With the holidays well behind us, what else does this season have to offer? Maybe it’s back to the grind, or maybe this is just the time of year when your Seasonal Affective Disorder begins to kick in. While professional counseling is always a great avenue to get the blues (and especially diagnosed depression) under control, science has unearthed many proven tips to help lift your spirits on the daily.
- Meditate – even if you think you can’t.
How much solid research do we need to see before we actually make meditation a daily habit? It can help rewire your brain, but we always tend to feel we’re not doing it right. Instead of “clearing” your mind, spend five or ten minutes per day just letting the thoughts move through you, without grabbing onto them.
- Exercise – even if you dread it.
Maybe you’re not really feeling that endorphin rush while you’re sweating it out, but it’s there. If you think exercise is too much of a time drain, know that you only have to commit 10-20 minutes daily in order to boost those feelings of wellbeing.
- Be thankful – even if begrudgingly at first.
When we’re really feeling low, counting our blessings just seems like trite advice. Yet if you just write down three to five sentences per week (per week!), you’ll start feeling better about your circumstances and your hopes for the future by spring.
- Help others – even when you’re busy.
People who dedicate their time to others live longer, are more fulfilled, and experience more happiness on a daily basis. Whether it’s doing a favor for a relative, or volunteering at an animal shelter, you surely have one hour in your week where you can make yourself and someone else happy at the same time.
- Get more rest – even when sleep doesn’t come easy.
One study found that doubling your income may not improve your happiness as much as getting more sleep. If insomnia’s got you down, mimic sleep by getting comfortable in the dark and slowing down your breath. Hey, it’s the perfect time to improve your meditation skills.
- Take a break – even when the project is due.
People who don’t eat lunch while they work actually like their jobs more than those who do. Stop thinking of that break as laziness, and start thinking of it as a way to recharge and optimize your work. Your performance will be better for it.
- See something new – even when you think you’ve seen it all.
Maybe travel isn’t in the cards right now. But if you read an incredible book, see a captivating film, or just watch the skies for constellations you’ve never picked out before, you might be more receptive to new and happier perspectives. You don’t have to go as far outside of the box as you may think to find inspiration.