Recently this author led a class on “Healthy Living” and met some wonderful, engaging older women. We used an article “10 Ways to Improve Your Day In Just 5 Minutes” to discuss additional ways of having a good day. We discussed lowering stress, elevating our mood, and increasing energy using our ideas that just take a few minutes.
Some ideas in the article were simple, like make your bed, clear up your cluttered desk, or even take a stretch break.
Our group’s is offering the following ideas (from our years! of experience) that help us improve our days! Enjoy – thanks to the ladies in the “Healthy Living Class” at Active Living Senior Centre.
- Walk: Take time for a walk. Today we are aware of the physical health benefits of walking, but there are a number of mental benefits also. According to an article in Arthritis Today, the benefits of walking also include slowing mental decline, lowering Alzheimer’s risk, improving sleep, elevating your mood, and for some can also serve as a type of meditation.
- Laugh: Research has shown the many health benefits to laughter include relief of pain, and a sense of happiness. According to an article in About.com , it even can refocus your emotions when you are feeling angry or stressed. Luckily, your body can’t tell if your laughter is real or fake. So it is OK to fake it!
- Shower, (or bathe): Hmmm, how would just taking a bath or shower help to have a better day? In our discussion, we realized that when we are stressed, anxious, or just plain busy, our shower (or bath) is just something to do to just to get clean: get in, wash, get out, hurry up, go to work. To live in the moment is to enjoy what we are doing. Enjoy the warm water, use a scented soap, enjoy the “fresh, clean” feeling as you dress. There, you already did something nice for yourself.
- Write a note: Yes a handwritten note. The idea is to do something small and special for someone. Sometimes you haven’t seen or heard from a family member or friend for a while. Cut our an article from the paper or magazine, or get a photo, and write a note and MAIL it. Hey, in this day of email, I still enjoy getting a REAL letter in the mail! Why wait for Christmas or birthdays?
- People watch: People watching is an art. Try it. Sit on your FRONT porch, or on a park bench or even at the mall. It is even better with a friend. It is fun to imagine where they might be going or even what their occupation is.
- Sing: Singing elevates your mood. Sing along on the radio, or your MP3. Doesn’t matter. Just Sing! There is a reason why Karoke or Senior Sing-a-long is so popular! But since “happy songs” kinda depend on your age, here is a list of over 100 “Happy Songs”, I am sure one of them will get you singing and tapping your foot! (It did me!) “Your mama can’t dance and your daddy can’t rock and roll. . . “
- Smile: New research has found a strong connection between smiling and your general health and sense of well-being. The act of smiling can lift your spirits as well as reduce feelings of anxiety. And like laughing, your body can’t tell the difference if it is a “real” smile or not!
- Choose to be happy. Everyone goes through stressful, distressing or sad times in our lives. But it doesn’t have to define you. You don’t have to be a “Pollyanna”, but you can choose to be happy or to find joy. It’s not always easy, but happiness doesn’t just happen. We can create it.