Running & Fitness Tips

Should You Workout With Music?

We’ve all been there. You’re listening to that power song while doing the most difficult workout of your life and you feel like Rocky and Superman combined. You can take on the whole world… or can you?

These days, more and more road races do not permit you to listen to music and you can actually be banned from future races if you’re caught using an MP3 player when they’ve forbidden it. But what benefits are there from both working out listening to music or without?

Why You Should Do It ~ Rocky Style
Listening to music distracts you from both the pain and effort that you’re putting into your workout. While I was on mile 10 of the Bristol Half Marathon last year, when Muse’s Uprising came on, I felt like it was the theme tune to my whole life even though I felt like (let’s be honest) hell, and I really pushed myself to a strong finish. I’ve also found this distraction technique works on planks…. listen to your favourite song and try and make the plank last the whole duration…. and then hernia (just kidding).

Music, by nature, gets you moving. Even if you’re not a music lover, music makes you want to tap a foot, click your fingers or nod your head and heck sometimes even get up and dance! (I can testify that this also works for cleaning, stick on your favourite tunes and you’ll be surprised how much housework you can get done!).

people-2592247_1920 (1)

If you’re listening to music while running, the best timed tempo tunes can keep you at the right pace. On Spotify there is a feature that will measure your cadence and play songs accordingly when you’re out pounding the pavements so you don’t even need to plan your songs in advance.

Let’s face it, listening to music is more fun. I am a music-a-holic and there is no place and no time when there’s music on and I’m not singing, dancing with the dog or generally pretending I’m a pop star.

adult-1867757_1920

Your mood can be significantly improved by listening to upbeat music and who doesn’t want to feel more upbeat and energetic while they’re working out.

We’ve all got that song that we just have to sing along to because the lyrics just give us the feels and this type of music can motivate you to infinity and beyond.

singer-84874_1920

Why You Shouldn’t Do It ~ Enya Style
Running especially, while listening to music, can make you miss out on some great atmospheres. There have been a handful of races that I’ve been to that just wouldn’t have been the same if I had been listening to music. Cannock Chase, a trail run, was one of them. I would have missed the sounds of footsteps going around the gravel pathways, the birds in the trees and the nearby lake.

If you’re running in the dark and alone, it’s much safer for you to be completely switched on to what’s happening around you, for obvious reasons.

yoga-3053487_1920

While running with music is a great distraction from pain and effort, it also distracts you from your technique and form. If you’re bounding down the road like a puppy to Pharrell’s ‘Happy’ because it just makes you so darn happy, you might not realise that your running form is suffering, which in turn makes you less efficient.

Without music you can get seriously focused on exactly what you’re doing. You can feel exactly how hard you’re working, which muscles are feeling the burn and keep count of reps and sets.

people-2587066_1920

Headphones. Are. Annoying. I know you can now get fancy cordless ones but I’m stuck in the 1990s and I like untangling masses of headphone cable before I can listen to any music (said no-one ever).

Listening to yourself breathing is one of the best running hacks I think I’ve ever learned. If you’re breathing way too heavy you can ease it off and if you aren’t breathing heavy enough are you even trying… listening to your own body can tell you way more than any expensive GPS tracking watch can.

yoga-3053488_1920

Do you prefer to workout with or without music and what are you favourite workout tunes?

cropped-pink-signoff-heart.png