We don’t need studies to prove that some people are just plain more fun and refreshing to be around than others. I want to be someone whose presence is enjoyed, rather than just endured. I found this article recently,and I thought is was worth sharing. While it may not work for everyone, I can attest to the fact that it is possible to make it work because I have done it.
Read on and consider these small changes, as recommended in Shape to help brighten your mood and bust happiness-sapping stress with small changes in your schedule.
7:00 a.m. Rise and Relax
It’s no secret that yoga shatters stress, and now a study in the journal BioPsychoSocial Medicine finds that having a regular practice also eases both the mental and physical symptoms triggered by anxiety, anger, depression, and fatigue. “Yoga calms your central nervous system and increases the flow of energizing oxygen in your body by incorporating deep breathing,” says Mark Gerow, a mind-body specialist at Canyon Ranch in Lenox, MA, and author of the upcoming book Years of Posing: A Yoga Teacher’s Struggle With Addiction and Trauma.
I’m not really a yoga girl, but I never miss a morning of meditation, contemplation, prayer – whatever you want to call it. Before I head into the office, I take at least 15-20 minutes (more often an hour) to do motivational readings. So, whether it’s yoga poses (as recommended in the article in Shape) or just some time to journal, read positive meditations, even listen to uplifting music with your eyes closed. Find what works, and do it. Take the time – you are worth it!
7:30 a.m. Make an Omelet
Scrambled, fried, poached, or hard-boiled, eggs not only help keep you feeling full until lunch since they’re protein powerhouses, the yolks also provide vitamin B12. Studies have found an association between low levels of B12 and depressive symptoms.
10:30 a.m. Stop Being Such a Slouch
Something as seemingly insignificant as how you carry yourself can impact your emotions. A 2013 study in Brain and Cognition found that people reported feeling more upbeat after performing “happy movements” such as jumping, skipping, or raising their arms overhead, and they said they felt more negative after making “sad movements” including closing their chests and slumping. Other research shows sitting confidently in turn makes you feel more self-assured. Set an alarm on your computer or cell to go off every half hour to remind you to straighten out your spine and roll those shoulders down and back (and maybe even get up and jump around!), and you might start smiling more at the office.
1 p.m. Hit “Reset”
Attention Restoration Theory, holds that exposing yourself to nature helps restore your brain’s ability to focus. Get a nature fix by stepping outside for a brief stroll after lunch, or try searching for beautiful nature images on Google.
3 p.m. Massage It Out
Research shows that massage can ease pain, slash stress, and improve your mood. The foam roller I suggested in a March 24, 2014 Facebook posting does the trick for me! Even rolling a tennis ball under the arches of your feet at your desk can give you a lift.
4:30 p.m. Try a Stick of Gum
An Australian study showed that people who chewed a stick of gum not only had lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol in their saliva but also reaped a 67-percent improvement in performance on multi-tasking exercises compared to non-gum chewers. Though researchers aren’t sure exactly why, they suspect the action may boost blood flow in your brain. Other studies suggest chewing gum may diminish anxiety and depression while enhancing alertness and mood. The article quoted did not state the obvious to me – make sure your gum of choice is not packed with sugar. There are lots of choices of “healthy” gum on the market, so choose wisely!
7 p.m. Serve Seafood
We know your diet can help improve your life, but it may also help keep away the blues. Eating foods high in omega-3 fatty acids may slash depression symptoms by almost 50 percent, according to research in the Journal of Nutrition. Cold-water fish such as char, herring, cod, and salmon are excellent sources, so opt to have them for dinner at least twice a week.
8:30 p.m. Bonding Time
The bonding hormone oxytocin has been linked to feelings of calmness, trust, and reduced stress. The article suggested hugging, kissing or cuddling with someone you love, but just petting your cat our patting your dog on the head can help ignite oxytocin.
10 p.m. Hit The Sheets!
Study after study indicates that we all need our sleep. Society demands that we try to fit more and more into our day and our lives, so is it any wonder we are stressed out and unhappy? Call it a day in time to get 8 hours of good sleep. All of your responsibilities will look much less intimidating after a good night’s rest!