In today’s society it’s so easy to become wrapped up in our thoughts, dwell on negativity, or become overwhelmed by stress. How could we not when our worlds are filled with stimulation, external societal pressure, internal pressure, stress and occasionally even trauma? We are all human, and we all have our limits. For me personally when things become too much, I find it’s very easy to ruminate, feel overwhelmed, sad, anxious or even trapped within my own mind or life.
The more we can break up the day with some light, the more likely we will feel positively overall.
These are my five favourite instant mood lifters that you can do anywhere, anytime:
Focus on the positive in the “now” – Take a few minutes to think about all the positive things currently existing in your life. What is amazing about your life? What are you grateful for? What has gone well today? Whatever comes to mind… explore these thoughts in more detail and allow your mind to wander into the future and how these positive elements might look then. For me this can be everything from appreciating the sunshine, a beach walk I did in the morning and how happy it made me, or the positive things going on in the lives of my friends and family.
Care for someone else – Take a minute to to do kind act for someone you love. This could be as simple as a task around the house, texting a friend to let them know you’re thinking about them or dedicating some of your time volunteering to help others. Other things I like to do are smile at strangers, give hugs (usually not to strangers haha), buy little gifts and give compliments. When we’re doing nice things for those around us, not only does it give us warm and fuzzies about doing a good deed, but it also diminishes our own problems. When we are giving focus and energy to someone else, we have less time to analyse our own issues, and it can provide perspective about the gravity of our own personal circumstances. Win win!
Notice the detail – wherever you are, a simple yet effective form of meditation is to focus on the detail around you. The idea of this meditation is to focus our awareness on the experience of nature or our surroundings. Sight, sound, touch, smell (and perhaps even taste). You can do this while sitting, standing or walking – the idea is to put your full attention on what is around you – trees, flowers, animals, the breeze, sounds, smells or even mundane objects. To intensify this experience, allow yourself to experience the sights, sounds and smells without labeling them and becoming mentally involved with them. Simply experience the colours, shape, textures, sounds with a childlike awareness, as if you’d never experienced anything like it before and are seeing it for the very first time. If your mind wanders and becomes caught up in thought, simply bring it back to the experience and repeat.
Find some water – Since the time of the Romans, people all over the world have been using the therapeutic qualities of water to cleanse, heal and relax the body. If you’re lucky enough to live by the ocean or river, take a dip! If that’s not possible, even just walking past bodies of water can have an immediate soothing effect on our mind and body. If you’re at home, have a relaxing bath or shower. If you enjoy the heat, this will stimulate the production of white blood cells which strengthens your immune system, and sweating removes toxins from our body, making us feel amazing. And if cold water is your thing – it’s a great recharger, reduces inflammation and helps boost circulation. So take advantage of whatever water you can find, and enjoy the natural healing of hydrotherapy. My favourite morning routine is to go for a walk on the beach, and then float in the ocean, I like to imagine the water running across my body is washing away all my stress and negative feelings.
Move your body – Moving my body has gotten me through some very challenging life experiences, by providing a reason to get up out of bed, stress relief, a way to switch off my mind and an endorphin boost that has helped drag me out of some big holes. We all know exercise is good for us, but the digital age has created a workforce rooted in sedentarism that wreaks havoc on our body and mind. Moving our bodies improves brain function, structure, and connectivity, and boosts feel-good endorphins. So move it! And there’s no need to overcomplicate it. Get up and go for a walk around the block, grab a tea, stretch for a few minutes or take a break from whatever you’re doing and practice 10 minutes of yoga. Be present for these minutes, try and really focus on the movement of your body and how it makes you feel, even a few minutes can massively recharge the batteries.
Hopefully when you practice any of these mind and body exercises you’ll also notice a shift in how you feel, and if you can organically work them in several times a day I can guarantee you’ll feel more positive about your world, no matter what it looks like today.
Caity Veth is the founder of Caity Veth Pilates, a nutritionist and lover of the ocean and adventure. Caity’s mission is to help people build their self esteem and overcome mental health struggles through physical movement. Connect with her on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, or at www.caityveth.vhx.tv.
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