Mental Health

60-Second Quick Happiness Fixes

Moving at the fast pace of a 21st-century life, we all experience little aches and pains throughout our day. Whether its dry eyes, a stiff neck, or just stress that weighs on us and dampens our spirit—these little daily problems can add up and weigh us down quick.

Try these nine quick fixes to keep yourself feeling good throughout your day…

 

1. Cheers!

Drink 500-millileters of cold water as soon as you wake up. This is not most appetizing habit for many people who don’t like the taste of plain old water. Plus, many often like to sip coffee and ease into the day. But take into account that you’ve just spent an 8-hour night with absolutely no liquids. Trust me, you want the water and the benefits that come with it.

Tim Ferris, Health Researcher and author of the book, Four Hour Body, says that water will help your metabolism wake up with you. You may be eating good food, but if you’re metabolism isn’t ready to process it properly you’re not benefitting. Drinking water will make you hungry for breakfast and ready to digest it properly. As an added bonus, a big glass of water will also fill you up enough to keep you from over-eating. You won’t have to carry around that bloated belly feeling all day.


2. Parking Lot Lunges

Take a minute to stretch your hip flexors after your morning commute. Whether it takes 2-hours of highway driving or 15-minutes of side streets to you to your daily destination, a quick stretch will do you good. We cram ourselves into small spaces all day—a classroom desk, a cubicle, a board room chair. Some of us sit for longer than we sleep! Our hip flexors are screaming for some TLC.

The Canadian Center for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS) recognizes the dangers of prolonged sitting.  CCOHS findings indicate “a fixed position squeezes the blood vessels in the muscles reducing blood supply…insufficient blood supply accelerates fatigue and makes the muscles prone to injury.” So before you head inside, put one leg on the edge of your car and lunge into a deep hip stretch. Hold each side for 30-seconds.


3. I Spy With My Dry, Squinty Eyes…

Take care of your eyes! Nothing puts a damper on your day like dry or strained eyes. The Cleveland Clinic, America’s Top Hospital Blog, states that eyes play an important role in the overall enjoyment of life. However, ocular health is still largely overlooked.

Devote 60-seconds of your day to taking off your eye make up, making sure your contacts are hydrated, or putting on your glasses. Squinting through the day will trigger headaches. Dry eyes can convince you that you’re exhausted. To prevent dry, tired eyes—wear sunglasses when it’s bright, apply natural tears drops to refresh your contacts, and wear your glasses to give those peepers a break. The eyes are the windows to the soul, which means you should take care of them!

4. Bring the Beats

Julian Treasure, leading sound expert and professional speaker, did a Ted Talk in 2012 on the topic of the mental and emotional effects of music. Treasure concluded that music is the most powerful form of sound that effects our emotional state. Music has an incredible power over us—it’s an invitation to experience an emotion that we can use to our advantage.

To invite music into your day, tuck a pair of headphones in your purse and bring the AUX chord for the car. Take a few seconds to compile the right soundtrack to go along with your day. Music can help you get pumped up before a big meeting, draw energy for a workout, or wind down at the end of the day with some acoustics. Take control of your playlist. The radio is great, but it won’t always have the on-demand vibe you’re feeling, and commercials can take a mental toll.


5. Bathroom Break Means Break A Sweat

Your core is a central link between your lower and upper body. Even the most mundane of daily tasks will call on your core muscles. A simple 1-minute core engaging exercise is a great way to bring your mind back into your body.

Physicians at Mayo Clinic, the top academic medical center in the U.S., claim, “core exercises train the muscles in your pelvis, lower back, hips and abdomen to work in harmony. This leads to better balance and stability in daily activities.” So whenever you take a bathroom break, let it be a reminder to do a quick core exercise. Using bathroom breaks as a reminder will help make sure you get up and move around multiple times a day. You’re already up, might as well do some sit ups back at your desk.


6. Saved By The Snack

A big reason we feel down in the middle of the day is that our blood sugar levels seem to be on a roller coaster. According to the American Diabetes Association, blood sugar levels naturally spike after a meal. They get lower as the body uses sugar reserves. If they get too low, side effects can include dizziness, trouble thinking, headache, and shaking.

Don’t waste energy going hungry between meetings. Keep a steady level of energy by eating a quick healthy snack if you start to feel hungry before your next meal. What goes up must come down, so its better to keep energy levels constant rather than spiking at meal times.


7. Let it Shine

Open the blinds, crack a window, and feel the sun on your skin. Daylight is a natural stimulant. The mental and visual stimulation we get from a sunny day is enough to regulate our circadian rhythms, and a naturally lit environment is met with higher productivity and comfort.

Stuck in the dark mornings of winter? Take a minute to order an energy light. Energy lights, like the Phillips goLITE, are small devices you can keep on your desk. Turn them on for just a half hour in your day. Special receptors in your eyes will absorb the light the same way they absorb daylight, and you’ll experience a boost of energy. A simple effective way to combat the winter blues is to let light into your life whenever possible.

8. Say Cheese!

Which came first, the smile or the reason? Interestingly enough, a smile can help trigger happiness, even if that smile is fake. So smile while you’re pumping gas or taking out the garbage. You will brighten your own day from the outside in.

The act of smiling is recognized by your brain and causes a release of endorphins that will boost your serotonin levels. A study from Scientific America found that people who were physically unable to frown due to cosmetic Botox were actually happier on average. This is reason to believe that the expression we wear can actually create reason to wear it.


9. Reflect

Delay your urge to sleep by just a minute and write down one great thing that happened during the last 24-hours. Send your day a thank you note and you’ll go to sleep happy thoughts, and perhaps even wake the next day unconsciously searching for the next great thing to take note of. You’ll also collect this beautiful record of all the wonderful things in your day-to-day life.

Take it from Dr. Emma Seppala, from Stanford University, who studies the power of gratitude and how it’s intricately linked to increased optimism, altruism, social connection, and health. Dr. Seppala’s psychiatric research proves that we “can take charge of our well-being by…cultivating your gratitude.” So make lists or express thanks to those around you with tremendous results.

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Lauren Sanderson

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