Have you noticed when you most need a happiness boost your motivation is at an all time low?
It is certainly true for me. If I am feeling a little blue, finding the energy for an activity that will boost my happiness seems like the last thing I can do. In fact, when I am lying on the couch under my blanket – the last thing I want to do is work on my happiness.
But, although we might not want to make the effort, it is times like these when we need a happiness boost the most. That’s why I recommend having a few effective low-effort activities you can pull out of your back pocket when needed.
If you don’t have a list already – below are my 7 go-to low effort happiness boost exercises to help get the ball rolling.
There is a lot of research about the best way to approach gratitude exercises to boost your happiness over the long term. But for me, gratitude works great as an instant fix.
When you’re feeling low grab your phone and send a gratitude text to someone. Take the time to genuinely describe your appreciation for something they have done/do. Writing the text will give you a boost as you think about them and how best to thank them. And if you get a nice response – that is a lovely added bonus.
Your facial expressions play a part in setting your mood. Pretending to be happy can trick your brain into believing you are happy. (Fun fact, a study has found that people that can’t frown because of botox as less likely to be sad.)
One advantage I have found in this world of mask-wearing is when someone annoys me (which is not uncommon) I can grin like an idiot under my mask to start turning my mood around.
Phone a friend
We are built for social connections and interactions with the people we care about will make us happier. Obviously, some of our loved ones will make us feel happier than others when we are feeling down. So, pick the friend you need and make a meaningful connection to boost your mood.
If you can’t get in touch with a friend. A friendly chat with an engaging stranger will also help. So put on your fake smile and jump into those “Nice weather we are having” conversations.
Think of happy times
Thinking about a good memory can also help to improve your mood. When you are feeling low, take the time to relax and really explore a pleasant memory. Why were you happy? What did it sound like? What did it smell like? See if you can get a smile back on your face.
Hugs help release your bonding hormone oxytocin which will help lift your mood. The research suggests that a 20sec cuddle is a sweet spot and it can work with humans, animals, yourself and hug machines.
But if you were thinking about grabbing a stranger for a squeeze – you do have an alternative. Lingering eye contact can also get the oxytocin going – so that may be a better option for legal reasons.
Exercise is a great way to get the endorphins flowing and your mood improving. However, if you are anything like me, what little motivation I have to exercise does not exist when I am feeling down.
So my hot tip is to roll off the couch and start with an exercise that is low to the ground. My personal favourite is push-ups. By the end of a couple of sets, the endorphins have kicked in and I am usually laughing at myself because I am struggling so much.
Try something new
Novalty is a great way to pick up your mood. So put your thinking cap on and think of ways you can try something new with little as effort possible. You may enjoy learning something new on Youtube or getting a new food delivered to your door. Think of the things that interest you and can spark joy in your times of need.
Is your pocket full of happiness boost tricks?
So next time you are feeling in need – make sure you have a pocket full of tricks ready to pull out as needed. The most effective activities will be different for everyone so make sure you know what works for you.
Please note: These activities are meant for little happiness boosts when you are feeling a little down. If you are struggling with your happiness make sure you reach out to an appropriate professional immediately to get the support you need.