Are you having a good or a bad day?
We all have good days and bad days, and sometimes the pendulum seems to be weighted towards the bad ones. As we get older it can be a challenge to snap ourselves out of the doldrums, especially if we live alone, or spend a lot of time alone.
The world is a busy place and everyone has so much going on that we see our friends and family less and less. Sure, we can call or message them to stay connected, but we still feel their physical absence. And because we so do so much on-line nowadays, we can find we don’t have a lot of reasons to go out, and tend to stay home more often than we used to.
All these can make us feel rather gloomy and this definitely puts a damper on our day. We can end up in a negative rut, where we find something wrong with everything.
There are a few simple things we can do to lift our spirits. They are quick and easy. And best of all, we can do them anytime, anywhere, and they don’t cost us anything.
1 – Say Good Morning to Yourself – Yes, it’s strange, but once you start doing this you’ll see how good it is. Do it when you wake up, before you get out of bed. Put your right hand over your heart, to touch the heart chakra (l learned that in yoga). After a few breaths say “Good Morning” out loud. Say it with a strong voice if you are alone, or whisper if you aren’t. You’ll probably chuckle and be a bit embarrassed, and that’s okay. Do it again the next day, and the next. Before long you’ll be enhancing your tone, maybe adding in a few words like, “Good Morning, today will be a good day!” This is a great way to start your day on a positive note.
2 – Smile– This may sound strange, but we all need to smile more. It makes us feel better by boosting our mood. Google something like ‘health benefits of smiling’ and you’ll get close to 30 million hits! The benefits of smiling are indisputable; smiling is really good for us. Try this: look in the mirror with no expression, then smile. Can you see the difference? Do you feel the difference? And you look so much better then you smile. Think about how others respond to you when you smile. Yes, they smile back. Smile even when you’re alone, and especially when you are feeling sad, lonely or disillusioned. It will make you feel better. And having people smile back at you, will make you feel even better. Are you smiling now? Why not?
3 – Go Out– We need to be out there to feel the movement of life and to interact with people. Even if it’s only for a short time each day, head out to the mall, a community centre, a busy walking path, or where ever there are people going about their day. If you start to feel lonely or sad, smile. You’ll see that people will smile back. This applies to whatever you do out there, from just sitting and watching the world go by, to waiting for an appointment, shopping the grocery aisles, standing in a queue, to trying on shoes. Your day will improve by being out there and more involved in the community life around you.
4 – Say Hi – When you’re out and about, instead of ignoring others, say Hi to them. You’ll be surprised at what happens. Most will say Hi in return. Give it a try. It’s like people are programmed to respond to a greeting. It feels good when people say Hi. If we can prompt this by saying Hi first, why not do it? You can also try saying Good Morning/ Afternoon/ Evening, even a comment about the weather works well too. It’s so easy to say Hi and the benefits are definitely worth the effort. Not everyone will respond, but we shouldn’t let that deter us. Those people are probably having a bad day. You might be helping lift their spirits even though they aren’t responding. Which brings us to the last suggestion on improving your day.
5 – Give Someone an Emotional Lift– Giving makes us feel good, especially when we can empathize with someone having a difficult time. There are so many sad looking people out there. We’ve all seen the teenager you sense has been crying, the older woman with that worried expression, the man looking dejected and the mother with the toddler that is just not cooperating with her. Say something to these people. Something gentle and non-judgmental. It will lift them out of their gloom for a few moments, and it could be what they need to cheer up. “That’s a pretty sweater”, or “I sure hope the rain holds off till this evening’, can do wonders. They may mumble and continue on, they may ignore you completely, or maybe they’ll engage in a short conversation. You’ll feel great that you made a positive difference to someone’s day. Clint Eastwood’s famous line from the movie Dirty Harry, ‘Go ahead, make my day’ actually has positive merit. By giving someone a bit of attention, the emotional lift they feel, will also be felt by you.
All of the 5 ways to improve your day are super easy and don’t involve much effort. Try one. And tomorrow, try another. Pretty soon you’ll be doing all 5 whenever you get the chance as you’ll be feeling the positive results from improving your day.
Give me a smile. See, you’re feeling better already.
It’s all good!