Many people love autumn for its serenity, the last warm days and golden leaves. But the other side of it – cold and lingering rains – is able to catch up on melancholy on anyone. We chose several ways to cheer ourselves up from the book “Better every day” .
A study by the University of Arizona compared participants’ self-reported happiness and conversation quality. Scientists recorded the conversations of 97 student-participants for 4 days. And then they classified them as superficial or substantive. Superficial conversations meant non-binding conversations, such as commenting on the weather, while meaningful conversation meant exchanging ideas and information: discussing events in each other’s life or exchanging opinions about news.
Overall, higher life satisfaction was reported by those who simply talked more and spent less time alone. However, the happiest people had one-third fewer superficial conversations and twice as many meaningful conversations as those who noted the lowest satisfaction.
How many meaningful conversations does it take to be happier? Scientists are in no hurry to give exact numbers. However, Dr. Matthias Mehl, senior lecturer in the Department of Psychology, found that it is enough to “prescribe” a participant only five additional meaningful conversations a week, 15 minutes each, so that he noticed an improvement in mood.
Make time for a hobby
Activities such as playing the guitar, handicrafts and gardening can help your body and mind take a break from everyday worries. More importantly, hobbies can help you relax, says Dr. Gabriela Cora.
“A hobby should not be fraught with difficulties and problems – it’s just pleasant and interesting,” explains Cora. Therefore, sports and other activities where you strive to compete, even with yourself, are not very suitable for this purpose. So that you can relax while doing a hobby, the process itself should be enjoyable, regardless of the result. Find an activity that completely absorbs your attention. You won’t even notice how stress and anxiety gradually go away.
Find a diet of joy
In one British study, participants were asked to skip certain foods, after which participants noted a change in well-being. Avoiding sugar, alcohol, caffeine (and for some, chocolate) reduced mood swings and anxiety attacks, and eating more vegetables, fruits, water, and foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids such as fish helped the subjects feel yourself as a whole more harmonious.
Naturally, we all respond individually to different foods and nutrients, so start noticing how you feel after snacks and meals, especially during times of stress. Write down what you ate in a notebook and evaluate your mood immediately after eating and a few hours later. Experiment until you find foods and dishes that are beneficial to your well-being; gradually increase their number in the diet and reduce the number of those after which your mood deteriorates or discomfort appears.
Enjoy the art
Norwegian scholars say art is not only beneficial for those who perform on stage, draws or otherwise express their creative aspirations – the positive effect is seen in the audience in the hall and among visitors to art galleries. It is expressed in an improvement in mood and a higher assessment of one’s own state of health. Scientists are not sure exactly what caused this result, but it is possible that contact with art promotes a sense of camaraderie or serves as an inspiring entertainment. Decide what kind of art appeals to you. Go to the theater or gallery, flip through an album with reproductions of paintings by your favorite artists, play classical music – and you will feel healthier and happier.
If you don’t have a Grammy award or if you are embarrassed to pick up the microphone even in karaoke, this is not a reason not to sing for your pleasure. Even just humming a tune, the mood is still lifted, says Dr. Ann Skingley, Principal Research Fellow at the Sidney de Hann Research Center for Art and Health at the University of Canterbury-Christchurch in New Zealand.
Her research suggests that singing is perhaps even more enjoyable than listening to music because it involves active participation. Whether you sing in the bathroom or in the choir, you will heighten positive emotions as you find new opportunities to express your voice. The benefits of singing aren’t just psychological, Skingley says: Research shows that singing can alleviate some chronic conditions, soothe anger in dementia, and help control breathing in lung conditions.
Look out the window
Outdoor activities are known to reduce anxiety and lift your spirits. But on a rainy autumn day, you don’t want to go outside. It doesn’t matter: it turns out that to recuperate, it is enough to watch nature outside the window, says Rachel Kaplan, professor of environmental psychology at the University of Michigan. A single tree or flower can provide hope, peace, or vitality when they are in short supply. It can even be helpful to look at indoor plants if you are looking after them.
The adage “Appetite comes with eating” applies to many things in life, but you hardly suspected that it can be used as a guide to boost your mood. When we feel good, we smile; But research shows that smiling – even if you feel melancholy – automatically lifts your spirits.
“It’s no surprise that we smile as we think of ourselves as happier people,” says Dr. Matthew Gertenstein, associate professor in the Department of Psychology and head of the DePow University’s Laboratory of Touch and Emotion. But there is also a physiological connection: “There is a lot of evidence that smiling really does improve mood,” he says. – When the facial muscles involved in smiling contract, it affects the physiology of the brain, and you experience positive emotions. The effect of a single smile is not very strong, but it tends to accumulate, and this is very useful. ” So when you feel good, show it with a smile. And when you feel bad, smile anyway. This simple action may be enough to improve your mood.
A hot cup of tea can help you relax after a hard day, and new research shows that certain teas can also help promote health. “A growing body of evidence shows that drinking several cups of black tea a day can help reduce the risk of heart disease and green tea can reduce certain types of cancer,” said Dr. Diane McKay of the Tufts University Antioxidant Lab. White tea and herbal teas also have beneficial properties. A healthy dose of tea has yet to be determined, and McKay advises to simply drink the tea regularly – 1-3 cups a day.
If you want to quickly cheer yourself up, wear sneakers. Just 20 minutes of aerobic exercise is enough to improve mood, according to scientists from the University of Vermont, and this improvement can last a whole day. Participants engaged in moderate exercise on a stationary bike for 20 minutes, and then assessed their level of expression of various emotions, including tension, anger, and depression, several times throughout the day. It turned out that after a mini-workout the “cyclists” maintained a higher level of positive emotions and a lower level of negative ones for the whole day than in the control group, which did not exercise on the simulator.
Donating to charity makes us noticeably happier, say scientists at the University of British Columbia. A recent study of the nature of spending has shown that the more a person spends on others rather than on themselves, the more satisfied they are with their lives. There are many ways to show generosity – transfer a large sum to a crisis center to help women, just buy a friend lunch, etc. By the way, acts of kindness that are not related to money can also help improve your mood, so don’t let the lack of funds prevent you from being generous.