Being in a great mood isn’t just beneficial for your productivity but for your overall health. As career expert, producer, and co-writer of The Portal, Tom Cronin explains, boosting our happiness is a practice is beneficial for everyone. In fact, he says when we feel fulfilled, our immune, digestive, and sexual systems flourish, our brain works more strategically from the frontal lobe of creativity and intuition, and our stress levels are lower, thanks to oxytocin and serotonin.
In addition to our biology, our level of satisfaction is illustrated in everything we do — even if we aren’t aware of it. As Cronin puts it, our body is like a WiFi modem and our emotions are the frequency we omit.
“When we are angry or anxious we are sending out a signal and people are receiving that. Vice versa when we are happy we are sending out that energy, which will be affecting people around us in a positive way,” he continues. “Our greatest gift we can give the world is one more happy person, and one less stressed unhappy person. If we had 7 billion people in that state then things might start looking up on the planet.”
There’s no need to wait to feel happier — do these things, right now!
How can you improve your mood in less than 10 minutes?
1. Spend time in nature
Though you probably won’t be over the moon sitting in the pouring rain or in triple-digit heat, when the weather is favorable, your mood will match it. No matter if you sit on your front porch and listen to the trees blowing in the wind or spend a hot second on your patio overlooking the bustling city below and meditate, fresh air does incredible wonders for your spirit and your state of being.
The point, of course, is to just be with Mother Nature, according to Cronin.
“This doesn’t sound exciting or dramatic, but the effect of it after a period of time is absolutely astounding,” he continues. “This immersion into nature is so good for the nervous system as it moves the body out of sympathetic nervous system state, and into a calm state that naturally increases the levels of serotonin and decreases cortisol which in the end results in high levels of happiness.”
2. Exercise vigorously for 10 minutes
If you’re on deadline at the office, you probably can’t sneak out to a boxing class. But if you happen to wake up on the wrong side of the bed, licensed psychologist Dr. Sarah Schewitz recommends taking your bad mood — and running with it.
Quite literally, actually. Even ten minutes of intense working out will produce the body’s feel good hormones: endorphins.
Not much for heart-race inducing movements? That’s okay — any sort of activity will do your body (and brain) good.
“Even a quick walk around the block can do wonders for your mood. If you’re going for a walk, try to be mindful of the beauty around you. Stop and notice the flowers planted in your neighbor’s yard. Notice the beauty of the trees along your street. Tune into your surroundings and just let yourself get lost in them,” she suggests. “Or, listen to an uplifting and motivating podcast to give your body and your mind a workout at the same time.”
3. See someone you love
Close your eyes and think of someone you love. Maybe it’s a parent who has supported you every-which-way, or the incredible partner you’re still pinching yourself you were lucky enough to meet. Perhaps a best friend who makes you laugh, without fail.
If you can get ‘em on the phone, shoot them a text or even stop by and see them for ten minutes, Cronin says you’ll feel much, much better. “It’s been proven that when we have deeper connections with people we are generally happier,” he explains.
While many people turn to technology when they’re bored, it’s better to connect with a friend (yep, even via the culprit, your phone), than to scroll through social media.
“It’s this human connection that we we are distancing ourselves from with technology and it’s been proven in a recent Gallup poll that as technology increases in our lives, so to does the level of unhappiness, anger and anxiety,” Cronin adds.
4. Write down fun and happy memories
When you need to take a break from a demanding client or an overbearing boss, sneak into a break room and try this recommended activity from Dr. Schewitz. The mere act of putting pen to paper and remembering the good ol’ times will recenter your mood and alleviate the tension you’ve been harboring in your body and mental capacity.
“Put each memory on a different piece of paper and put them all in a jar,” she explains. “Anytime you’re feeling down, take 10 minutes to write down more happy and fun memories to add to the jar or take 10 minutes and read some to remind you of good times.”
5. Plan your week
One of the reasons you could be struggling with happiness is because you aren’t managing your thoughts or priorities. We’re all guilty of this during hectic, busy seasons and sometimes, an instant mood-lift can be found in working.
Yep, that’s right: planning ahead will allow those buzzing waves to relax, and will give you something to focus your attention on. As psychotherapist and author Dr. Jane Greer explains, setting aside ten minutes before your week begins to plan a daily activity that brings you joy will temper your frustrations.
“Allow yourself the pleasure of looking forward to each one. What you choose should be something that gives you a tremendous amount of pleasure. This could be going for a walk, reading a magazine, watching a TV show, or grabbing coffee with a friend or your significant other,” she says.
The point is: you carve out time — and you hold yourself accountable.
6. Get jiggy with it
There’s a reason why there’s a whole song about afternoon delight. Or why so many people fall into a friends-with-benefit setup while they’re waiting for the right person. It’s also why the happiest of couples have an active sex life.
In addition to feeling good, intimate touch and orgasms make you feel connected to yourself and to your partner. And hey, if you don’t want to go all the way, any type of human contact means something.
“Oxytocin is released if you hug someone for thirty seconds, kiss for six seconds, or have an orgasm. With oxytocin flowing and cortisol being pushed out of your system, you’re bound to feel happy,” Dr. Schewitz explains.