Ready, set, SMILE!

Ready, set, SMILE!

As of late it seems as though a “woah is me” energy is circulating through the atmosphere… as if everyone has been chugging life blows cocktails and then just sitting in their own “why me?” puke. Pardon my graphic explanation but the pity party energy swirling about is really starting to get me; my positive defense armor can only work so hard and it doesn’t seem to be working!!!

So, here it is… in black & white, 12 super easy, super active ways to silence your self-induced violin playing and turn that frown upside down, NOW! Ready, set, smile!

1. Slap yourself silly with reality. When you have a negative thought – any negative thought… write it down. Next to the thought, rate on a scale of 1-10 how realistic/accurate/true that thought is. For example, if your thought is “I’m a cow in these jeans.” Think about how true that statement is. Are you really a cow in jeans? That would be a ZERO on your scale. Oh, I know your trick, so you change it to “I look fat in these jeans.” Rate that. And seriously look at your statement – do you really look FAT? Fat as compared to what? Kate Moss? Umm… ok, then your reality measuring stick might need to be slapped itself. I think you get the point here. Realistic thoughts = realistic emotions.

2. LOL! Laughter has been proven to shake anyone out of even the darkest funk. So go ahead and rent yourself a knee-slapping, pee in your pants stand-up comedy DVD. Instead of watching the whole thing in one choke on your nachos sitting, pop the DVD in every morning for 10 minutes. Starting your day off with a laugh sends it in the right direction, not to mention if you have a snooze button addiction, this might cure it. Comedians to try: Frank Caliendo, Pablo Francisco, Mike Birbiglia

3. Laughter Yoga. In other laughter news, if you are bored with or were quite frankly never all that inspired by yoga, you may want to consider laughter yoga. Here’s the deal – the body literally “gets off” from laughter, but it can’t distinguish between humor-induced laughter and self-induced laughter – both have equally good effects. In a laughter yoga class you learn how to trigger laughter in yourself so you can reap its benefits.

4. Treasure hunt. Beautiful things all around you but when you are blinded by the blues, it can be hard to see them. So with this exercise your goal is to acknowledge three inspiring things, daily. These can be micro or macro – a child laughing, a favorite color, a good looking cupcake, an elderly couple holding hands, a blooming flower… whatever brings joy to you, counts! Stop and appreciate that item, sound, moment… as mindfully as you can to absorb its healing power.

5. Compliments. Mark Twain once said, “that the best way to cheer yourself up is to cheer someone else up.” And there is no simpler way to do this than to give someone a compliment… because who on earth couldn’t benefit from one of those!? In fact, I make this a daily practice of mine – to give at least 3 compliments per day. Bequeath them to those you know or don’t know, it doesn’t matter… there is such joy in watching someone receive an unsuspecting compliment. Plus, you never know, you might get one in return!

6. Dance in your car so people can see you! Sure you might do a little seat-butt dance to your local radio station, but this is not what I am talking about here. To collect the happy benefits of this exercise you need to dance out loud! This means turning up the music and putting your body into the beat (safety permitting, of course). Further, a key component here is to let people watch. You get to entertain other drivers which is a great gift and giving always makes you feel good, plus it feels exhilarating to let yourself be that uninhibited!

7. Sing in your shower. Factually speaking, you can’t have a bad day if you don’t start in the morning. Therefore the easiest way to ensure you have a good morning is to kick start it with a shower sing-a-thon. While you are washing that soap right outta your hair, belt out whatever tune pops in your head or better yet, make one up about how your day is going to go. Sure it’s cheesy, but cheesy can feel oh so good… admit it.

8. Doodle happy words. Say you are at the office. You are on a painful, never-ending conference call or were just given an assignment from hell. Since I’m sure you know your attitude affects your performance and your performance affects your paycheck… stop right there and start doodling! Doodle silly words (yes, they can be naughty) or goofy pictures to snap you out of your misery and remind you that your job is not your life. The go-home bell will ring soon.

9. Dream. Daydreaming can take you to far off places… far far faaaaaaar away from wherever your present troubles lie… but when you snap out of it, you usually land right back in your pity party. Thus, I recommend dreaming of something you can actually fulfill in the near future – something small and realistic such as getting to grab that 4pm extra foamy latte, being able to leave work on time for once, gearing up to “bump” into your gym crush or watching a fave Tivo’d show. You will be happy when you are thinking about it happening and when it actually happens… double score!

10. Eat fresh produce/drink water. Sure the blues come from real life drama, but sometimes, they seem to come from absolutely nowhere… which might mean you are just dehydrated or low on blood sugar. This means you need to skip the coffee and fro yo break and opt for water and some fresh fruits and veggies, stat! Within about 20 minutes you will notice your mood shift dramatically.

11. Get some Vitamin D – sunshine! Similarly to the body’s need for water and properly balanced blood sugar levels, it also requires vitamin D, found in sunlight. So if you are feeling irritable and can’t unravel why, take a walk around the block to soak up some sunshine. If you live in a gloomy place, and regularly suffer from the blues, you might want to look into light therapy.

12. Tap into your childlike sensibilities. Throw yourself back to your fancy-free days as a kid when every worry only lasted a moment and was cured with an ice pack. Transport yourself by doing what kids do… dangling their feet, skipping, swinging on swings, eating popsicles after lunch, writing in crayon, swinging around poles, finding excitement in pushing the elevator button, etc. Simply, stop taking life so seriously so you can enjoy it a little bit more.

So there you have it… a dozen ways to release the sad and bring in the happy, authentically. I’ve tried them all and do many of these regularly so I know they work! And the best part is that you only have to do one of these things for your mood to be boosted!

Welcome to the bright side… it’s nice to see you over here.

Live and love largely,