There aren’t many benefits to being in a bad mood, even if that’s your reliable, long-standing default mode. Being in a bad mood can make you less effective, less open to creative solutions, and due to stress, it can affect your health. Most peoples’ jobs have a degree of stress, some much more than others.
Unless your job is professional chocolate taster or handing out free tickets to Disney World to an Oprah Winfrey Show audience (hint, everyone in the audience goes to Disney World), everyone benefits from working on their positivity daily.
Yes, being in a good mood takes work and practice. A recent Lifehack article provides some great suggestions on how easy it can be to improve your mood daily.
– Improve your posture: Working on sitting up straight will not only make you look taller and more engaged, a recent study shows that sitting up straight makes you more likely to generate positive thoughts and recall positive memories.
– Carry a small object with you. The article recommends carrying a teaspoon in your pocket, but the idea is that moving the object from one pocket or place to another when stressed distracts you from putting your energy into being in a bad mood. The activity occupies your brain and shuts down the negative thought making factory.
– Skip the Morning news. When was the last time you woke up to good news on TV or your phone? Instead, spend that same time doing something positive, uplifting, or inspirational like taking your dog for a quick walk, spending more time talking with your kids, or read a little bit of something that inspires you.
– Write down three things you’re grateful for each day. Studies have found a connection between writing down what you’re grateful for and an increased sense of positivity and well-being. This is an easy habit to adopt and if you want to be happier and efficient you can add your “grateful” list to the grocery list page – the idea is to be mindful about the good people, things, and opportunities in our lives.
-The “Happify” app. Yes, there’s an app for this and it’s worth checking out. The app has activities and games to help you learn or re-learn how to handle stressful situations and to be more aware when a bad or stressful event threatens to hijack your emotional state.
-Celebrate small wins every day. Write down a win you had each day. It doesn’t have to be life-changing or something you’d include on your resume but making progress on an issue is good for the soul and it just happens to activate the part of your brain which responds to rewards. It turns out that the chemical dopamine is also associated with pride and achievement and when dopamine is involved you are generally in a happier mood.
With some practice, choosing to be in a good mood and not giving into a default bad mood is doable. Try each of these techniques to see which one or which combination of happy hacks works best for you. Happy trails.