How can you inject more positivity into your life when the skies turn grey and your mood wants to follow? Try these easy life hacks to help you beat the blues and turn up your optimism.

OPTIMISM rocks. It’ll take you to far greater places than pessimism, plus we know that our outlook can have an effect on everything from our health to career progression.

We all know the benefits of positivity, but it can feel tricky to grasp at times, and it takes way more than wearing a T-shirt with a ‘happy’ slogan, or downloading Headspace.

I struggled with depression and dis-ease for decades and, over the years, I’ve gathered together a toolkit of simple tricks and habits to help me beat low mood. It doesn’t mean I’m skipping through fields of virtual buttercups 24/7, but I am able to control my mood far more easily nowadays and, when a downer hits, I don’t stay there for nearly as long as I used to.

Try building some of these techniques into your life — form them into habits if you can — and you might just find life feels a little bit brighter.

1: EXERCISE ACCOUNTABILITY

This is the one everyone talks about and we all groan at the thought of it, but it really does help. We know regular exercise helps to reduce stress and release all those positive endorphins to boost our mood. Trouble is, if we’re feeling in a funk, the last thing we want to do is get off our sorry backsides and move our bodies.

That’s why accountability is essential.

I started out by investing in a FitBit — just that nudge to get regular steps in helped at first, but then I realised I needed more than that.

My next step was signing up for FitStar — FitBit’s easy to follow exercise programme that gives tailored programmes to follow every morning. Just a few minutes every day. It was a start, but it wasn’t enough — I found myself getting lazy and skipping days.

Eventually, I hired a personal trainer — honestly, if you search around, they’re nowhere near as costly as you might think.

Eventually, I hired a personal trainer — honestly, if you search around, they’re nowhere near as costly as you might think. Mine is excellent and ridiculously affordable. At first, I worked with Tom for just 30 minutes a week, then 30 minutes twice a week and, as my fitness grew, we increased to an hour 2–3 times a week.

If I take some time out now, I notice my mood dropping — I feel myself becoming more grouchy, angry, depressed. I even keep a few pieces of basic exercise kit in my living room now, so I can grab a slam ball, or a dumbbell, if I can feel a downer approaching. A few reps in and I can feel my mood starting to shift. Endorphins — nature’s answer to anti-depressants.

The key for me — and I’m guessing it might be the same for you — is accountability. I know, if I didn’t have Tom to keep me on track and dates for future PT sessions in the diary, I would probably have quit by now.

Accountability is just as important as the idea of exercise — particularly for those of us who struggle with low mood. When our get up and go disappears, we need a compelling reason to move, or we’ll sink back down again.

So, do whatever it takes to create that momentum and keep going. If it’s not a PT for you, maybe it’s joining a walking group, signing up for park runs, or even finding an accountability buddy to work with, where you can encourage each other to stay on track. Even if it’s meeting up with a neighbour and walking around the block every morning, it’s that regularity and accountability that makes the difference.

2: HYDRATION

Another really simple habit to get into is drinking more water. So many of the people I meet who admit to feeling depressed just don’t drink enough H2O.

They’ll use every excuse in the book.They don’t like water. They prefer coffee. They don’t have time to keep going for a pee. The list is endless.

Aim to drink at least two litres of water a day. That’s just four of those little 500ml bottles we see in every garage and corner shop. And no, coffee doesn’t count!

A few years ago, my wife and I promised to nudge each other if we felt we were feeling ‘niggly’ and tell each other to drink more water.

I kid you not, we both felt our moods and positivity levels starting to climb, and our relationship improved too. We stopped bickering for no good reason AND began to take more responsibility for the stuff we were putting into our bodies.

It’s amazing what water can do — I promise you, it has magical properties.

Drinking more water can help you get more clarity, more focus, more optimism… I reckon it can help with everything from happiness to becoming a millionaire! Depending on what we use all that renewed focus and energy for, of course.

3: SET YOUR MOOD BEFORE YOU SLEEP

There’s a theory that says the last thought we have before we go to sleep will be the first thought we have when we wake up.

Think about that for a moment. If you’re going to sleep believing you’ll be tired the next day, there’s another day of shit ahead, or you don’t want to tackle whatever the next day has to hold, you’ll wake up full of negative vibes.

I’ve created a habit (and anyone can do that!) of setting my mood before I sleep. It’s become a bedtime ritual — like a prayer I say every night, just before I head off to the land of nod.

I say I’m grateful for the sleep I’m about to enjoy — the rest that I know will be the perfect amount to recharge my body, reset my mood and allow me to wake up feeling positive, alert and ready to embrace an amazing day.

Try it. Use whatever words you like, just be sure to get into the vibe and believe the words as you speak them, try smiling at the same time. It really can make a difference.

