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Advice / Succeeding at Work / Break Room

7 Surefire Ways to Get Happy That Take Less Than a Minute

Some days go really well, and some not so much. If your day is taking a turn for the worse and you need to stop the downward slide, you don’t want to add to the stress by eating up your valuable time. Sometimes you don’t really need or have time for a disruptive break or an hour-long therapy session to get your mood back on track.

When you’re happy, you’re more productive and generally on an easier track to success. A down mood can distract you from accomplishment and sour the relationships around you. Often, you can easily break out of a sudden funk without investing a ton of time. You just need a few quick tips and tricks—try these and watch your happiness grow.

1. Count Your Blessings

When times are tough, people often lose sight of the positive things in their lives. Few people really have their entire life crashing down around them. Most feel their mood drop in moments of stress. You can turn things up quickly by taking stock of what’s going well. Simply grab a piece of paper and write down a list of everything good in your life. You’ll be surprised how quickly that smile creeps back onto your face.

2. Go for Some Chocolate

If things are seeming bleak and you can’t get out of the doldrums, grab that chocolate bar. The darker the chocolate you eat, the better. Science has shown that chocolate is a natural mood enhancer. A little of the dark stuff goes a long way in brightening your day, without a ton of calories.

3. Think of a Loved One

When your mood drops it might be because you feel alone. Perhaps the stress of the day has isolated you and left you feeling empty. Think about the person who loves you most and remember times when that person brought a smile to your face. Memories are powerful, and visualizing them can transfer that warm emotion directly.

4. Say a Quick Affirmation

There is no need to be down on yourself, even if you made a big mistake. Boost your mood by reminding yourself how smart and talented you are. Repeat after me: I am a good person with intelligence and skills. I can do anything I set my mind to. I can and will learn from my errors and immediately become stronger, happier, and more effective.

5. Do a 45-Second Meditation

Being overwhelmed with too much distraction can sap your energy and drop your mood. Set the timer on your phone for 45 seconds. Lean back, close your eyes, drop your shoulders, and focus on deep breathing. Picture the negative thoughts leaving your body through your nostrils as you exhale. When the alarm hits, open your eyes. Take 10 seconds to focus and enjoy the euphoria.

6. Make a Short Thank You List

Perhaps you feel like you don’t get enough appreciation and it’s making you sad. Well, the appreciation you get is relative to the appreciation you give. Here’s a chance to realize how much others contribute to your life and feel better about those around you. List at least five people who did something nice for you in the last few days. Make a point to send them a note or give them a call before the day is done.

7. Have a 30-Second Dance Party

Recently, I was facilitating a strategic session that had gotten somewhat tense. The mood had dropped and one of the executives stood up and shouted “30-second dance party!” It sounded a bit silly, as she was flailing around with no music, but pretty soon I saw it catch on and had to admit that even the observers were smiling. It was a great way to get the blood pumping and energize the group. She won me over and inspired this entire column.

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Photo of happy hiker courtesy of Shutterstock.