I used to grab cigarettes whenever I’d feel stressed or even just the slightest sign of irritation just to be able to change my mood instantly.
For years, I have successfully kept this from my parents. In their minds, how could I do heavy sports and live healthily when I am puffing every chance I get? Doesn’t seem logical, right?
But what could I do? Stress was at large especially in banking and customer service industry and the quickest fix within reach was to smoke. Plus, there’s some kind of badassery and coolness that lies behind smoking. I used to want to be so cool that I was willing to sacrifice having the funny smell on my mouth, fingers and the ability of my lungs and other internal organs to function well. I was young and would just do whatever trend says. I was so focused on the fastest fix I could get not realizing that it was the type of job I was doing that needs to be addressed and fixed.
When I quit my job, it wasn’t so hard to quit smoking. Sure I gained weight and had those what they call withdrawal syndrome but I wasn’t as stressed as before so I didn’t really mind. Mood swings were more evident. I know if I will follow old habits, I would just grab a pack and start again but I didn’t. I started practicing mindfulness and observed every little thing that changed inside me, the emotions, when I feel them, what makes me feel them and what I can do to psychologically train myself to turn it around.
While not all of us can change and quit jobs right away but I’d say from experience that I’d say that if I can’t change my situation, I will change my mindset. I started creating habits. This is not a guide on how to quit smoking. These are the things that I do whenever bad mood strikes. Without fail, they instantly light me up and forget that I have another habit called smoking.
Write it down
Never underestimate the power of writing things down. Not necessarily having to keep a journal all the time but having a journal is the best. Not having a journal in this digital age is not a surprise and also not a problem. At work, just open a notepad and start jabbing your keyboard and pour your heart out. Control + Alt+ Delete after and you’ll see the difference. Grabbing a paper to start writing also does wonders. You can then turn that rage in ripping the paper and throwing it to the nearby bin. Most days, I burn them after writing but I started this blog so it is not practical. I need to save my words. But I will not suggest that you burn them down. Save them. Hide them somewhere because few weeks or months later, you’ll be amazed on how something made you feel and you’ll start thinking of a better reaction next time the same thing happens again.
Hum a tune
Singing has been scientifically proven to release stress, strengthen the lungs, immune system, improve the posture, increase mental alertness among the other benefits. Who cares if you sound like a pig being slaughtered? You’re happy and trust me, happiness is contagious. For higher happiness meter, take your friends out to a Karaoke night and sing your hearts out. Music nourishes our soul.
Sometimes, when I want to punch someone in the face, munching on something crunchy tricks my mind to think that I have indeed punched someone in the throat. If you can’t have that little punching bag on your office workstation, keep some dark chocolates nearby. Aside from the health benefits like being rich in fiber, magnesium, copper, manganese and other I-can’t even-pronounce minerals, it is also rich in anti-oxidants, may also improve blood flow and lower blood pressure of course when consumed in moderation. But nerdiness aside, dark chocolate is a very good pick-me-upper during those times that your mood has gone sour.
No questions here. I don’t know about you but just the smell and sight of coffee is enough to make me jump up and down. Even just the sound of coffee machine is already enough to make me feel excited. And with a dash of cinnamon? I’m in heaven. Try it.
Crack a joke
Watch some funny videos, text or memes. If you’re not in a good mood after, it will be a wonder.
If you can’t do yoga at this time, just stand up and stretch for 20 to 30 seconds. I’m sure your boss wouldn’t mind that you take a little breather just to get your act together. For me stretching is a very important part of starting my day that I have started practicing yoga to get the maximum happiness effect. I may not as flexible as I want to be but I am starting to be in tuned with what I emotionally, spiritually and mentally need. Mine just started by closing my eyes, counting to ten to keep my cool when I was about to burst with so much furious. I extended the count up to 20 seconds and did some stretching which never fails to do the trick.
Call a friend
Calling a friend to catch up and talk is very important for our well being. It is important to let all our emotions out. This is an act of self care. Just few minutes of conversation with a friend who understands and care feel like either a therapy or an hour in the spa.
Go for a walk
A change of scenery and physical action lift our spirits in ways that we don’t realize. I have underestimated the power of movement in changing my bad mood instantly. This gives us time to breath and think and take a break from what is stressing us or making us feel bad. Going for a walk is not just healthy for the body but also for our over all well being.
The reason why I started blogging is to have parts of my journals saved in cloud because I don’t know where I will be next and bringing all my journals will mean that I can only carry few of my other belongings. They take up space. It’s such a pain to leave all my journals behind in the Philippines when I had to move to Malaysia and I did the same when I moved to Germany. This gave birth to my blog which is now like my online diary. I just didn’t know that it can be quite a bummer to keep one because launching a website also gave the possibility of it being a business. At times when I can’t handle the pressure and excitement of this being a business and I want to crack my head open just to learn more, I would go out for a walk. All the burn out and pressure starts to somehow melt away. I can think clearly again. My thoughts run freely again and I will come back and continue what I was writing or learning with a fresher approach.
Hot and/or cold shower
Wash the negativity away and sing your hart out under the shower. It doesn’t take me so long to take a shower but it does takes longer because I finish a song after another and I don’t want to come out until I haven’t felt that I have finished first or second set of my songs. I will then come my fingers looking like white raisins but my spirits already soaring high. I use favorite shower gel for more omph factor.
Sweat it out
Run. Brisk walk. Play that upbeat Spanish song, sing and dance to it. Move it. Smile or laugh while on it and trust me, you’ll have more reasons to smile and laugh because of the silliness of it all. In what Oprah calls delicious meter, I will give a good work out a 500 because of its ability to make me feel centered again. This makes me feel more focused in ticking off things from my to-do list and goals that I have set. Sweating out doesn’t just help me to be in good mood, it also helps my creative juices flow.
Nothing in this life is perfect. It will be only perfect if we create habits that will help us ensure that happiness is something attainable. Define your happiness. Write them down. Know which habits you really want to have to live your own definition of happiness. Building habits need not cost money. It only needs to start. Little by little, practice it. For me, being mindful in every little thing I do was the start. It is not easy but it is within reach. They say that it only takes 21 days to form a habit or 30 days to a maximum. I say it may take longer than that. It is not always going to be a success. Go fail but come back and don’t give up. Do it again. It is not easy but it will be worth it. Because trust me, bad mood and any negativity will be kept at bay.
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