How to get happy in five minutes flat with tips including how to avoid doom-scrolling
It's cold outside and we're all broke. So far, so typically January. And this year there's (yet more) Covid uncertainty for good measure. We all need a helping hand to feel more jolly right now.
So remember – joy is all around us. And you'll find it in the little moments that make life worth living, says life coach and author Joanne Mallon.
"It's an energy. Scientists have found that charging your life up with joy boosts your immune system, helps fight stress and may even help you live longer," she says.
Joanne reveals her 20 top tips to elevate your mood and liven up your daily routine, each one taking just five minutes…
1 . GOOD MORNING
To find a new perspective on life, get up early and soak up the beauty of the sunrise. Morning is a magical time of renewal. Sit quietly and focus on how you want to experience your day. Your positive intention could be to notice five good things, to enjoy your food mindfully or to practise an act of kindness.
2. PILLOW TALK
Experts believe simply making your bed promotes a mindset of success and indicates that you're on your way to greater things. So plump up your pillows and smooth out the bedcovers to start the day with positivity.
3. COLD COMFORT
Having a cold shower has been credited with physical and mental health benefits, including raised endorphins (the happiness hormone), increased metabolism, better circulation and an improved immune system. If a fully cold shower is too much to contemplate, try standing under the water as it warms up.
4. BOX BREATHE
Deep breathing helps reduce anxiety and stress. Box breathing, also known as sama vritti pranayama, is often used in yoga practice. Breathe in through your nose for a count of four; hold the breath for a count of four; then exhale through your mouth for four again; pause for a final count of four. Repeat until you feel calm and centred.
5. DO A JOY AUDIT
Write a list of five things that bring you joy. Then think about when you last did each of those things. If it wasn't recently, it's a sign that you need to prioritise your own needs. Make a plan to do at least one thing from your list within the next week.
6. STOP SCROLLING
Wading through social media is rarely a positive experience. Avoid scrolling through feeds on your phone in the mornings or just before bed. Decide on a time when you're going to check your phone – maybe at lunchtime. Once you've ditched the habit, spend that time doing something more positive, such as stretching, reading or meditating.
7. KEEP YOUR CHIN UP
Cognitive Scientists have found a direct connection between looking down and feeling down. On the flip side, if your body starts to act more confidently and joyfully, your mind will too. Straighten up, shoulders back, and smile. You'll naturally start to feel more positive.
8. YES, YES, YES!
A key element of attracting more joy into our lives is being mentally open to it. How would your life be different today if you said yes to more? Resolve to be open to possibility and see what saying yes attracts.
9. GRATITUDE FOR GOOD HEALTH
Studies have found grateful people feel healthier and experience fewer aches and pains. Another study found grateful people sleep better, have less stress and better mental resilience. Think of three things you're grateful for. Name them as you say thank you for them. If they involve another person, send them a thank you message. Gratitude opens the door to more relationships and deepens existing ones.
10. SPRINKLE SOME KINDNESS
Research suggests little acts of kindness. sprinkled throughout your day give you a boost of oxytocin (the love hormone) and dopamine (the feel-good hormone) – it's why we feel great when we do something nice. Psychologists have found the joy of giving lasts longer than the joy of receiving. Actively look for ways you can be kind today.
11. PICTURE PERFECT
Every day, take a photo that sums up the happy moments in your day, whether it's on your walk or when you get home in the evening. Some apps let you build up a picture of your life with a daily photo or video. When you look back at the end of each month you'll see the richness of your life in action.
12. JUST DANCE
Dancing is great for mental and physical health. It improves posture and flexibility, and it's an easy way to lift your mood. If you're watching TV, bust some moves during the ad breaks.
13. ALL SMILES
Laughing is one of the most purely joyful activities we can do. Include something funny while doing a routine activity (such as listening to a podcast while stacking the dishwasher), watch a comedy or check in with your funniest friend. As well as relieving stress, laughter boosts your immune system and improves your mood.
14. ENJOY QUIET TIME
Find five minutes… of unplugged quiet to recharge at the end of your working day. Notice the natural ambient sounds of your home – the people, the house creaks. Focus on the sound of your own breath. Reflect on whatever or whoever brought you joy today.
15. SOOTHING SOUNDS
Classical music lowers body temperature and heart rate and calms breathing – ideal for inducing a restful night's sleep and ending your day on a high. Put some classical music on as you get ready for bed and let the music take you to a calmer, uplifted place. If classical isn't your thing, try listening to white noise or rain sounds.
16. PENCIL IN SOME FUN
Remember how Christmas Eve as a kid was more fun than Christmas Day? Anticipation can make you happier than the actual experience. Get your diary out and see what's coming up, message a friend or book a ticket. Feel the glow of excitement grow.
17. TOP DRAWERS
Small tasks such as tidying an underwear drawer can be so satisfying. Pair up socks and weed out any smalls with holes. Watch clothes-folding videos on YouTube and arrange things in an aesthetically pleasing way that makes you smile. When you open your underwear drawer, you'll access that joy again.
18. LET IT GO
It's important to let go of the past in order to move to a better future. In your mind, picture the person who's upset you and say out loud, "I forgive you". This simple but challenging task can go very deep.
19. PASSION PLEASERS
What did you once enjoy doing that has fallen out of your life? Did you love to paint, read, listen to music or play a sport? Reconnecting to this forgotten passion will bring added meaning to your life and ignite you with energy. Passion equals enthusiasm and connects with our inner well of deep joy.
20. LOVE YOURSELF
Write down three good things about being the age you are now. What do you know that you didn't 10 years ago? Maybe you're more confident or have more freedom. Appreciate everything that's good about you right now.
How To Find Joy In Five minutes… A Day by Joanne Mallon (£8.99, VIE Books) is out 13 January. For all your latest updates on health and wellbeing, sign up to OK!'s daily newsletter.
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