Happiness is not a destination, it is an ongoing pursuit which means there are things that you can do along life’s journey. Here is a list of things to do to boost your mood:
CRANK UP THE MUSIC
We don’t need scientific proof to convince us of the inspiring powers of music but, in case you’re wondering, scientific proof does exist – and lots of it. Early summer, a study by the University of Missouri in the US found that listening to uplifting music boosted mood.
So put on some feel-good music, turn off the TV, forget about everything else, and really absorb it – then feel the tension ease away and your spirits lift.
GO FOR A WALK
It’s free, you can do it anywhere, and it can be as strenuous or relaxing as you want it to be – the benefits of a good stroll are certainly endless.
As well as the health benefits and feel-good hormones released from being active, being outdoors and surrounded by nature brings an added boost.
CATCH UP WITH A FRIEND
When it comes to feeling happy, studies have found that people who regularly have a coffee, for instance, with a close friend are happier than those who focus more on ‘bigger’ rewards, like expensive holidays.
Indeed, little regular boosts can be more beneficial than skipping the small pleasures to save up for that TV or shiny car.
WRITE A LETTER
With email and mobile phones, instant communication has become so easy, but it lacks the meaning of an old-fashioned letter. Sitting down to write enables you to focus your thoughts and reflect on what’s going on in your world – and there’s the pleasure of knowing you’ll be making the lucky recipient’s day too.
Have you ever stopped to wonder why going for a stroll on a bright summer’s day, when all the flowers are in bloom, really lifts the spirits? While stepping out on a gloomy, grey day has the opposite effect? Our moods respond to brightness and colour, and this is something fashion stylists have been using to their advantage for years. So for an instant mood-booster, throw on some colour.
BROWSE OLD PHOTOS
Whether it’s a wedding or a holiday when the children were young, why not dust off those old photo albums and indulge in the memories? A healthy dose of nostalgia can be comforting and reviving.
REACH FOR THE TROWEL
Earlier this year, a survey by Gardeners’ World magazine revealed that 90% of gardeners believe their hobby boosts their mood. People who regularly gardened were less likely to report feeling unhappy or depressed, too.
You don’t have to be an expert – pottering around outdoors can be relaxing and rewarding and seeing the fruits of your labour brings great fulfilment.
DO A GOOD DEED
Don’t worry if you don’t have time to volunteer for a charity or much money to spare – small acts of kindness, like offering to pick up a neighbour’s groceries, donating biscuits to a care home, or picking up the phone to ask a relative how they are doing all make a big difference.
PICK UP A BOOK
A good book can stay with your for years and in the short term, reading can have happiness-boosting powers too. As one benefit, it requires you to find peace and quiet and switch off from ‘normal’ life, and this in itself is relaxing and stress-relieving.
Baking has enjoyed a revival in recent years, with the success of shows like The Great British Bake Off, and no wonder – it’s one of life’s real simple pleasures. Keen bakers rave about the therapeutic qualities of retreating to the kitchen for a few hours. Don’t get hung up on whether your brownies or cakes are perfect. Just make sure you have fun trying.