Nine ways to boost your mood before work
Not a morning person? A few tweaks to your routine could have you springing into the day filled with boundless energy and good cheer.
Mary Poppins you may not be, but you can easily wake up feeling bright-eyed and bushy-tailed every day of the week if you follow these tips:
1. Keep a fun photo by your bedside
Roll over to see a photo of a happy occasion and you’re guaranteed to set your mood to sunny, say University of Southampton researchers. They found reminiscing about a fond memory causes the brain to replicate the emotion you felt in the photo.
2. Sing along to your favourite music
Banish talkback radio and put on the kind of music that inspires you sing along loudly instead. Breaking out your best Bruno Mars (or Celine Dion) not only significantly improves your mood, it also boosts your immune system, according to a Johann Wolfgang Goethe-University study.
3. Become vanilla-dependent
Arm yourself with vanilla-scented products before you jump in the shower. While the scent has long been known for its relaxing properties, a German study has found vanilla also throws a heavy blanket over your natural startle reflex, helping you to stay cool, calm and collected.
4. Wash up your breakfast bowls
Sometimes even the simple act of peering into the sink can provoke feelings of despair, but science says to follow through if you crave the benefits of a happy mind. Research by Florida State University shows dishwashing encourages a state of mindfulness, which is linked to improved emotional wellbeing and a decrease in stress levels.
5. Make your partner a cup of coffee
Perform a small act of kindness, such as making your partner’s morning tea or coffee, for an instant boost of feel-good hormones. A review of 21 studies looking into the health benefit of small acts of kindness found performing them quickly increased feelings of happiness and general wellbeing.
6. Hug goodbye
We’re all guilty of yelling the odd “see ya!” as we shut the front door, but countless studies show taking the time to hug loved ones goodbye could be exactly what you need to boost feel-good oxytocins levels and reduce any feelings of stress and negativity.
7. Walk to work
Need one more reason to walk to work? A Stanford University study has found people (city-dwellers in particular) who walked to the office, particularly if part of the walk was through greenery, experienced less activity in the part of the brain that chews over negative thoughts, indicating a quieter, more peaceful mind.
8. Practise gratitude
All is not lost for those who have to commute. Taking some time on the train, bus, ferry or car to identify three things you are grateful for can help put you in a better mood as well as reduce stress, cholesterol and blood pressure.
9. Watch a quick cat video
In the office but still feeling a little low? Don’t do a thing until you’ve watched a kitten in a tuxedo playing a piano (or something similar). Studies show laughter really is the best medicine, working to decrease anxiety and cheer us up.
The best part? The laughter doesn’t even have to be genuine to benefit.
In search of… Work and Wellness (with Caroline Pemberton)
Written by Dilvin Yasa