Do you find yourself frowning more than you grin these days? The everyday stresses we experience can cause us to forget to enjoy the little things. Well, National Smile Week is celebrated during the 2nd week of August, so it’s time to get happy!
If you’d like to choose happy more often, here are five actions you can take in less than 20 minutes that have scientifically shown to change your brain chemistry and your perspective.
Stretch Your Body
If you work in an office, you’re probably guilty of sitting in front of the screen too long. While you may get lots of work done, you’re also contributing to health problems and general unhappiness if you’re not getting up and moving every so often. Too much sitting contributes increased risk of cancer, obesity, diabetes and heart disease.
Getting up to stretch, along with exercising, is an essential part of maintaining flexibility and decreasing overall body tension. Have you tried yoga before? The centuries-old Indian practice provides a wealth of benefits, including increased flexibility, improved posture and decreased anxiety. Shop major online yoga store Gaiam.com through DubLi.com and earn Cash Back on every purchase.
What do you focus on when you’re feeling bad? More than likely it’s the raise you didn’t get, the bills that you’re worrying about, or the driver who cut you off. All the things that aren’t as exactly the way you’d like them to be.
It’s very common for us to obsess about the one thing that’s really bothering us, and take for granted the 99 other things that are really good in our life. This is called hedonic adaptation, and it happens to the best of us.
Take a few minutes out of every day to acknowledge all that is good in your life, from your relationships to your career to your health. You’ll find that things are rarely as bad as you think they are, and often much better.
Be Kind to Others
When we’re feeling down, we always wish people would be nicer to us. But if we actually take the initiative and be the change we want, we’ll actually feel better. Practicing random acts of kindness fills us with an internal joy that can never be matched by receiving outside reassurances.
Simply writing an email or taking 30 seconds to tell them how you feel in person will brighten both your days. By sharing those hidden feelings of gratitude you’ll get to experience them. You’ll get to see the other person be touched by your gesture, compounding the effect.
Change Your Routine
Even if most of your days involve doing the same routine activities, you can experience these tasks from a different perspective. For example, you can wake up a little bit earlier and take the scenic route to work, remembering to stay connected to the moment rather than worrying about making it into the office on time.
You can also put on your favorite music as you wash the dishes or clean up your room. If you typically spend several hours lazing around on the couch before bed, why don’t you put on your sneakers and go for a run?
American office workers spend an average of eight hours a day sitting in front of their computer screen, and another 3.5 hours a day lounging in front of the television. Some of us don’t even have windows in our office! With all that sitting, staring and artificial light, it’s no wonder that we sometimes feel stifled.
Exercise is shown to decrease feelings of depression, and doing so outside magnifies the effect. Sunlight helps our body synthesize vitamin D, which is linked to increased serotonin. Even a tree-lined walk will do the trick, as feeling closer to nature is also linked with greater happiness levels. The New York Times cited a study last year that found walking in nature changes the brain for the better. Shop the Sierra Trading Post through DubLi for all the best in outdoor gear, and get Cash Back on all your purchases.
So while we encourage you to take advantage of Smile Week, just remember to take advantage and smile every chance you get the other 51 weeks out of the year!