Feeling a bit down and not yourself in lockdown? Whilst its completely normal to feel bit strange, anxious or run-down, why not try some scientifically-proven ways to boost positivity and encourage a sense of emotional well-being?
Be one with nature
Numerous studies have found that nature benefits mood. One of our exercises from the Little Can of Can-Do suggests taking the time to appreciate things of natural beauty, whether that’s a bird in the sky, the sun shining through the leaves, or the smell of freshly cut grass. Slowing down, staying in the moment and appreciating nature will help bring a sense of calm and well-being.
Do some exercise
Any form of exercise makes our bodies produce endorphins, which is nature’s way of making us feel good, helping to improve our mood, energy levels and aid sleep. Try to do something active once a day to create a more positive frame of mind.
You don’t need to overdo it. A review of 23 studies on happiness and physical activity found even a small change in levels of physical activity can make a difference in happiness. Several studies found happiness levels were the same whether people exercised 150-300 minutes a week, or more than 300 minutes a week.
Stand up Straight
Keeping your back straight and shoulders back aligns the body and helps promote a sense of confidence and positivity. Indeed one of our exercises in our Little Can of Calm suggests spending several minutes a day focusing on sitting or standing up straight and bringing your minds’ attention to your posture. Our posture can affect our moods and thoughts so think of standing and stretching as pushing the reset button on your body!
Call the positive people in your life
Its an obvious one but often when we feel tired and down we can't face the idea of picking up the phone and talking to other people. However, studies show that both bad and good moods can be picked up from friends. Calling, texting or zooming a happy, positive friend can give you the boost you need and make you smile - happiness really is contagious.
Wish other people well
A University in Iowa found that people that practised loving-kindness and wished others well felt happier, more connected and less anxious. Choose today to do something nice for someone else, whether that’s giving a compliment, telling someone why you are grateful they are in your life or carrying out a secret act of kindness. Rather than focusing on ways to make ourselves feel better, doing or thinking something nice and kind about someone else can increase our sense of well-being and make us feel connected with others.
Practising mindfulness exercises and techniques allows us to pay more attention to the present moment, to our own thoughts and feelings and to the world around us; this, in turn, can help improve our mental wellbeing and sense of well-being.
It's easy to stop noticing the world around us. It's also easy to lose touch with the way our bodies are feeling and to end up living 'in our heads' – caught up in our thoughts without stopping to notice how those thoughts are driving our emotions and behaviour. Becoming more aware of the present moment can help us enjoy the world around us more and understand ourselves better. When we become more aware of the present moment, we begin to experience afresh things that we have been taking for granted and feel a sense of calm and gratitude.