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 Post subject: Make everyday a happy day
 Post Posted: Fri Jan 27, 2006 3:41 am 
Make everyday a happy day

1 Catch it

Ever wondered why you feel more cheerful when you’re on holiday and everyone around you seems to be friendly and smiling or, for that matter, why you’re such a grouch when your nearest and dearest are in a rotten mood? The fact is that other people’s moods are contagious. Researchers have found that showing people pictures of happy, smiling people increases brain waves associated with calm and alertness. So put a few holiday snaps around and see how looking at them helps lift your mood.

2 Put on a happy face

You don’t have to actually feel happy to get yourself into a sunnier frame of mind. Researchers at Clark University in the USA found that when people were told to wrinkle their brows they felt angry, even if when watching funny cartoons. By contrast being told to smile made people feel happier and find the cartoons more amusing. According to psychologist Ingrid Collins "When you are truly happy, you send physiological messages to your body to breathe, adjust your muscle tension and general posture, influence the expression on your face, and so on, to express your happy state. When you consciously adjust your physiological state to appear as if you are happy, this enters the conditioned loop of the feelings of wellbeing, and so your conscious emotional experience becomes that of being happy again. " In other words, put on a smile and watch your mood soar.

3 Get a sense of direction

You can’t always get what you want, but you’ll never achieve what you want unless you focus on it, according UK-based personal trainer and motivational psychologist Pete Cohen, whose successful Lighten Up programme has helped countless people lose weight and keep it off for good. If you are clear about where you’re going you will get there, says Pete. So make a list of what you want - whether it’s a more toned body, a better job, a pay rise - then take each one in turn and decide how you’re going to achieve it. Work out some long- and short-term goals and start working towards them. As you reach each goal, congratulate yourself on how well you’ve done.

4 Think on the bright side

Have you ever noticed how if you’re feeling fa’ or having a bad hair day then somehow everything else seems to go wrong? It may sound cliched but positive thinking really does help you feel happier. If you persistently think gloomy or depressing thoughts it’s not surprising if you feel negative and depressed. If you don’t believe it, try this experiment for a couple of weeks. Every morning write down three negative thoughts that come into your head such as ‘I’m so fat’, ‘I’l I never get this Job done, My life’s a mess Now turn them into positive statements such as ‘I’m curvaceous’, ‘If I do a bit every day I’ll soon finish it,’ ‘I’m going through a sticky patch at the moment but I’m coming through it.’ Now make a list of three positive thoughts, things like ‘I’m a good mother,’ ‘I’ve got some wonderful friends,’ ‘I’m really good at cooking.’ Now strengthen those thoughts by expanding on them such as, for example, ‘I’ve got some absolutely wonderful friends and the great thing is they really like me.’Stick this list somewhere where you can look at it frequently, for instance on — he fridge or, if you feel too modest, in your diary or the inside of your wardrobe. Look at it three times a day.

5 Invest in some ‘me’ time

Do you ever stop yourself doing something because you feel it’s a waste of time or money? For example, doing the housework instead of meeting a friend, or not taking an afternoon off to see your child’s school concert because there’s so much to do at work?

According to US psychologist Richard Carlson, doing things that nourish your mind, body or soul such as spending time reading with your child, a walk, along the beach with your partner or recording a favourite TV show to watch later is priceless. On his website Don’tsweat.com Carlson writes, "When you take time to do things that nourish you, or spend time with people you love, it reduces the stress you feel in all aspects of your life ... When you know that, no matter what, certain parts of your life simply aren’t for sale - at any price - it reminds you that your life is precious and, furthermore, it belongs to you."

6 Play to your strengths

How often do you find yourself putting. Yourself down by saying things like, ‘I’m so untidy,’ ‘I’m hopeless with money,’ ‘I’m always late.’ Many of us focus on our weak spots and ignore our strengths, according to US psychology professor, Martin Seligman, who has pioneered the science of happiness. According to Seligman, focusing on and building on your good qualities - things like kindness, humour, creativity, sociability and generosity— can send your happiness soaring.

