How to Boost your Mood
"If you don’t like something change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude"
– Maya Angelou
Throughout March and April of this year we wrote about uncertainty and the observation and management of our emotions during difficult times.
This was at a time of acute crisis for the whole world.
Although there was much to fear, there was also a general feeling of solidarity. A collective sense of ‘pulling together.’ It was a frightening time but we both agree that there was hope among the communities in which we lived and worked. There was a belief that there would be an end to the situation, and that we would soon return to some kind of ‘normal;’ although, we knew that we would be changed as a society.
Time has now passed, and the situation has evolved, however, there is a sense of widespread frustration at the continued uncertainty and everchanging restrictions that we are all faced with.
The new present does not look as we thought it would. Hope had projected us forward into safety just as, at times, fear had projected us into the worst imaginable.
Now, when we search for hope we find ourselves blocked by the weariness that we feel after months of being denied all that we have looked forward to.
During this difficult time, we have both worked hard to teach and encourage the cultivation of a positive mindset within ourselves, our friends and family, our patients and our fellow healthcare professionals.
Much of this work involves coming into the present moment via various techniques.
We advocate mindfulness, focussing on those things that can be changed in the here and now and accepting those that cannot.
This avoids catastrophising about the future.
When we project in this way, we give ourselves a dose of harmful stress chemicals that are unwarranted for the current situation.
Gratitude affords us an increase in positive body chemicals such as serotonin and dopamine that help us to further shift our mindset and, through our resulting behaviours, attract more positivity.
Acceptance helps us to avoid wasting valuable energy pushing against something that cannot be changed.
It gives us peace.
These attributes can be harder to sustain when the end result is not visible.
We were prompted to pause and review our approach this week when one of our patients said “but what do you do when the present moment is really rubbish? I should be abroad with my family right now, but I have no idea when I will see them again.”
We had to admit that they had a point. We are all discovering how important having something to look forward to is for our mental health. We are sure that we will never take it for granted again!
This is not easy.
It is Ok not to be Ok.
We are tired and staying positive in uncertain times does take work.
This is why we have decided to share the most uplifting tool that we could think of in our ‘try this’ section.
We wanted to show you how to boost those positive body chemicals within minutes.
It is an Neuro-linguistic Programming tool that allows you to anchor positive emotions to a physical point on your body. You can activate the anchor and experience the positive emotion anywhere and at any time.
We hope that it will give you enough encouragement to spur you forwards through the various challenges that we are facing.
Before we share our tool, we would like to suggest some activities which, when woven throughout your day might lift your mood and that of those around you:
· Be Kind
· Reach out and connect with someone
· Step out into nature
· Do some gentle exercise
· Create something
· Immerse yourself in art or literature
· Indulge in some comfort baking
· Find something that makes you belly laugh
· Hug your support bubble
· Hug your animals
· Do a job round the house or garden that you have been putting off
We would enthusiastically welcome your own suggestions for an uplift so please leave your comments for us to share with the community. You can do this by becoming a member using the login box at the top of this article.
Here is the anchoring tool………
Sit in a quiet, comfortable spot where you will not be disturbed
Find an area on your body that you can conveniently press your fingers into
Maybe on your thigh just above the knee as you sit
Or pressing your thumb and finger together
Whatever works for you
And as always take your awareness to your breathing
The tidal in and out of your breath
Become acutely aware of your own body in this present moment
Remember that the present moment is all that we have
Even if it is not the one we wanted
Or were expecting when we visualised it
Let your breath become slow and deep
And allow yourself to become calm
Now take yourself back to a time when you felt absolute joy
A time of pure happiness
Picture the situation exactly as it was then
Now allow the picture to become really vivid
And step into the shoes of your younger self
The one in the memory
And live that memory exactly as if it were happening right now
Remember to use all five senses
What can you see?
Turn the intensity right up!
Let it flood through you
Now press your fingertips into the spot you have chosen
And hold the pressure there for a few moments
Pressing all those feelings into that spot
Release the pressure and clear your mind of the memory
Think about something completely different
Like what you ate for dinner last night
When your mind is clear
Test the anchor again
Allow those feelings and sensations to flood back into your mind
Now you can fire this anchor at any time
When you are feeling overwhelmed
After a long stint on social media
After a hard day work
If you want to boost or intensify your anchor simply repeat the process!
If you like this, please share it with others. Thank you