Brighten your spirits in no time flat with these easy tricks.
Reach for the sky
Get on your feet, look to the ceiling and stretch your arms straight up, spreading your fingers. "The simple act of standing prompts a boost in circulation, delivering oxygen- and energy-rich blood to your cells," explains psychotherapist Kimberly Willis, PhD, author of The Little Book of Diet Help: Expert Tips and Tapping Techniques to Stay Slim for Life. And smile as you hold the stretch: It will trigger the release of feel-good brain chemicals.
Turn "to-do" into "it's done!"
Turns out that just having a to-do list can seem overwhelming and make you feel tired instead of inspired to finish the tasks. So, create an "it's done" list to give yourself a sense of achievement, suggests Tamar Chansky, PhD, author of Freeing Yourself from Anxiety. Take a minute to write down 10 quick things you've accomplished today or this week.
Use your imagination
Has a hectic day left you longing for a relaxing beach vacation? Go there—in your mind. "Your brain responds the same way to a vividly imagined experience as it does to a real one," says George Pratt, PhD, coauthor of Code to Joy: The Four-Step Solution to Unlocking Your Natural State of Happiness. Close your eyes and focus on the sights, smells and tastes (the sensory parts) of your chosen escape.
Go for the good carbs
To boost your levels of serotonin, a calming brain chemical, try a carb-rich snack. No, this isn't a free pass to binge on chips: It only takes about 30 g of carbohydrate (4 cups of air-popped popcorn) to get the lift. Try half of a whole-grain English muffin with 1 Tbsp jam, or 1/2 cup oatmeal.
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