There are days that smack you in the face. You know, the ones where you feel like you’re doggy paddling with all your might to just stay afloat. Your emotions are raw or numb and it is difficult to find joy. Often, if left unchecked, hard days can turn into hard weeks.
And yet, it doesn’t have to be like this. There is a different way. I know from experience that difficult days can be turned around. If not that day, shortly thereafter. Here are 3 tips that REALLY do work. I have used them again and again in my own life. Two of them may surprise you a bit.
Fostering “an attitude of gratitude”, as corny as it may sound, has amazing power to help lift your spirits. Researchers have found that keeping a gratitude journal can improve your mood for weeks afterwards. It can also make a big difference in a difficult moment. You may not be able to grab a notebook and pen, but you certainly can think about or verbalize what you are thankful for, regardless of how small it may seem. Getting your mind off of what is wrong and instead focusing on what is good, or right in life, is a very powerful tool. But don’t just do this on difficult days. Being thankful every single day is likely to boost your happiness and make difficult days less frequent. It does for me.
Get outside, as soon as possible
There is something incredibly healing about nature. Even if you live in the city. Soaking up some of the sun’s rays while taking a walk (both proven mood boosters) or sitting in your green backyard or a park with trees, can clear your mind and help you begin to feel better. In fact, adding this to your daily schedule, like gratitude, can improve your happiness long-term. If I go a couple of days without being outside (which can easily happen here in these North East winters), I can totally feel the difference. I start to feel off and not my happy self. In fact my husband knows this and will encourage me to spend some time outdoors if I’ve missed too many days. It really does work.
Look for a way to love and care for someone else. Visit a local nursing home, fix a meal for a single mom and her family, volunteer to mentor or tutor a struggling student, or bake cookies for a neighbor. Just try and do something that day, if at all possible. You’d be surprised by how powerful the act of serving is to help not just the other person, but you as well. It takes your focus off of your own problems and how you feel. Your worth is boosted as you care for another. And as the bible teaches, blessed are those who bless others. You really will feel blessed. You may not think you have the time to serve. But trust me, it will be worth every minute and you will be so very glad that you did.
What do you think? I would love to hear how these three tips work for you!
P.S. While these tips are great to help with the occasional “hard day”, if your difficult days are prolonged, you may be suffering from depression and will likely need to take other steps to help yourself get better (which may include seeing a physician). I talk about what I did to help combat depression in my own life here.
P.P.S. I almost forgot. This helpful little trick I previously shared on beating stress is also worth its weight in gold.