If the long summer nights aren't what you hoped they would be (or your holidays are a long way off) and you find yourself feeling glum, there are five easy, natural things you can do to get a boost. Try them this weekend and let the happy feelings flow:
Happiness is discovering a great new song. Go to a festival, download an album from your favourite childhood band and let the nostalgic feelings flow or kick back to the perfect summer playlist.
Countless studies have linked exercise to happiness. Get a friend to join you in that kickboxing class you've been itching to try out, join your local gym, take up cycling, yoga or even just commit to going for a twenty-minute walk every evening. Invite ten to fifteen minutes of mindfulness into your life - mindfulness will reduce anxiety and stress and won't just make you more productive at work - you'll notice your outlook start to become more positive and genuinely happy.
SEE YOUR FRIENDS
It's easy to get bogged under with work and family and general life complications. Research has shown that relationships with friends have a significant impact on health and wellbeing - the people in the strongest relationships were protected against chronic disease, mental illness, and memory decline. Meet your friends for coffee, see a movie or go for dinner, you'll feel better for it.
TAKE SOME ME TIME
Take time to yourself regularly to just do whatever you want to do. This may sound easy, but how often do you agree to do things that perhaps only half interest you?When was the last time you did something for you? Tell them all no, just for one day and do whatever you want. Switch your phone off and gain back those hours spent scrolling through Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat (repeat) and put them to good use. Binge-watch, a tv show, reread your favourite book, bake one of those chocolate-covered-diabetes-included-brownies that you keep tagging people in on Facebook. Sleep if you like, just take the time to?prioritise what's important to you.
Gratitude is the everything your typical, monetised, corporatised self-help product isn't. You simply have to recognise what you are grateful for. A regular gratitude practice has been proven to improve general happiness levels by 10%. The health benefits of taking time from your day to think about what you're grateful for are endless and staggering: higher energy levels, better mood, a stronger immune system, better sleep, reduced blood pressure, lower levels of stress hormones, less fatigue, the list goes on.
Taking five minutes to be grateful is the most effective and easy to stick with way to introduce gratitude into your life. All you need to do is take five minutes - while you make your coffee in the morning or while you're travelling home on the LUAS - and think of three things from your day that you are grateful for.