I'm pretty confident that we're all on the same quest: seeking out how to be happy every single day. We all want a happy home life and a happy work life, happy memories to reminisce about and future plans that make us happy with the anticipation.
Today, of course, is Blue Monday and unlike our American friends over the pond who have got the day off (not for Blue Monday specifically, but still!) we have to struggle through. It's called Blue Monday because it's far enough into January that the Christmas festivities seem like a distant memory but not far enough through the month that payday is anywhere near. Hmph. But, before we get all blue at the thought of it, we have to remember that happiness is easy to conjure up even on the gloomiest of days. Being happy also doesn't have to cost anything (of course, we'd all love to have that Gucci T-Shirt...), but often we just need a reminder that being happy is free. So, we called on meditation guru Will Williams to share with us his tips and tricks to help turn that frown upside down. Keep scrolling for Will Williams's guide to being happy every single day. We've also rounded up 10 of the best happiness-boosting beauty and wellness buys below, if you do happen to have some spare money in your bank account. And if all else fails, just Google 'funny cat videos'.
Boost your mood with food
One of the best ways to perk yourself up is through nourishing your body with nourishing and ‘mood boosting foods’. Try to fill your body with an abundance of vegetables and leafy greens. Mood-boosting foods include spinach, Brazil nuts, oily fish, oats, lentils, pulses and lean meats such as chicken and turkey.
What we eat can have a huge effect on our physical and psychological wellbeing. In the last ten years, nutritional scientists have realised that the condition of our digestion and all of our gut bacteria (our microbiome) is essential for health, mood, energy, as well as emotional and psychological wellbeing. This doesn’t mean you have to down a kale smoothie every day, but do try to pack in some vegetables, fruits and drink lots of water.
Multiple digestive issue such as IBS have been linked to severe stress. If you find stress has a huge effect on your digestion, you should consider Vedic meditation which has been proven to help and even cure symptoms.
Meditation has been proven to lower anxiety and depression, boosting mood and lowering stress levels. When we're stressed, a part of our brain fires off our ‘fight or flight’ response and our body becomes flooded with pesky stress hormones, which in turn lowers mood.
Meditation, specifically Vedic meditation, has been proven to reverse the damaging effects of stress on the body. It allows your nervous system to access a profound state of rest, one that is 33% deeper than the deepest state of sleep.
How do I do this, I hear you ask? Don’t worry, it doesn’t involve chanting, sitting cross-legged in a robe! Vedic meditation is easy and simple, meaning anyone can do it and anywhere. In Vedic meditation, you use a personalised mantra, or sound, and silently repeat it in your head for 20 minutes, twice a day. During, your body and mind are able to come back into balance. You'll feel much calmer and happier.
A Little Focus
We often feel better when we have our lives organised ‘all our ducks in a row’. Whilst this might not always be the case (and that’s fine!) a little bit of organisation and forward planning ahead can greatly boost mood. This could be anything from planning the week ahead, a weekend away, a long holiday, a wedding or even just a small dinner with friends. You will instantly feel motivated! Make sure this is also realistic. If it is an event or holiday, spend some time doing some research or perhaps putting away a few pennies for whatever it is you have planned. The excitement alone will help keep you motivated and mood levels boosted.
Be Kind to YOu
With the added pressures of everyday life, we can sometimes be a bit hard on ourselves. We sometimes strive to ‘fix’ ourselves or put pressure on ourselves to be the best version of ‘you’ that you can be. Stop. Take a breath. And show yourself some gratitude. Think about five things about yourself that you are grateful for – you could even write them down or just think them aloud in your head.
Focus on Getting Better Sleep
Hectic lifestyles can leave us rushed of our feet, tired and lethargic. Ensuring you get enough sleep will provide you with more energy, more clarity, and greater regulation of hormones (including hunger hormones) which then has a knock-on effect to how easily we find it to embrace better living.
Easier said than done? To try and maximise the quality of your sleep, make sure that your room is as dark as possible, turn off your phone (please do not sleep with it under your pillow!), computer and wifi, avoid screens for a couple of hours before bed and have a light evening meal so that your body is not struggling to digest a heavy meal when you should be sleeping peacefully. If you have regular sleep problems, try Vedic meditation, which has been prove to reduce sleep disorders by 42%.
Move a little
When your mood is low, exercise can seem like the last thing on your mind. However, some light exercise has been proven to instantly boost mood.
Forget pushing your body through grueling bootcamps and faddy diets will leave you feeling lethargic and rundown. Gentle exercise has been proven to lower stress hormones and boost endorphins. It needn’t be strenuous. Both yoga and Pilates are fantastic, low intensity exercises to get your muscles working and the blood flowing.
Why not try a few simple yoga moves and postures in the morning or before bed? You could do ten minutes of sun salutations every morning - it will work every muscle group and help you feel balanced. Alternatively, why not go for a long stroll or jog. Moving your body just a small amount will boost your circulation, and release those ‘feel good’ endorphins, leaving you with a positive mindset and energy.
take a break
Demands from family, friends and work can all take their toll on us if we don't take the time to look after ourselves. Whilst it’s not advisable to become a hermit and never leaving the house, it is important to creating some space in your diary for what makes you happy can make a huge difference to your wellbeing. Whether it's watching your favourite film, writing, getting a massage, taking a bubble bath or reading a book, taking the time for you will greatly lower your stress levels and in turn, elevate your mood.
don't shut yourself out
Although it might be tempting to shut yourself out when in a low mood, it’s really important to still socialise and see friends. Studies have shown that even a small amount of socialising can boost mood and that it is important for our psychological wellbeing. Why not lock in a few lunch dates, do an exercises class or perhaps have a few drinks with friends. It’s still great to get out of the house and catch up with people you might not have seen for a while and you will probably end up being happy that you made the effort and going home with a big smile on your face!
Keep scrolling to shop the best happiness-boosting buys, from Nike's new Zonal Strength tights that are probably the most flattering leggings ever and will totally encourage to move more (just to show them off), to Clinique's cult classics Happy perfume (because it does what it says on the bottle).