Is election stress making you blue? Science says that, "the key to a happy life is to experience bursts of positive emotion throughout the day,” according to Psychology Today. Studies show that positivity builds our social, physical and intellectual skills boosting productivity, creativity and engagement. Whether it’s the election or COVID-19 concerns getting you down, here are some tips to help you practice positivity.
Tips for staying positive:
1. Play happy songs.
Music is known to evoke all kinds of emotions. It is actually very actionable and can be used to manipulate your mood. Make a playlist of your favorite upbeat and happy songs and blast it off in the morning to set the tone for the rest of the day. Update your playlist weekly and ask colleagues, friends and families to share their happy songs.
2. Wake up with water.
Get up and drink a glass of water. How easy is that? Benefits of drinking water in the morning include:
- Rehydrates your body
- Flushes out toxins
- Improves metabolism
- Increases brain power
- Boosts the immune system
3. Focus on your feet.
Say what? Seriously, when your stress level spikes, try this quick calming exercise from Dr. Judson A. Brewer, director of research and innovation at the Mindfulness Center at Brown University:
Take a moment to focus on your feet. You can do this standing or sitting, with your feet on the ground. How do they feel? Are they warm or cold? Are they tingly? Moist or dry? Wiggle your toes. Feel the soles of your feet. Feel your heels connecting with your shoes and the ground beneath you. “It’s a different way to ground yourself,” said Dr. Brewer. “Anxiety tends to be in your chest and throat. Your feet are as peripheral as you get from your anxiety zones.”
4. Try five-finger breathing.
This simple practice is easy to remember and very effective. Dr. Brewer has created a video explaining the technique, which works by engaging multiple senses at the same time and crowding out those worrying thoughts.
Step 1. Hold your hand in front of you, fingers spread.
Step 2. Using your index finger on the opposite hand, start tracing the outline of your extended hand, starting at the wrist, moving up the pinkie finger.
Step 3. As you trace up your pinkie, breathe in. As you trace down your pinkie, breathe out. Trace up your ring finger and breathe in. Trace down your ring finger and breathe out.
Step 4. Continue finger by finger until you’ve traced your entire hand. Now reverse the process and trace from your thumb back to your pinkie, making sure to inhale as you trace up, and exhale as you trace down.
5. Be grateful.
Remind yourself of what you are grateful for. Create a gratitude journal and write down one thing you are thankful for each day. It can be as simple as warmer weather or something more meaningful, like a family member. Or, something tasty like mac and cheese.
6. Embrace optimism.
Look for the silver lining! Yes, It’s hard. Be intentional about finding the bright side. Trapped at home with teenagers? Try creating a TikTok with them. And, really laugh out loud!
7. Get moving.
Exercise can improve your mood, but you don’t have to do a vigorous workout to be happy. Something as basic as taking a walk, dancing, jumping up and down or running up the stairs can boost your mood.
8. Smile a little. Or a lot.
It’s simple and easily forgotten. Do at least one thing each day that makes you smile or laugh. Think of an embarrassing memory, share a funny meme with a friend or watch a comedy. Smiling and laughing relieves stress and is a mood booster.
9. Connect with someone.
Reach out to a friend, family member or co-worker that you haven’t spoken to in a while. Get caught up on each other’s lives and reminisce about fun memories.
Take five minutes (or more) out of your day to unplug from the world and achieve a calm state of mind. Meditation can reduce stress and control anxiety while promoting emotional health.
11. Improve Sleep
Rest is imperative for both mental and physical health. There are many easy ways to improve your sleep:
- Wear blue light blocking glasses to reduce your exposure to blue light. This helps keep melatonin up, which helps you get a deeper sleep.
- Sleep and wake consistently, even on weekends. Set an alarm to remind you when to go to sleep and when to wake up.
- Optimize your bedroom environment. Minimize external noise and lights to create a peaceful space. Keep your bedroom cool. Warm bedroom temperatures decrease sleep quality.
Practice the power of positive thinking, every day. What are you doing to stay positive? Please share your tips with us! And remember, don’t worry be happy.