21 Simple Pleasures to Enlighten a Gloomy Day

21 Simple Pleasures to Enlighten a Gloomy Day

Do you ever wish you could jump on a plane to Tahiti to escape the stress of everyday life or brighten a gloomy day? For most of us, it’s unrealistic to drop everything and leave. But what if you didn’t have to?

The best solutions aren’t hidden away in some far-off destination where we can only access them for a week or two. In fact, they are often right under our noses! We are just too caught up in busyness, distraction, and exhaustion to notice.

Here are 21 simple pleasures you can easily treat yourself to—without the plane ticket!

These hacks—most of which we can do from the comfort of our own homes—boost our mood and brighten our day by elevating our feel-good hormones (serotonin, endorphins, dopamine), helping us relax, and shifting our focus from gloomy situations or thoughts to more positivity and satisfaction with our lives. 1. Stand on the Bright Side

The simple state of being outdoors triggers a neural bath of happy hormones. Even as little as ten minutes of exposure to daylight outdoors (without sunglasses for optimal results) boosts our levels of both serotonin and endorphins. [1] 2. Treat Yourself to a Salty Soak

Epsom salt (magnesium sulfate) baths are often used for treating aches and pains, but they’re also an amazing stress-buster.

Magnesium is an essential mineral known to relax muscles and relieve tension, stress, and anxiety. Some research shows it to increase serotonin production in the brain, helping to stabilize mood. [2]

If you don’t have access to a tub for full-body indulgence, fill a foot bath or large bowl with hot water and Epsom salt to soak up the mood-boosting benefits through your feet. Feeling extra decadent? Add a few drops of essential oils — calming lavender or perky peppermint are good mood scents to try! 3. Illuminate with Intention

Lighted candles can symbolize our emotional selves and reflect the radiance of our hearts, even when we feel distressed. This pairs well with a positive affirmation of what is going well for us, as a reminder of our blessings. We can also focus on an intention of who we are becoming or what we are committed to fulfilling in our lives.

Light your candle and state your affirmation or intention either out loud or in your mind (whichever feels most comfortable). Repeating this simple ritual on a regular basis reinforces connection with ourselves and moves us into a more positive mindset. 4. Calm Your Mind Without Forcing

Quiet inward focus has a powerful effect on our mood. Sometimes, however, trying to sit still and silence our mind creates what I call “relaxation anxiety”: exacerbated feelings of stress caused directly by the effort of trying to relax. In this case, attempting to relax through traditional meditation (and feeling like you’re failing) can be counterproductive.

If this sounds familiar, try an alternate method like walking or cleaning—any activity that you can carry out without consciously thinking about the steps to perform it. An empowered calm washes over us when we decide to allow our minds and thoughts to wander instead of being rigidly fixated on controlling them. 5. Tune in to a Positive Note

Music is such a powerful companion to, and driver of, our emotions, it is even used to treat anxiety and depression in dementia patients, as musical memory and emotions are among the last capacities to be lost. [3]

Fortunately, we don’t need to have any formal musical education or inclination to enjoy and respond to the benefits at a deep level. [4] The simple act of listening to upbeat music, combined with setting the intention to shift into a more positive mood, is proven to elevate happiness levels. [5] 6. Indulge in Soothing Sippers

There is a natural tranquility that comes from comforting ourselves with a warm mug of deliciousness. Sit back and relax with your favorite blend knowing just the act of mindful sipping will nurture you.

For extra gloomy days, try lemongrass with its bright flavor and uplifting aroma, or turmeric with its rich spicy undertones and feel-good-hormone boosting effects. [6] 7. Expand Your Awareness to Crave “Good Mood” Foods

“You are what you eat” is not just an overused motivator for losing weight. The truth is, every system and process in our bodies is affected by the nourishment and fuel we provide them.

Think about how you feel—physically, mentally, and even emotionally—when you eat a certain food. If what you’re eating leads to feeling fatigued, bloated, guilty, foggy, etc., reassess your consumption of those foods.

On the flip side, some foods with nutrients and minerals known to positively affect our mood include sweet potatoes, blueberries, flaxseed, wild-caught salmon, yogurt, and brown rice. Here’re more options for you: 9 Superfoods To Fight Inflammation And Boost Your Mood 8. Send a Lasting Token of Affection

Receiving a thoughtful note from a friend or family member is at the top of the list for most people when it comes to what brings us joy. Sending a thoughtful note, on the other hand, brings us a double dose: it reminds us of the wonderful people in our lives, and it’s fun to imagine the reaction of the recipient.

Keep it simple if you like. A quick “thank you” or “something I admire/appreciate about you” goes a long way. 9. Launch an Upward Spiral

While it’s never a good idea to ignore or deny our problems, taking our minds off them to notice what’s also going well is a potent mood elevator.

We all have blessings and gifts which we tend to take for granted. Turning our attention to these not only helps us feel better in the moment, it creates an upward spiral of receiving and noticing more things to feel grateful for. Jot a few down in your journal or in a note to post on your fridge. Mention them in your prayers at night. However you choose to acknowledge your blessings, you’re bound to experience an immediate lifting of your spirits.

Here’s a reminder of what you should be thankful for: […]

Read more at www.lifehack.org

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