“Believe in yourself and all that you are. Know that there is something inside you that is greater than any obstacle.” Christian D. Larson
Let’s face the unfortunate truth. Bad days happen: you found out your work proposal was rejected, you plan a barbecue for the weekend and now they’re calling for rain, you desperately wanted a coffee and the machine was broken, or you stepped in dog poop. There are always going to be times when your spirits sag and you find yourself a little down in the dumps.
In this article, we’ve collected eight science-based practices that will remind keep your spirits high and bring more joy to your life.
1. Start each day with a positive mindset
Starting the day off with a positive mindset can help you deal with things in a positive, affirming way.
When you awaken tomorrow, give yourself a moment to take a few deep breaths and reflect upon what the day will hold. See yourself at the end of the day feeling accomplished and proud. Then, decide how you’ll approach the day with optimism, hope, and an “I can” attitude.
When you start each morning with a new perspective, hidden gems of joy will appear throughout the day that will help keep your spirits high.
2. Get enough sleep
According to sleepfoundation.org, sleep is a “vital indicator of overall health and well-being.” Yet lack of restful sleep can contribute to low mood and deflated spirit. Try to get as much sleep as you need. Although we often say that a person needs about 8 hours of sleep per night, this is only an average number. Some people find they need more.
3. Jump in the driver’s seat
When life feels dull it’s time to remind yourself that you can get back into the driver’s seat and choose your own direction for your life.
Sometimes we get so buried in “to-dos” we go through the day reacting to what the day presents. Simply put, when you are reacting, you aren’t leading your life, you are following it. Take the first step to break your pattern by committing ten minutes each day to connect with yourself, clarify your priorities and create a quick plan for tackling them. Be certain to include activities that are important to you and your self-care even if you can only devote a little time to them at first.
There is something really empowering in remembering that you are in the driver’s seat. You’ll feel more joy, you’ll feel more optimistic, and you’ll feel your spirits lifted.
4. Get out and about
Instead of holing up inside when your spirits are low, go for a brisk walk around the block, take your dog for a walk, or do whatever gets your joints moving.
It’s awesome if you can get outside, but even if you want can’t, try indoor sports and exercise—running, yoga, Zumba, Crossfit—anything that you enjoy and can easily do for a few minutes or longer.
5. Get out of your comfort zone
It happens to all of us — sometimes, we just fall into a rut. You may be caught in your comfort zone—a situation that feels familiar to you and that you are comfortable with. You are cocooned and safe and surviving without ever having to face new challenges for which you can’t predict an outcome.
Living an ordinary life isn’t living life to the fullest. You miss a lot when it comes to learning new things, great experiences, acquiring skills, and having fun. Instead, try something new, stretch your boundaries, and challenge yourself to say “I will give it my best shot.”
6. Remove yourself from negative people
It’s impossible to isolate yourself from negative people who drain your energy and leave you feeling exhausted and unhappy. Yet others can’t read your mind. Most of the time they don’t have any idea that they’re dampening your spirit.
Limit your time with these people and their negative conversations. You don’t have to be cruel just honest and direct. Say something like, “I only have a few minutes before I have to [fill in the blank] and politely disengage.
7. Celebrate your small wins
In our day to day lives, we normally perform some activities which qualify as “wins”. Wins can be as small as remembering to eat healthy or receiving compliments on a report your prepared.
Celebrating your small wins won’t change your life, but it will put a smile on your face and help your spirits soar.
8. Make someone happy
Eleanor Roosevelt once commented “Since you get more joy out of giving joy to others, you should put a good deal of thought into the happiness that you are able to give.” Eleanor was right! One of the best ways to life your spirits is to make other people happier.
Something interesting happens when you focus on somebody else’s happiness—it comes back to you. You’ll feel happier as someone’s face lights up with joy and you’ll feel happier because you feel you have done a good thing.
Grab your phone right now and text a friend to tell them how much you appreciate them or take a break and invite someone who’s company you enjoy out for a dinner. It will lift their spirits. And yours as well.
Feeling lighter? Spirits lifting?
The next time your spirit sags, don’t let it unsettle you. Try any or all eight strategies to get yourself out of that rut and ready to grab the bull by the horns and go for it!
- Burton, N. (2017). Growing from Depression, Heaven and Hell: The Psychology of Emotions. Acheron Press.
- Mark Twain’s Top 9 Tips for Living a Kick-Ass Life. Retrieved from “The Positivity Blog” October 27, 2018. https://www.positivityblog.com/mark-twains-top-9-tips-for-living-a-kick-ass-life/