When things get out of control and you momentarily lose your emotional balance, there are any number of little things you can do to regain it. Here are seven simple tools for lifting your mood.
1. Wash your hands and face and brush your teeth. It cools and cleans the parts of your body that you use most frequently, which is relaxing and gives you that fresh-start feeling. One extra hint: When you wash your hands, scrub up to your elbows, where dirt may reach without your noticing.
2. Put on some shoes that you haven’t worn in a few days. Shoes take a day or two to release any moisture absorbed, and wearing different shoes is a very easy way to put a little pep back in your step. This is especially true if you’ve been out walking. Go ahead and put on a pair of fresh socks if you feel like it, or if you’re staying in for the duration of the day, switch to slippers!
3. Take a hot shower. This is another instant way to freshen up and boost your outlook. If you don’t have time for a shower, splashing your face with water, especially on a hot day, or a light sponge bath can also work wonders. Midday refreshers like this help you retain a positive outlook and keep you on your game.
4. Look at any trophy, diploma or certificate of achievement that you have earned. If it isn’t framed and on the wall, frame it now. These are reminders of your accomplishments, and taking in your success is important for your self-esteem. If you don’t think you have anything worth framing, then I suggest looking in the mirror, because in the end, you are your best accomplishment.
5. Organize your clothes closet and get rid of anything that no longer fits. Old clothes may come back into style, but you really don’t want them on hangers for the next twenty years. Throwing out the old makes room for the new. And get dressed in clothes that make you feel good about yourself. You can dress up just to go to the market.
6. Wash your car, inside and out. Hey, when our wheels are shiny, we feel better. If you don’t think this applies to you, just remember how you felt the last time you got a ride in someone’s very funky car. An additional hint: If your kid is taking their behind-the-wheel driving test, get the car washed beforehand. It never fails to impress. Race you to the car wash.
7. Cook a lovely meal. Even if you are by yourself, preparing a tasty dinner, setting the table and treating yourself to a wonderful culinary experience will lift your spirits. Sharing it with someone you love will make it even more nurturing. When two hearts and four hands are preparing a meal, it is food for the soul as well as the body.
The only way these seven simple tools for lifting your mood won’t work is if you don’t use them. Giving yourself a little boost when you’re not at the top of your game is a trick that truly happy people use on a regular basis.
Barton Goldsmith, Ph.D., LMFT, is an award-winning therapist and writer. He is a columnist, blogger and the author of seven books, including “Visualization For Success — 75 Psychological Empowerment Exercises To Get You What You Want In Life.” Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.