7 Sweat it out

We’ve all heard it a thousand times, but being active really is one of the best ways to lift your spirits. Working up a sweat helps concentrate the mind, eases out physical tension and triggers the release of endorphins, the body’s natural feel-good hormones. It also affects levels of brain chemicals such as serotonin, sometimes known as the ‘happiness hormone’ and noradrenalin, which makes us feel alert and alive. Any type of activity will do, provided it leaves you feeling slightly breathless and sweaty So pick an activity you enjoy such as walking, Jogging, dancing or swimming or try something completely new.

8 Eat your way to happiness

Eating the right foods can significantly up your happiness quotient according to Amanda Geary, organiser of Brighton University’s Food and Mood Project in, the UK. Eating regular meals, watchinq and being aware of what you eat will help improve your mood. Research shows that people on too low-fat diets actually become more angry and depressed than people eating a higher fat diet. So don’t cut all fat out of your diet. Just make sure you eat ‘good’ fats such as olive oil, avocados, walnuts and oily fish, rather than heart-unfriendly saturated fats such as those found in many burgers, sausages and processed foods. B vitamins - found in pulses, whole grain cereals, fish, poultry, eggs, bananas and avocados - are also mood boosting.

9 See red

Red is the most vibrant colour in the spectrum and according to colour therapists it’s also the best for lifting your mood. Putting on a red shirt or blouse, buying yourself a bunch of red roses I or carnations or putting a bright red cushion on a chair or sofa can help lift your mood almost instantly. Other ‘happy’ colours include yellow and orange.

10 Learn to say ‘No’

Have you ever heard yourself saying ‘Yes, I’d love to’, while your stomach is sinking at your words? If you’ve got enough on your plate, saying ‘No’ to more will avoid undue stress and help you stay happy. And don’t get bogged down in guilt if you refuse a request. Suggest another time that is better for you, or not - your happiness is more important than anything else.

11 Laugh it off

Laughing really can help you feel happy, according to psychologist, Robert Holden of the UK-based Happiness Project, who says that laughter helps you relax, lowers the blood pressure, and increases the flow of endorphins, the body’s feel-good hormones. When we laugh we also turn our mental switch from down to up. To get your laughter muscles working, hire an amusing video, get together with friends who make you laugh or get a young child to tell you a knock-knock. joke.

12 Get creative

Making anything - whether it’s a cake, a dress, a pot or a painting - changes mood by causing your brain to shift from the right, logical thinking, side of the brain to the left, more free-flowing, creative side.

13 Try something new

Think about times when you were happy in your life and chances are the peak times were when you were involved in something new, exciting and totally absorbing, whether it was a love affair, starting college or a new job, or having a baby Doing new things is scary, but the challenge of facing up to your fears, conquering them and achieving something is a fantastic way to up your happiness quotient. So find something you’d like to do that you’ve never done before - anything from learning to dance to learning a language - and see how your mood rises.

14 Choose to be happy

"Happiness is to deciding to be happy, " says psychologist Ingrid Collins. " It is linked to the emotions of love and forgiveness, so love yourself and forgive your weaknesses. If a person had to be perfect before being able to be happy, there would be no happy people in the world. However people who can accept themselves have plenty of love and forgiveness for others and so help them to choose happiness. Study happy people and you will find it doesn’t depend on their level of wealth or their strength or expertise levels. It is far more dependent on their chosen attitude. "

15 See the big picture

However optimistic you are, things will go wrong from time to time. The secret of staying happy despite life’s ups and downs is to cultivate a sense of perspective. People who are miserable tend to ‘catastrophise’ things that happen, telling themselves each problem is the worst thing that ever occurred. To avoid this, make an effort to step back from the situation that’s causing your stress and unhappiness. Ask yourself ‘How will’ this situation look in a week, a month, a year, five years?’ In most cases you’ll find that whatever it Is that’s making you unhappy isn’t really that important in the grand scheme of things. Sometimes the best solution to a bad mood is to get away from it all, Book yourself a short break away from home, or just get yourself away from your immediate environment by taking a walk around the block, to the nearest park or going for a drive to a local beauty spot.

Courtesy Emirates Woman

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