The best part of scientific research is harnessing its conclusions to make people feel better-- physically, mentally, and emotionally. I enjoyed this article from LifeHack by Djordje Todorovic about how to do just that. In the spirit of the upcoming New Year and self-improvement, I hope you enjoy this list. I've tried nearly all of them myself! Best, Dr. Devgan
15 Science-Backed Ways To Cheer Yourself Up
It’s always useful to know how to cheer up, since the older we get the more stressed out we become. There are numerous reasons why we experience inner turmoil and start to feel a bit depressed. It can be a mid-life crisis, anxiety, stress at work, or even overthinking things that brings us down, but too much negativity is never good for one’s wellbeing, which is why the following techniques can come in handy.
1. Take some time off
If you are stressed out due to the nature of your work, it goes without saying that you should take some time off or ask for sick leave. Our jobs are daily doses of stress, and even though we are really resilient, pushing your limits won’t do you any good. The brain is like a muscle, it needs time to heal in order to be fully functional again.
So, by taking some time off, you lessen the strain on the stress neurotransmitters in your brain, allowing it to rejuvenate. If you nurture your brain properly, you’ll be far more productive and a lot less pressured.
2. Start to exercise
When you are angry, a good workout is great for blowing off some steam, but if you are generally running low on energy, then you should start exercising regularly and make it a new healthy habit. It’s good for your health, thus it directly affects your mood. You’ll be in shape and have more confidence, and you’ll have more energy, thereby feeling less mentally exhausted in general.
3. Get up and start cleaning
Much like exercise, constantly maintaining good hygiene in your home is a healthy habit. First of all, when everything is in order and neatly organized, you get to experience a sense of achievement, which will always cheer you up. Second, if you live in a place with a nice scent, and filled with fresh air, you will feel good. If the space you are living in is cramped up, with all sorts of items lying around, the air cannot circulate as it is supposed to, and there is a chance of foul odors emerging over time.
4. Get a little shut eye
Not getting enough sleep is often a major source of unhappiness. As mentioned earlier, when we are awake and constantly thinking about problems, our stress neurotransmitters are more active. Their activity is significantly reduced during sleep, allowing us to heal. You know what they say: when you can’t make the right decision, sleep on it.
5. Plan your vacation
We all love to go on vacations, but unfortunately, we usually feel sad once our vacation is over. However, it was proven that planning your vacation and daydreaming about the various locations you are going to visit can have a positive impact on your health. The study published in the journalApplied Research in Quality of Life, revealed how planning and anticipating a vacation can boost one’s happiness for eight weeks.
6. Spend time with your friends
Spending time with your friends is a great way to cheer up, mainly because we are reminded of all the good times we had with those people. There is atribe in Africa called Bemba (or Babemba) that has an incredible custom. Whenever someone does something wrong, the person is not punished, instead that person is placed at the center of the tribe and all of the tribe members gather around that person to tell stories.
The stories are about all the good that the person has done so far, about all the positive traits that person possesses. This ceremony lasts for a few days and the person is embraced back into the tribe. They believe that when a person does something wrong, they need to be reminded of all their good deeds and get back on the right path. This is why you need to surround yourself with friends and be reminded of all the good times you have spent together, it will definitely cheer you up.
7. Move closer to work
Believe it or not, the mere act of commuting to work can make us unhappy, mainly because we are wasting precious time on the road. Therefore, if you want to improve your mood, you can change your location and be closer to work — this convenience will work in your favor. Of course, it may not be really easy to make happen, and you’ll need money, but the rewards are plentiful.
8. Become generous
Generosity will certainly make you feel good about yourself. You are making positive impacts and you are doing it because you want to, not because someone made you do it. If you are feeling guilty because of something, and need to reassure yourself that you are a good person, giving money or lending a helping hand to a good cause can help improve your mental state.
9. Adopt a dog
Sure, it can be somewhat troublesome to raise a dog, train them to listen to you, and teach them some tricks, but we all know that these lovely creatures are the most loyal of friends. Dogs won’t judge you, dogs won’t argue with you, they will simply be happy to see you. With a dog by your side, you’ll never be lonely. It is also worth mentioning that if you are allergic to fur, you should steer away from this suggestion.
10. Accomplish tasks
To cheer up, you need to fill yourself with a sense of achievement. So, you can by start analyzing your situation and seeing all the minor improvements you can make in your life. These small tasks will easily motivate you to focus on something positive, and whenever you cross something off this list, you will be rewarded with a sense of achievement.
11. Try writing
Remember the time when we were kids and had diaries to write down our thoughts? Maybe this is not such a bad idea, even now. You can write journals, or even write novels — whatever helps you channel your negative feelings. Who knows, maybe it will turn out to be a good story, and maybe you’ll grow to like this new hobby. All things considered, this cannot be a bad thing.
12. Undergo self-hypnosis
Did you know that you can hypnotize yourself? It’s not the same as going to the therapist, but it has a real therapeutic effect. You can uncover what subconscious events have triggered your bad mood, and you can give yourself some constructive suggestions on how to be happier. Of course, you’ll need to be relaxed and create conditions for this to work, but it might be the self-help you need.
Here’s a more thorough guide on how to achieve self-hypnosis and help yourself overcome some of the psychological obstacles that were keeping you back.
13. Seek catharsis
As mentioned, physical activity can be one form of catharsis for your emotions, but a good book or a movie can do the trick as well. You can also watch a sports game and yell at your team if they are playing badly, or cheer them on as they triumph — both have a positive effect on your mood. A video game can also help if you are sad or harboring some built-up rage.
14. Watch something that soothes you
Although it has not been confirmed, scientist speculate that looking at the color blue can have some positive effects on your mind. However, it wasconfirmed that looking at fine art or at old pictures of happy events can cheer you up. You can even look at funny pictures or memes on the internet — that usually works for me.
15. Work on your looks
Finally, if you look good, you’ll feel better. In other words, when you are down, try working on your style and looks. It will boost your confidence, bring some innovation into your life, and ultimately make you feel better. Just don’t go on a shopping rampage, because spending a lot of money will nullify these effects.
Well, there you have it, a number of (mostly) easy ways to cheer yourself up. Make sure you try some or all of them out whenever you are feeling under the weather.