Life can be challenging, but looking for the good rather than focusing on the negative can make each day feel more rewarding. Plus, keeping a little altitude on your attitude provides physical benefits as well as psychological ones. If your mood needs a boost, try these strategies.
Researchers have found mounting evidence that physical activity provides extensive mental health benefits, including enhanced self-esteem and anxiety and depression reductions. The mood-elevating chemicals released in the brain while exercising continue to improve attitude and outlook long after completing physical activity.
For the best results, researchers emphasize moderate exercise rather than strenuous activities. Ideally, you should still be able to carry on a conversation.
In addition to improving mood, recent research has determined that exercise can impede or even reverse brain aging!
So, find a way to work a little exercise into your routines, whether it’s walking or playing a sport (like golf, croquet, or badminton), practicing yoga, or dancing the night away.
The CDC currently recommends at least 150 minutes a week of moderate exercise for adults plus strength-building activities two days a week. Adults age 65 and older are encouraged to add workouts that improve balance.
2. Nurture friendships with cheerful people
Everyone gets down now and then. However, some people tend to have a sunny disposition, while others prefer focusing on problems. Avoid the latter and seek out the former.
Look for people who make you laugh and genuinely care about you. These are the folks you want to hold close and who will support you during trying times.
Of course, the law of attraction works both ways. It’s essential to keep your spirits up to attract more cheery people. Fortunately, strong bonds with positive people make it easier to develop an optimistic mindset.
3. Practice gratitude
Adopt an attitude of gratitude. Since social media and the 24/7 news cycle emphasize what’s wrong in the world, you may need to make a special effort to identify and be thankful for the good things in your life. But it’s worth it!
Researchers have found that gratitude increases well-being, including a sense of joy and happiness, improved sleep, and even reduced physical pain. People who routinely count their blessings feel more optimistic.
It takes a conscious effort to practice thankfulness. To turn it into daily practice, try keeping a gratitude journal, saying daily prayers, or adopting a meditation practice focused on life’s blessings.
Or, get yourself a “gratitude buddy” to keep you accountable for sharing at least one thing each day for which you are thankful.
The importance of making this a daily practice is that it changes your perspective. In time, you’ll automatically look for (and take note of) the good things in your life, which reduces any tendency to focus on the negative.
4. Help others
Neuroscientists have shown that the act of helping others releases a trifecta of powerful “feel good” hormones—oxytocin, dopamine, and serotonin—which immediately improves your sense of well-being.
Plus, helping others is easy. It can be as simple as sharing a kind comment with someone assisting you at a store or smiling at someone you pass on the street.
Or, go a step further, and help a friend with a chore, volunteer for a community undertaking, or help a grandchild complete a special project.
Lending a helping hand helps you too. In addition to releasing the feel-good chemicals associated with helping others, volunteering can provide valuable social connections, offer a sense of purpose, and increase self-confidence. Beyond the good they do for others, volunteers generally feel happier!
There are many other ways to boost your attitude beyond these tips! With such a substantial impact on health and well-being, why not take advantage of every possible way to lift your spirits and improve your life?