Got a case of the blues? Feeling a bit rundown and fed up? It’s perfectly normal to experience these feelings from time to time. For me it’s usually winter that brings on the miseries or when I feel overwhelmed with not having enough hours in the day to achieve the things I want. In the past I’ve been guilty of letting it get me down way, way longer than necessary. Too many of us chase happiness but never really gain the full satisfaction of gaining it. The truth is, happiness is actually a choice and often needs to be relearned. You have to make yourself happy right now, regardless of what is going on in your world. Exercise your happiness muscle until it becomes an automatic habit. The sooner you can build momentum on the happy vibe, the sooner more happiness will just flow into your life effortlessly. Here are a few simple but very effective kick-starters to get you back on the happiness track and shaking off the blues in no time.
Sing Your Guts Out
This has to be number one on my list because I think the healing power of music is like nothing else! Music can transform us to another time, another place or another feeling in an instant. It is cathartic on so many levels. If I don’t get a fix of music for a couple of weeks, I literally get withdrawals. Back in the days BC (before children) I could crank up the music in my house pretty much whenever I felt like it and get myself a good dose of therapy in the process. However, now with three kids rattling around the place, the majority of noise comes from them; Play Stations, YouTube, TV, wrestling matches (with each other) usually all happening at the same time. It’s noise pollution at its best and it drives me and my need for peace, completely bonkers at times (much as I love them dearly). I confess there were times when I felt rather resentful that there was rarely a moment of silence to allow me to get in first and make some noise of my own - noise that I liked! But then one birthday my husband Akila bought me some Bluetooth headphones. Woohoo! OMG, these awesome devices literally rocked my world. I would hook myself up to my iPod or my mobile, pick out my favourite playlist, crank up the volume and sing at the top of my lungs. It didn't matter what other noise was going on around me because I was instantly transported into my own little world where I could focus solely on the deliciousness of music! Depending on my mood, I could stomp and scream to ACDC’s Thunderstruck or bust a move with Sia, all while banging around in the kitchen preparing dinner for the family. I’ve also been known to clean the bathroom and toilet spotlessly, totally carried away by the exquisite strings of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons. So do yourself a favour, get some beautiful music that makes your heart sing (or cry!), put those earbuds in or blast it out through a speaker. Sing and dance, repeat. If you find yourself getting a bit emotional, just go with it. Have a good bawl, release it and you’ll feel a hell of a lot better afterwards. You might even end up with a clean house too.
Have a Good Giggle
Laughter has long been good medicine. Did you know that laughter releases fear, stress and can even help ease physical pain due to the release of endorphins? Laughter is liberating and healing, boosts the immune system and probably best of all, it’s contagious. There’s nothing more delightful than sharing a hilarious moment with another human being. So get together with one of your best mates with the intention of having some fun. There is humour to be found in every situation if you look for it. Or scroll through the comedy movie section of Netflix, Stan or whatever you’re wired up to at home and watch something that tickles your fancy. If you don’t have the time to watch a whole movie, or you're alone, then get yourself a quick fix instead. The beauty of YouTube, Facebook and the like means you can watch snippets and highlights from your favourite entertainers. Some of my personal favourites are watching segments from the Graham Norton Show, Ricky Gervais or Dylan Moran doing one of their stand-up sessions, Robin Williams, Kevin Hart or Australia’s own Dave Hughes and Carl Barron – the list is endless. Get them cranked up on YouTube and put yourself at their mercy, even if it’s just for ten or fifteen minutes. Cack yourself laughing and reap the benefits immediately.
Lay down the law and tell your kids and others at home that you are not to be disturbed for the next hour under any circumstances. Grab yourself a couple of scented tealight candles, maybe a glass of champers or wine. Then lock yourself in the bathroom where you will proceed to indulge in an exquisite bath filled with perfumed bubbles or oils that your body will totally delight in. You could even play some healing or relaxation music through a speaker for maximum effect (so long as it’s positioned safely – we don’t want you getting fried). Place a few lit tealights around the place, turn the lights off, slide in, have a slug of champers and pretend you’re at a Bali day spa! Relax, unwind and let the worries of your day melt away into oblivion.
Live in the Moment
Give yourself permission to have a break and stop being preoccupied with the never-ending list of things on your to-do-list. Put it all on the backburner for a bit and choose to live in the moment right now. Take a step back and open your eyes. Actually notice the little details that we’re usually too busy to be aware of and get all your senses fired up – breathe in the perfume of flowers in bloom, feast your eyes on the colours and intricacies of this amazing planet we live on. Listen to the sound of the birds singing, run your hands through long grass (or in my case, I can't resist running my hands across the amazing coloured layers of bark on gum trees - my kids think I'm nuts!) Observe all the details as you journey through your day. Get interactive with your children and take them to the local park and really engage in the process. Go down the slide, kick a ball around with them, go hunting for bugs. Not only will it be a wonderful distraction for you, but your kids will light up being around you with your new carefree vibe going on. Plonk yourself on one of the swings and swing as high as you possibly can, noticing the rush of air that whizzes past your ears and face as you glide backwards and forwards. Close your eyes and try to recapture the innocence of your youth for a few precious moments.
Start a New Project
Getting creative is one of the best therapies for the blues. Do you have a project in mind you’ve been putting off for a while? It could be learning to play an instrument, take a course in photography, cookery or massage? Or maybe you really want to focus on self-development and mindset? Or clean out and renovate a room in the house? Maybe you want to landscape your garden, write out a list of affirmations for yourself or collect pictures of things you love to paste onto a vision board. Learn how to paint or join the local football club or gym, or plan a long overdue weekend away. Don’t deny yourself such pleasures. Get those fingers working, do your Google research, set aside some time in your calendar and then take action. Start now and give yourself something to look forward to and get those creative juices flowing.
Set Yourself up for a Great Tomorrow
The power of gratitude cannot be overstated. It sounds so simplistic but taking time out for appreciation can do wonders for your ongoing well-being and happiness. Write yourself a list of ten things that you’re grateful for in your life – it can be absolutely anything large or small - from your children, spouse, to the home you live in, food on the table, for the unconditional love you receive from your pet or for the magical genius that makes the world keep turning and the sun shining – there are so many things to be grateful for. When you go to bed tonight, instead of thinking about all the errands you must do or the worries of tomorrow, re-read your gratitude list. Read it slowly and really feel and absorb those words. Then tell yourself “Everything is working out perfectly for me”. Go to sleep with this statement running through your mind. And when you wake up in the morning, don’t let yourself spiral into thinking about all the challenges that await you as soon as the alarm goes off. Gently push those thoughts away and say to yourself again, “Everything is working out perfectly for me.” Make this a habit every day and notice how by deliberately focusing on increasing your happy vibe, you begin to feel lighter, refreshed, energised and empowered more of the time. You will see things start to fall effortlessly into place and you will feel an enormous sense of relief. Remember, happiness attracts more happiness!
Onwards and upwards!