If you live in a part of the world that is dark for half of the year, it can take its toll on you. Slowly, you may become more and more tired and start feeling kind of “blah”. Many people become down-right depressed during the winter months. I personally start to struggle with the seasonal blues anywhere between November and February. Life just doesn't feel as joyful without the warmth of the sun sometimes. Whether you are like me and experience sadness in the winter or you're just having a cruddy day, here are some simple, yet highly effective and science-backed ways to lift your spirits– free of charge:
1. Listen To Cheerful Christmas Music & Drink Hot Chocolate.
It doesn’t have to be Christmas time to enjoy the nostalgia that Christmas music brings as it evokes the holiday spirit. If Christmas is a time of year that holds fond memories, go back to that place for a little bit. While you’re there, enjoy a little bit of hot chocolate. Many studies link chocolate (milk or dark) to increased pleasure and happiness. However, to stave off added fat and excess sugar, look for dark chocolate hot cocoa with cacao content above 70 percent.
2. Play With Your Pets (If You Have 'Em).
I call this “puppy hugging time”. I even sing a special song to my dogs about puppy hugging—but we won’t get into that. Furry friends create a very therapeutic and healing environment for people that are stressed out and feeling sad. Pet therapy is a proven way to improve mood and reduce anxiety. If you don't have a pet or don’t have access to your four-legged friend at the moment, watch a youtube video of animals doing crazy things. This is one of my personal favorites.
3. Reflect On Things You Are Grateful For.
One source of unhappiness is always striving to have or be more. Maybe you have been longing for a new car or a promotion at work. Whatever the case may be, chances are good that a material possession or advancement in your career will only provide you with momentary happiness. True happiness comes from appreciating what you have in your life right now–no matter how big or small. Expressing gratitude on a regular basis is proven to give you a boosting positive effect. Take a few minutes to think about just one aspect of your life that is really great. Maybe you used to work a dead-end job 5 years ago, but you have a really satisfying career now. Focus on how much better your life is now because of that. Because when you genuinely fill yourself up with the passion of appreciation, it transforms how you feel and it wholly alters the actions you take and the results you'll create.
4. Play With Kids.
If you have children, you know how much joy you get from playing with them and watching them grow. If you don't have children: do you have a friend or relative that has children that you could babysit for? Do you have the ability to do some youth mentoring? Children laugh on average 300 times a day while adults only laugh about 15 times. Kids aren’t jaded by life yet—they haven’t fully developed their super-ego. So, they are a wonderful reminder that life can be fun and worry-free… even if just for a little while.
5.Get Out In Nature.
Obviously, the sun will not always be bright and shining, but just being in nature is healing for the soul. The fresh oxygen we breathe in from the trees around us can help reinvigorate our overall well-being. There is supporting evidence that indicates being outdoors is associated with greater energy and vitality. So, why not go for a walk and lift your spirits?
6. Enjoy Water.
So simple, right? On a steamy hot day (which it's not!), drinking ice cold water makes you feel better. On a cold and gloomy day, warm tea and soups comfort us. Long, hot showers or baths are sooo relaxing! Water has a great healing effect on the body and the mind.
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