HAPPY BLUE MONDAY
So today is ‘allegedly’ the most depressing day of the year. It’s of course a load of rubbish. The term was coined by a travel company who were basically trying to get people to book a holiday.
Saying that..If you are not a winter person then January and February can be a bit rubbish!
The nights are long, the days are short, there’s minimal sunshine, the excitement of Christmas is over and just to top it off it’s also a bit chilly.
I’m not a fan of winter but I’m trying desperately to be one.
So, what can we do to be happier… in winter and in life.
1. HUMAN CONNECTION – ????
Studies and research are popping up everywhere indicating that the healthiest and happiest people on the planet are the ones that have the closest communities. Despite the introduction of ‘social’ media we are currently living in one of the loneliest times in human existence. A lack of human connection is now a greater detriment than smoking, obesity and lack of exercise. People who are socially connected have been proven to be happier, experience less incidences of anxiety and depression, are healthier both mentally and physically and actually live longer.
Finland topped last years Happiest Country list and the Finns firmly put this down to the close relationships they have with family, friends and their local community.
When I reflect on things i’ve done in my life it is the people I experienced them that I think of the most rather than the things themselves.
So put down your virtual friends and concentrate on the people around you…..and if you don’t like them….find some other people to hang out with;)
2. NATURE – ????
Our love and connection to nature is etched in our DNA. We evolved living in forests and caves so it makes sense that our relationship with nature is one of the strongest there is.
Spending time in nature has been shown to decrease stress, make people feel healthier, feel more energised and feel happier. Studies have shown that people with access to green spaces report a greater sense of well being, hospital patients recover faster when they are able to view or spend time in nature and levels of cortisol dramatically decline in those in an anxious or depressed state.
Finland comprises of almost 200,000 lakes and 75% of it is covered in Forests! No wonder they are so happy!
3. KINDNESS – ????
Giving kindness, receiving kindness and even witnessing kindness releases a whole host of amazing chemicals in the body that not only make us happier but also reduce blood pressure, supress the release of cortisol, slow ageing and help us live longer.
4. EXERCISE – ????♂️????♀️
This free and simple little thing will not only make you happier but might just save your life! Exercise releases endorphins which naturally lift our mood. Exercising with a particular goal to aim for helps release dopamine which makes us feel good. Concentrating on your breathing instead of every other thought in the world helps reduce stress on your brain thus reducing the release of cortisol in the body.
5. FOOD – ????
Most people’s favourite foods are sadly often the unhealthiest ones and although that tub of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream might give you a short lived dopamine hit it will ultimately leave you in a worse state than you were in the first place….both physically and mentally.
Processed foods are filled with sugar (or worse – sweeteners) and additives that initially spike our blood sugar levels and then send them crashing.
This blood sugar crash affects our energy levels and our mood. So eat natural slow energy releasing foods that contain minerals, vitamins and vitally important fibre to keep you healthy and to keep those blood sugar levels steady.
6. GRATITUDE – ????
This is something we should all be practicing more. Focusing on what we do have in life instead of what we don’t have reduces feelings of envy, regret and failure. Grateful people experience reduced stress, anxiety, have greater self esteem and are ultimately happier than ungrateful people.
It’s the difference between complaining you need to sweep the leaves up, and being grateful that you have trees around you and a broom to sweep them up with! ????????
So gang, there you have it! So go out there grab someone you love, take them for a walk in nature, treat them to a nice healthy dinner and tell them how grateful you are that they are in your life. Done! ????