In our last post, we mentioned that being in a generally perkier mood can help you feel more energetic to exercise. But if you understand our health promotion model, you know that improved exercise is not all that a better mood can do for you. It can also lessen food cravings, reduce insomnia and help you feel more collaborative and creative. Much better side effects than any sleep, energy or appetite-related “magic” pills! 😉
So – ready for a few mood boosting tips? Here are my favorite 4:
- Ask 3 Happy Questions. Any time you need a quick boost, ask yourself these 3 questions: What am I grateful for? What am I proud of? What am I looking forward to in the next 24 hours? Allow yourself to respond to these questions with anything you can feel sincere about, whether it is something small, something big, something seemingly insignificant, or something that has deep meaning for you. Don’t judge what makes you happy – just enjoy it! These 3 questions are a great way to boost your mood and to kick-start a fun and productive dinner-time conversation.
- Find Meaning. When you dread an activity, it’s usually because the perceived pain of performing it outweighs the perceived benefits. For example, if you postpone completing your continuing education credits (CECs) each year, it’s probably because you see it as something that doesn’t bring you much value. But while you procrastinate, you experience a nagging little stress that dampens your mood. To get yourself into action, focus on the meaning of the task. Those CECs will help you have deeper impact on the lives of the people you serve. Isn’t that more motivating than merely satisfying the requirements of your certification or licensing board? More on this topic in See Beyond Your Everyday Life on p. 146 of our book.
- Find Flow. You may love your TV after a long day at work, but people report the greatest satisfaction when they are immersed in what they are doing, not when they are being passively entertained. Think of the hobbies you enjoyed as a child or the ones you wish you could pursue today. Pick one, and then plan ways to get one step closer to making it a regular habit. Research shows that active leisure allows us to come back to work more refreshed and recharged the next day, thus helping us enjoy greater energy and feel more resilient when obstacles arise. Not sure how that applies to you? See Leisure that Matters on p. 178 of our book, and find out!
- Do Good. Whenever I was in the dumps, my grandmother used to say “Go do someone a favor. It will do you good.” Research supports my grandmother’s suggestion. In fact, noted psychologist Martin Seligman has stated, “we scientists have found that doing a kindness produces the single most reliable momentary increase in well-being of any exercise we have tested,” (Flourish, p. 20). For this suggestion to remain powerful overtime, you’ll need to vary the kindnesses you perform. Check out acts of kindness that occurred in the London Tube. Then turn to p. 166 in our book for a little guidance on how to make it a regular practice.
Final thought, this one for coaches: if you are working with someone who is a bit of an energy vampire, the above tips can help you help them. But don’t forget that emotions are contagious! Protect your own energy by integrating a quick mood booster before and after each appointment with this person!