Simple ways to give yourself a daily boost

These are a few of my favorite suggestions for boosting mood and improving overall well-being with a few simple ideas that can be incorporated into your daily life.

• Smile. The choice is simple. Smiling regularly throughout the day improves our mood and lifts our spirits. The additional benefit is the effect smiling has on the people around us. Ever notice how smiling is contagious? If you smile at someone, that person is more likely to smile back. Then that person has the opportunity to pass a smile on to the next person. Give it a try.

• Writing. Journal or diary writing is another great way to improve mood. Take a few minutes each day to jot down your thoughts and feelings. The benefits are well worth the time and effort. In addition, writing gives you a written record to refer back to for reflection, allowing a new perspective on the situations you wrote about.

• Art. Discover your artistic side. We each have one. You need not be Rembrandt, Van Gogh or Michelangelo to enjoy the pleasures of having an artistic outlet. Activities to consider include taking photographs of family and friends, scrapbooking, learning to knit a scarf, gardening, baking a chocolate cake or taking an art class. Try something new. Whatever your passions or interests, find time for an old pursuit or pick up a new hobby.

• Friends. All too often, we get busy with work and family commitments and, as a result, neglect our friendships. Being connected and involved with friends is one of the surest ways to increase happiness in our lives. Therefore, call up or e-mail a friend you haven’t talked to for a while for a spontaneous chat — or create a weekly social event by meeting for dinner or a movie on a regular basis. Whatever your preference, make time in your hectic schedule for friends.

• Music. Listening to relaxing and uplifting tunes soothes body and soul. The next time you need a break from a hectic, stressful day, turn on the radio to your favorite station or listen to your favorite artists on your iPod. You’ll be glad you did.

• Appreciate. The grass will always be greener on the other side. Take time to appreciate the important things in life, rather than focusing on materialism. Be grateful for friends and family. Savor the little things like a hot cup of herbal tea, good conversation, a walk in the park, a novel written by your favorite author, the laughter of children, the comfort of a hug, or the bright colors of autumn.

In conclusion, these are a few ideas for improving daily mood, and I’m sure that you have a few of your own.

Jennifer L. Gray, Ph.D., is a Federal Way therapist who provides individual and family therapy. Contact: (253) 653-0168.

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