When the girls got home from school a couple of days ago, I had shorts on because I had exercised earlier. The sun was shining - a rare occurrence in Ohio! It was almost 50 degrees!
So some of the girls got their shorts on, too, and we went outside to soak up some sun. We live next door to an elementary school, so we went to the playground and the girls got a chance to get out some pent-up energy. Even though they are teenagers, they enjoyed being little kids again. Sunshine and exercise - what mood lifters (and sleep enhancers)!
I came across the following article by Pat Murrah (Reid Hospital and Health Care Services' Community Education Department), which suggests these as well as other ways to improve your mood after a long, hard winter:
"Life circumstances influence about 10 percent of our happiness. Research shows that happiness is mostly influenced by what we do to deliberately make ourselves feel better. The following tips can help you feel happier, even when life gets stressful — especially when life gets stressful:
Look at old photos
Looking at pictures of your favorite vacation or your children when they were babies can bring back happy feelings.
Munch on nuts
They contain omega 3 fatty acids, which have been shown to have a calming effect.
Inhale a calming scent
Orange and lavender are scents that have been shown to have a relaxing effect. A few drops of scented oil on a handkerchief provides an on-the-go stress reliever.
Open your drapes or shades
The more light you are exposed to, the more calming the effect. If you work in an office without windows, take a break and seek sunlight.
Walk around the block
The exercise can provide a distraction during stressful times, plus increase your exposure to sunlight.
Clear away clutter
Looking at clutter can remind you of things not done. Tackle one project at a time until the clutter is gone.
Research shows that rapid thinking may release “feel good” brain chemicals as well as provide a distraction. Try naming all the states with begin with the letter “m” or something similar to stimulate your brain.
Laughter releases dopamine in the brain, which is a natural opiate. Watch funny videos, read a funny book or just look for the laughter in daily life.
Rethink retail therapy
Rather than spending money for material things, spend your money on “experiences.” Going with friends to dinner or to the lake will bring more happiness than a new pair of shoes.
Hang out with cheerful people
There is such a thing as mood contagion. Being around unhappy or negative people can affect your mood. Try and avoid the negative people and “catch” the mood of a happy, positive person."
More on improving mood: