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We all have those days. We're in a mood and getting grumpier by the minute, despite our best intentions. And in tough times, they seem to come along more frequently than ever. If you need a boost, then there are simple, and surprising, tricks you can try to put the smile back on your face.
In fact, they're so simple that they are often overlooked in the grandiose pursuit of Happiness with a capital ‘H’. But sometimes it's the smallest things that can have the greatest impact. Here are our tips for bringing a little boost to a bad day.
Clutter has a clever way of bringing us down, and a messy environment can mean a messy mind. Scattered papers around your desk can spell scattered thoughts in your head, because it's hard to find what you need and, worse, to concentrate. In fact, a Princeton University Neuroscience Institute study found that clutter limits the brain's ability to process information.
It's no wonder, then, that untidiness can leave you feeling stressed and overwhelmed, particularly if you have other worries on your mind. If you need to tackle a particular problem, then declutter your surroundings so your brain can focus solely on the task in hand.
And it's a triple win - not only will clearing chaotic environments help you to deal with other issues effectively, but it will also give you a sense of accomplishment once it's done. An added bonus is that you'll have a lovely clear space to enjoy.When you’re cooped up indoors with the kids, a little mess is inevitable as you try to keep them entertained. Try our tips to trick your kids into tidying up.
Snuggle up in softness
Fuzzy socks, a favourite sweatshirt, a silky-soft throw. Wrapping yourself in something soft can be just the pampering you need to lift your mood. And the best part is, it's super easy to do, whenever you need it.
You can take a moment right now to indulge your senses and reset your mind by putting on a cosy cashmere cardie or your favourite sweats. Focusing on the soft touch of something snuggly against your skin also has a way of grounding us in the present moment, and taking you away from any anxieties nagging at the corners of your mind.
Smell a favourite scent
Our sense of smell is one of our most powerful forms of memory. Scientists at Brown University, in the US, have shown that smelling a familiar scent induces more brain activity than seeing a familiar object, or even smelling an unfamiliar scent.
With just one whiff, a smell can evoke memories of forgotten places, beloved people and experiences encountered. The smell of a favourite perfume can spark memories of going on a first date, while the smell of a certain spice can take us straight back to being a kid in the kitchen with Mum.
It's like taking a quick little jaunt to a moment that made you smile. So, take a moment to spritz some perfume, light a candle or use a favourite soap. It may just provide the push you need to turn your day around, especially if you can’t be with loved ones right now.
Do the laundry, yes really!
This one may surprise you, but done with the right products, fresh laundry is an invigorating multi-sensory experience that neatly wraps up all of these tips into one tidy little package. The fresh smell, the soft fabric against your skin, the satisfaction of neat little piles of nicely folded shirts...
Laundry can make us feel oddly pampered and cared for, according to Karen Maezen Miller, Zen teacher and author of Hand Wash Cold: Care Instructions for an Ordinary Life, who touts doing laundry as part of a fulfilling and meaningful life. Crisp, cool sheets, a freshly ironed favourite shirt - these are some of life's lovely little luxuries.
Sure, actually doing the laundry is no easy task. We hear you there! But when it's finished, the sensory experience of it can be so uplifting - kind of like putting on your favourite pair of fuzzy socks (freshly washed, of course!) and curling up on the sofa.
What are your favourite ways to instantly lift your mood?
Let us know in the comments section below...