1. Practice a new attitude of gratitude
You’ve probably heard that being grateful is a good practice, right? In order to make it truly beneficial, let’s talk about why and how it makes us happier. The act of searching for things we feel grateful for itself produces oxytocin (the feel good chemical) in the brain. To get the most out of this practice it helps to focus our awareness - take a break from your day to sit quietly with eyes closed or you can jot down your gratitiudes on paper.
The second key is to tune in to the feeling of gratitude as you go down your mental or paper list. As we embrace the elevated emotions our gratitude brings, this not only produces oxytocin, but also promotes heart coherence, positively influencing our ability to process emotion, perceive information, problem-solve, and more. I’d say that’s something to be grateful for.
2. Get unstuck with a new experience
There’s a reason we feel “stuck”. When we do the same things, go to the same places, and see the same people each day, our routine can lull the brain to sleep. So how can we get out of our funk without taking a vacation or changing everything in our lives? By choosing a new experience.
What’s that thing you’ve been wanting to do but never did because your day to day got in the way?
Experiencing something new opens us up to learn, meet new people, and explore other parts of life and ourselves. Sign up to volunteer, join a recreational sports team, learn a new skill (language, instrument), take a dance class, or whatever else you can dream up.
Taking the first step can be scary, but just like pushing a car out of the mud, it’s worth it once you’re free.
3. Open your mind with questions
I promise the last tip is easier than trying something new. All it involves is asking yourself questions that open your mind (specifically your frontal lobe). Which questions? Think about something you want. This can be something tangible, like a new job, or better yet, something intangible; like what it would feel like to have a new job. Let’s say you want to feel joyful in your new job. Simply ask yourself, What would it feel like to be joyful in my new job? And let your open mind do the rest.
This might feel strange at first since we’re used to letting our worries take our thoughts where they will, but let me ask you: what would it be like if they didn’t?
This practice is great for busting worries that like to pop up throughout the day. Next time you feel a worry coming up, like What if I can’t get everything done in time? Practice reframing the worry into a feeling question: What would it feel like for me to get everything done in time? And just as you emotionally embraced the feeling of your gratitude in the first practice, let your mind be soothed by the feeling that washes over you.