16 Ways to Brighten Up a Dark Day

Brighten Up a Dark DayThere are lots of things that can darken your day. Maybe storm clouds are covering up the sun or you just learned that your son needs braces that will cost more than your last car. If you need quick relief, take a look at these fast and easy treats for your mind and body.
Fast Ways to Lighten Up Your Mind
1. Count your blessings. Cultivating gratitude makes you happier. Write out a long list of things that you’re grateful for and post it somewhere where you can see it throughout the day. Tell someone how much they mean to you.
2. Hang out with friends. Connect with others. Invite a bunch of pals over to watch a movie and eat popcorn.
3. Volunteer in your community. Support a worthy cause while you take your mind off your troubles. Pull weeds for elderly neighbors or make fundraising calls for your local public television station.
4. Shop for others. Studies show that money can buy happiness when you spend it on others. Surprise your mother with a heated mattress pad to help her sleep.
5. Head outside. Communing with nature also lifts our spirits. Eat lunch in the park.
6. Learn something new. Adding to your accomplishments provides lasting satisfaction. Sign up for an online course and complete your first lesson in gothic architecture. Ask a neighbor to show you how they keep their lawn so green.
7. Laugh out loud. Smile wide and think about something that makes you want to chuckle. Watch cat videos online or remember the funny thing that happened at your child’s school play.
8. Listen to music. Upbeat music is contagious. Put together a playlist of songs that make you want to dance. Sing along with the band.
9. Pet your dog. Your dog is an excellent role model for teaching you how to put aside your cares and enjoy the moment. Let him cheer you up when you’re feeling blue.
Fast Ways to Lighten Up Your Body
1. Breathe deeply. Breathing has a powerful effect on how you feel. Concentrate on the flow of oxygen entering and leaving one nostril. Follow your breath down through your throat and chest. Feel your stomach rise and fall.
2. Lower your shoulders. Scan yourself from head to toe. Open up any areas of stiffness and tension. Draw your shoulders back and down.
3. Massage your feet. Maybe you’re irritable because your shoes have been pinching your feet. Kick them off and dip your toes into a tub of warm water. Dry off and roll a tennis ball around under your arches.
4. Try aromatherapy. Pick an invigorating scent like grapefruit or peppermint. If you’re agitated, choose soothing lavender or sandalwood.
5. Move around. Exercise is a natural and beneficial stimulant. Rev up your heartbeat with some laps around the track or ten minutes on an inclined treadmill. Share a game of catch with your children.
6. Stretch out. Want a yoga pose that will perk you up? Sun salutations will do the trick. To settle down, lie on your back and extend your legs straight up against a wall.
7. Take a nap. On the other hand, maybe you’re dragging around because you need more rest. Lie down for a quick nap and go to bed early so you’ll be bright and fresh tomorrow.
Some days are gloomier than others, but you can be prepared for conflicts and challenges. Use these pick-me-ups or develop your own favorite rewards that keep you smiling and content regardless of what’s going on around you.

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