Creating habits that allow you to shift your mood is beneficial for you and those close to you.
Knowing when you’re in a slump and having strategies to lift your spirits not only helps you, but has a ripple effect on those around you.
It’s fair to say the last 20 months have been full of ups and downs, a lot of negative news and tough times, particularly for those that have endured long lockdowns, separation from those they love, illness or lost a loved one.
When we experience such upheaval for a long time it’s easy to settle into a new mindset which has a negative focus – even when we’ve never done that before.
Here’s 7 simple and effective strategies that you can do every day that will shift your mindset and help you feel more positive. And . . . best of all they take only a few minutes so anyone can do it.
1. Exercise gratitude
Create a habit of being thankful for three things each morning and night. Focus on the positive things in your life, no matter how small they may be. In the southern hemisphere we are in Spring and heading into summer. Be grateful for the weather, the sun, the clouds in the sky, the birds chirping.
Create a morning and/or evening routine where you think, say or write down three (or more) things you’re grateful for eg:
- I’m grateful for where I live – I wake up and look out the window and think:
“I love where I live”
- I’m grateful that I love the work I do
- I’m grateful that I can go to a café and enjoy sitting at a table to have my coffee
- I’m grateful for the animals in my life
- I’m grateful for my family and friends and that we can finally see them face to face again
2. Take 5 minutes off
Carving out special time for yourself, even as little as 5 minutes per day, will allow you to switch off and reset.
Create a routine where you do something you love. Build this into your day when it suits you, in the morning, at lunch time, straight after work, just before dinner or even before bed.
This is your time and can be as short as 5 minutes or as long as you want. The important thing is consistency – create a routine where you can have your own “not negotiable time” every day and let your family know that it’s “your time”.
It could be 10 mins of mindfulness, a 45 min run, sitting in the sun watching the world go by, a yoga class, watching a quick you tube clip that makes you laugh, reading or watching TV – whatever works for you in your schedule.
3. Reconnect with those close to you
Now that restrictions are easing, make a conscious choice to reconnect with those close to you.
Give them a call, catch up for a drink, lunch or dinner or catch up in a park and have a picnic.
Or plan an online trivia night or games night where friends can come over and play cards,charades, Pictionary or board games.
4 . Set up a sleep routine
Establish a good night time routine that works for you. It could be as simple as having a calming cup of tea, showering, brushing your teeth, listening to 5 minutes of mindful meditation or reading a book before turning off the light.
If possible, remove electronic devices from your room and if not, turn them on to airplane mode or put on a do not disturb during your sleep time.
5. Reflective exercises
Recall one good thing that happened today or that made you smile and whilst you’re remembering it, give a gentle nod to the world to say ‘thanks’.
One of the easiest ways to reset and regain control is to breathe consciously.
Now just focus on your breathing and as you do:
- Hold your hand on your heart and just notice your breathing.
- Now exhale – breath out for as long as you can, exhausting all of the air from your lungs.
- Take a long, slow, big, deep breath in – breath in feeling your chest and stomach expand as your lungs fill with air
- Hold for two seconds and then
- Breath out long and slow – imagine a straw in your mouth and you’re blowing air through the straw – release your breath long and slowly.
Repeat these easy steps three more times.
Now notice how much calmer you feel.
7. Disconnect from media
The more you focus on something the more you’re attracting that into your life. So reduced the deluge of pandemic information flooding in. Stop watching the news all day and checking for the latest updates. If there is something important happening, someone will tell you.
If you feel a strong need to keep up to date with the news, set yourself a regular time to check the headlines or chat with a friend each day instead of having it constantly on your feed or on the TV.