Monday, September 22, 2008

Instant mood elevators

In this day of instant gratification, I get asked if there are any instant mood elevators?

Well there are no real short cuts to long term happiness, but there sure are quick fixes to get you started on the path of happiness.

1. When feeling down, contort the left side of your face. Vigorously contorting the left side of the face will release positive emotions by increasing activity in the right frontal hemisphere.( Imp….do not contract the right side as that may lead to sadness !!!!!)

2. Grab a piece of dark chocolate …..Just one small square is enough!!! Try and go for over 60% cocoa. It releases serotonin in the brain, which produces a feeling of pleasure and satisfaction. Studies show that melting chocolate in one's mouth increases brain activity and heart rate. What are you waiting for? Remember stick to one small square.....

3. Smile!!!!!fake it if you have to. Again it is about cheating your brain into releasing endorphins.

4. Knead dough or clay, knit, paint, or do pottery, wash and rinse your clothes ( no washing machines) gardening, sewing, massaging, ironing…. anything that will make use of your hands. Now I understand why the Pilipino helpers are always smiling!!!!!

5. Go for a swim or go for a hike, (enough trails around) any form of exercise. Kissing is also considered exercise as it burns 26 cal per minute, releases endorphins and prevents facial wrinkles!!!!!

6. Get into the habit of writing a gratitude (thank you) journal. This will encourage your brain to consciously look out for things that you are grateful for and those that make you happy.

7. Light some incense or spray some aromatherapy oils on your pillow or put some in your bath. According to research the amygdala is affected by smell. Differing aromatic rings are contained with essential oils. When we smell these, the odor is transferred into a nerve message. The message is sent to different parts of the brain where the process of stimulating different hormones is undertaken.

8. Play Mozart or any music that you like. I listened to Barbara Streisand when I was really depressed, but I can’t do that anymore. Our taste in music changes with the change in our moods and we can also change our mood by listening to the appropriate music. Music has an amazing ability to lift our spirits, gives us new insights and stimulates our mind.

9. Another interesting exercise that works for me. Massaging the point of the Amygdala. Simple way to locate the amygdala gland is by placing your thumbs in your ears, and then place your middle fingers near the inside corners of your eyes. The amygdala gland is found about 1" into the forehead where your index fingers fall. The frontal lobe of the brain can be located by placing your palm on your forehead. The entire area covered by your palm is where the frontal lobes are located. Massaging this area stimulates a release of endorphins. Try it.

10. Watch a silly comedy. Laugh your head off. It might be difficult when you are already down and depressed, so before sitting down for that comedy,call a friend over, get yourself a piece of dark chocolate….maybe a glass of red wine , spray your surroundings with beautiful smelling oils and get ready to lift your spirits.

So no excuses for not pulling yourself out of the get moving and get happy.