4: INSTALL GRATITUDE

I swear, gratitude is a superpower. It’s one of the pillars of creating optimism and rewiring our brain for positivity.

If we can learn to be grateful and appreciative of all those things we ordinarily take for granted, we begin to feel so much better about our lives.

Each morning, when I wake up, I name five things I’m grateful for. I try to come up with a different five every day. It’s another of those habits I’ve created for myself.

Think about it… most of us reading this will be able to get fresh, cool drinking water at the turn of a tap.

Think about it… most of us reading this will be able to get fresh, cool drinking water at the turn of a tap.

We can create more warmth in our homes at the turn of a dial.

We can get fresh tea by putting a tiny bag someone made for us into a mug someone designed and produced for us and flicking a switch on a kettle invented to give us boiling water whenever we choose.

Aside from all that, Grandfather Sun rises for us every day, without fail — even if he’s sometimes hidden behind clouds.

The rainfall feeds our lands and gives us green grass, verdant plant life and that fresh smell in the air.

The trees help us to breathe.

We have beds to sleep in, duvets to snuggle under, couches to lounge upon.

We have the smell of baking bread, fresh coffee, flowers, cut grass, sea spray… whatever does it for you.

There are always, always things to be grateful for and, if we get into the habit of finding new gratitudes every morning, we train ourselves to be more alert for them and to notice the good stuff in life.

5: SET DAILY INTENTIONS

Lots of us create ‘to do’ lists, or ‘get done’ lists — and then get stressed out by them.

Regardless of whether lists work for you, try setting a daily intention.

Just one, overarching theme for your day. Set it when you wake up, maybe when you’ve finished your gratitudes.

It could be something like “Today, I will be present” — which means you’ll concentrate on giving all your attention to one thing at a time and being 100% in the moment, which is harder than it sounds and an awesome challenge to give yourself every now and again.

Or, how about?

Today, I will look for the positives in every situation.

Today, whatever happens, I will find the life lesson in it and be grateful for the teaching.

Today, I will call three people I care about and tell them how much they mean to me. I will say ‘I love you’.

Today, I will complete three tasks I’ve been putting off, and I’ll feel amazing when I’ve done that.

Today, I will show my body some TLC and feed it only healthy food and drink.

Today, I will make sure I’m smiling as much as possible — I’ll set a smile reminder every 30 minutes.

What will your daily intentions be? Give it a go and have fun with it.

6: SELF LOVE

You need to love and appreciate yourself more.

We all do.

Alongside your appreciators every morning, try naming something you love about yourself.

Better still, write something you love about yourself in a journal every day, or on post-its you can stick to the fridge, on your desk, on your laptop, anywhere they’ll be visible, at a glance, whenever you need a reminder.

Most people start off naming a personality attribute — their kindness, or generosity, or compassion — and that’s great, but I want you to find some physical attributes you love about yourself as well.

Even if, at first, it’s just bits of yourself that you don’t utterly dislike. Love’ll grow in time.

I don’t care if it’s your eyes, your hair or your middle toe on your right foot, just start to find parts of your anatomy that are okay, then work on growing that feeling.

I don’t care if it’s your eyes, your hair or your middle toe on your right foot, just start to find parts of your anatomy that are okay, then work on growing that feeling.

Doesn’t have to be something physical every time — it can be a mix of personality traits and emotion too. Just start somewhere and, whatever you choose each day, really notice it and keep finding good things about it throughout the day.

When we learn to love ourselves more, it becomes easier to love the world around us AND to strive to create the outlook and life we know we deserve to enjoy.

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There’s so much more I could add, so many more positivity tools to harness and optimism habits to grow, but I promised just six, so I’ll stop there for now.

Do try some of these — all of them if you feel up for the challenge. None of them need to take much time out of your day and honestly, not having time is a crap excuse anyway — we all have the same 24 hours a day and we can ALL carve out a few minutes for ourselves every day if we choose to.

Let me know how you get on.

Until next time,

#UnleashYourAwesome,

Taz

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Taz Thornton is the author of Awesome Sauce — a free, weekly positive life and business round-up, with good news stories, positivity tips and visibility hacks for your brand. In a few minutes each week, you get a dose of optimism and some awesome advice to get seen and stay happy.

Taz is also a best-selling author, inspirational business speaker and consultant on confidence, personal brand and visibility, award-winning coach (UK’s Best Female Coach 2018 — Best Business Woman Awards), consultant and creator of the #UnleashYourAwesome and #BrandMasterypersonal and business development programmes, as well as #UNLEASHED — an affordable confidence, content and cashflow building programme for coaches, healers and therapists.

She has been featured on BBC, ITV, in HuffPost, Diva and countless other newspapers, magazines and podcasts. Taz is also a regular columnist for the America Out Loud talkshow network.

Find her on FacebookLinkedInTwitter and Insta.