by Matt Gregory
Feeling good in yourself is important, it helps grow your confidence and contribute to trusting yourself and feeling belief in your decisions. When we are feeling down, it can be easy to lose sight of all the progress and self-development we have made over the years and even make decisions that are more harmful to our mental and emotional health.
To help you feel good after a particularly long or trying day we’ve put together a fantastic list of pick-me-ups that will give you a boost of happy chemicals in your brain, making you feel positive and assertive once more;
Living a healthy lifestyle is the first part of feeling good and exercise is a key component, not only to keep our physical health in peak condition but it offers a rush of chemicals in the brain that makes us feel exhilarated, especially after a hard workout. Make sure you add some exercise into your weekly routine, whether you choose to go for a run in the great outdoors or enjoy some gentle stretches at home.
Exercising triggers the same activity in our brain as a stress response, which causes our brain to release chemicals to counteract the stress and protect your mind from potential damage. These chemicals, known as endorphins, act to reduce feelings of pain and stress and are commonly affiliated with feelings of euphoria.
Giving to Charity
There have been several studies carried out on the effects that giving to charity has on the brain and it has now been proven that giving, volunteering and choosing to donate money activated the pleasure centres in the brain. Which could explain why some people are so willing to give huge amounts to charity, even when it has a detrimental effect on their own lives.
Some cultures hold giving in high regard and have practices in place to ensure everyone can give a little to help others (and get the reward of an endorphin boost) without causing difficulties to their own livelihood. A strong example of this is the Nisab threshold or the minimum amount of wealth to be held by an individual in Islam before they are eligible to pay forward their obligatory charity donation.
Eating Spicy Foods
While those of us who aren’t so keen on their spicy foods will likely recoil in horror. The act of eating chilies and other spices that cause heat and pain in the mouth incite our brain to react in a similar way to when it senses pain. Releasing a rush of endorphins and pain-relieving chemicals that help us feel relaxed and happy. The next time you are making a curry, drop extra chili in and enjoy those extra-satisfied feelings after a hearty meal.
Laughter is great for the mind and soul; it makes us feel good to our core and laughing with friends and loved ones are even better. Not only contributing to social bonding and connections between people but offering an uplifting boost of endorphins to the brain. Laughter between friends and occasionally, even strangers, can be extremely contagious, allowing everyone to gain the benefits of a good chuckle. Next time you meet up with friends or family, make it your mission to have everybody laughing!
Staying inside, particularly during the colder winter days can be tempting, however, while the effects might not be noticeable straight away, shutting yourself away from the natural light can have extremely detrimental effects on your physical and mental health. Brain chemicals such as dopamine and norepinephrine are affiliated with attention and happiness and rely on vitamin D to work efficiently. While we can get vitamin D from some foods such as fish and egg yolks, the greatest natural source of vitamin D is our wonderful sun and the glorious sunshine we enjoy from it.
Next time you are feeling down or unhappy, take a walk in the sunshine or just outdoors, even if it’s an overcast day. You’ll notice the benefits within minutes and be able to enjoy a gentle bit of exercise too.
Our brains are fascinating; however, they aren’t perfect, and when we are feeling tired or low, it’s easy for negative thoughts to creep in and take over. Affirmations are positive statements we repeat to ourselves to rewire our brains into a positive focus and help to grow our confidence and prepare to face the challenges of the day. Some simple statements you can try including;
“I am courageous, and I will stand up for what I believe in.”
“I will conquer negative thoughts today”
“Today, I feel complete in myself and superior to low thoughts”
Don’t let the day get you down, embrace these feel-good activities and burst through negative feelings into a refreshing feeling of happiness and contentment, then help spread the joy so no one needs to feel low again!