waterfallWe all have days when we’re down. Days when you just wish you were in a better mood, struggling to get in a better frame of mind. Sometimes we get stuck in our own emotional dumps and forget how easy it is to feel happier, so here are seven simple ways to lift your mood. Some of them may surprise you!

1. Go for a walk.

Going for a daily walk is one of the best forms of exercise, and when you are feeling down it is even more beneficial. If you can, walk through a natural environment with plants and birds. Even better is quality time at the gym.  Exercise has been proven to be a great mood enhancer.Just get out there and move.  Do whatever makes you happy.

2. Listen to music you enjoy.

Listening to music can shift your mood quickly. It’s effect can be nearly magical.  Dancing along is even better. 🙂

3. Discover something new

Read something different than what you would normally read. You may discover something wonderful. Or check your local newspaper or online listings for events or seminars that might interest you. Meetup.com is a great online tool for finding something to do in your location.

4. Laugh.

Laughter is one of the best ways to lift your spirits. Find a humorous book, or watch a comedy movie. I like finding, and listening to, new comedians on YouTube.com.

5. Breathing exercise.

Breathing exercises are an excellent de-stressor that you can do anywhere, anytime. Simply allow yourself to sit comfortably with your back straight. Now close your eyes and become aware of your breathing.  Five quick bursts of air in, hold it for a count of five, then blow the air out through your mouth with a count of five. That’s all there is to it. Do this for a few minutes. Notice how relaxed you feel afterward.

6. Be grateful

Most of us were brought up to say please and thank you, probably out of politeness more than gratitude but scientific evidence has shown that gratitude and happiness are strongly linked. Being grateful has been linked to positive emotions, boosts in energy levels and increased optimism.

 

7. Fake it till you feel it.

Feelings follow actions. If you are feeling low, deliberately act cheerful – you will find yourself actually feeling happier. If you are feeling angry at someone, do something thoughtful for her and your feelings toward her will soften. This strategy is uncannily effective.

Taking time to reflect, and making conscious steps to make your life happier, really does work. So use these tips to start your own Happiness Project. I promise it won’t take you a whole year.