One of the biggest lies we’re told (and it’s constantly reinforced in adverts, movies, magazines etc) is that we SHOULD be happy. Yes, there are horrible atrocities going on all over the world right now, people starving and/or living in war zones and more. And we’re so very lucky. All true. But that doesn’t mean you SHOULD be happy.
In fact our “human” condition means we’re hardwired to look for danger. The early humans who survived were those who noticed potential danger – and took evasive action. If we were too complacent we got eaten or killed.
Then, starting as a young child, through schooling and into the workplace people focus on our negatives, what we do wrong. So our mind is trained to automatically look for things to worry about – and criticise ourselves and others for.
So, one of both the biggest ways we can brighten up our days is therefore simply to create a shift in the way we THINK about it.
Here Are 5 Easy Ways to Brighten Up Your Day!
Pick one of the 5 options below and try it for a day. At the end of the day, consider what you’ve learned about yourself, how the day went differently – and how you feel differently as a result .
1) I DESERVE IT!
Every time you experience something good or nice today – whether it’s a smile from a co-worker, a delicious cup of tea, a hug from a friend, a compliment, nice walk in the park or a few moments taking in a gorgeous view – whatever it is, smile and say to yourself, “I deserve this!”
How it works: Because you’re on the lookout for positive things, you’ll consciously notice more of them. By affirming your right and worthiness to enjoy them – you get an instant self-worth and happiness boost.
Every time BEFORE you speak today, I want you to pause and genuinely smile. So, before you open your mouth today whether it’s to give your coffee order, speak up in a meeting or say “No” to that extra shift at work, pause a moment and then crack a genuine smile and see what happens!
How it works: This isn’t a happy-clappy “just think positive” recommendation. We all know that it’s much harder to think critical, negative thoughts and worry when we’re (genuinely) smiling. What will a smile do to your thinking process? And how will your smilie affect those around you?
3) NEGATIVE KINDNESS A-B-C:
Note: This idea isn’t intended to help you avoid feeling genuine negative feelings – it’s intended to help you re-program your mind away from repetitive automatic negative thoughts.
When you catch yourself automatically criticising yourself, worrying, judging others, complaining or wishing things were different, simply A) say to yourself (or your inner child), “There there, it’s OK. I’m handling this”, B) switch to a new thought-topic and C) smile confidently.
Tip: A visual can help with the switching off our repetitive negative thoughts. Mine is “changing the record” and I literally imagine putting a different record on (giving away my age here – you may want to use a CD or pressing the button to switch to the next song on your device!). Another idea is to imagine a “Stop” sign and turning your car in a different direction.
How it works: It may sound counter-intuitive, but this isn’t about not THINKING negative thoughts, it’s about noticing the ones you’re already having. Then A) be kind to yourself, B) change the subject so that you disengage from the worrisome thought and C) the confident smile reinforces that you ARE indeed handling it and all is well. Retrain your mind around how to handle negative thoughts so you don’t dwell or get caught up in them.
4) GO ON, TREAT YOURSELF:
Every time today you have two (or more) options to choose from, choose what feels most like a “treat” for you. This is harder than it sounds – as it’s not just about choosing the expensive latte over drip coffee or saying “Yes” to lunch with your colleagues instead of the healthy salad. It could also mean going home early and not working late, choosing to have a candlelit bath and go to bed early with a good book rather than watch another episode of Grey’s Anatomy.
How it works: By rewarding yourself with what feels like a “treat” you’re making positive choices that say “I value me”. You’re building self-esteem AND you’ll have a wonderful day!
5) IT’S COMPLIMENTARY MY DEAR:
Pay everyone you interact with today a compliment. Find something nice to say whether it’s their hair/some part of their outfit/smile/name or something deeper like noticing something they do that you appreciate or is unique to them. Note: Be sure to remember the rules of complimenting:
- 100% mean your compliment (or don’t bother!). Make the effort to really ‘see’ that person and mean what you say.
- Look the person in the eyes. Nothing says sincerity like eye contact.
- Use the person’s name (check for a name tag if you don’t know!)
How it works: By paying everyone you meet today a compliment, it forces you to look for the positive in them. Because it’s a nice thing to do – I guarantee you’ll feel a buzz from doing it. Plus who knows what the knock-on effects might be!
Finally, at the end of the day, ask yourself:
- How was my day different today? How do I feel differently?
- What have I learned? What could I carry forward into tomorrow?
- What specific actions will I to commit to as a result of what I’ve learned?”
If you liked this article about brightening your day, you may also like:
- 15 of the Best Compliments to Make Everyone Feel Great (Including You!)
- Feeling The Blahs? 5 Ways to Get Moving! By Guest Author Cheryl Brewster
- The ONE Question You MUST Ask for a Happier and More Balanced Life!
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