We have life backwards. We think that more money, a better job, a nicer house, a new city will make us happy—because success makes us happy, right? But in reality, happier people tend to be more successful people because they wake up each day ready to strive for bigger and better things. No, that doesn’t mean they’re smiling goofily all the time, but it means they refuse to be anything less than their best self. And happiness drives that. Start with these five easy ways to boost your mood, and in turn, boost your success.
Yes, this simple first step is real. Studies show that laughing triggers a release of a chemical, dopamine, into your bloodstream. Dopamine is the chemical that makes you feel happier. Laughing can also trigger memories within the brain that made you laugh another time. This positive chain reaction can cause a mood boost that will carry you through the long afternoon.
“Sharing and caring are the secrets of living.” The old catchy phrase might be onto something. By acknowledging the good others do in our lives, and doing good in return, we boost our sense of self-worth and form a mental and emotional bond with others. Humans are, by nature, social creatures. We thrive on interaction. You don’t have to volunteer hours at a local charity (although that’s great if you have the time), simply leaving a sticky note with a positive message on a co-workers desk can make all the difference in both your moods.
After a long trying day, working out is typically the last thing on our minds. We just want to go home, maybe watch some Netflix and relax. But increasing your heart rate for at least 20 minutes can significantly improve your mood and even energize you for the next day. Try working out in the morning before work and take note of your mood when you start your workday. All freelancers should exercise.
Take a Dark Chocolate Break
That’s right, dark chocolate triggers the walls of your blood vessels to relax, which lowers blood pressure and increases circulation. Dark chocolate is also an aphrodisiac and can induce feelings of euphoria. Try eating a small piece around the afternoon crash time and see how you feel after 15 minutes.
Quitting is typically associated with failure. We live in a society that champions grit, resilience and perseverance. And although those are admirable traits, trying to force a project or task into a solution can be a vicious circle where the only result is your sour mood. Take some time away from the project and get outside. Let your brain decide whether the project is worth another look or if you should get out while you’re ahead.
Bottom line, happiness is a choice. When we allow external factors like a moody co-worker or a less-than-pleasant email affect our own mood, we are no longer in control of our future. Take note of the triggers that tend to bring you down. Identify and eliminate them using these quick tips. And get happy!