Happiness looks different to everyone – but we all have those days when, sometimes, just a little boost can go a long way.
So, how can you feel instantly happier, say in just 10 minutes or less? We asked wellbeing experts what they recommend…
1. Get offline
“Is there any wonder people start to feel bored and frustrated by their lives, when they spend a large proportion of it looking at the highlight reels of the world on social media?” says Simone Thomas, founder of Simone Thomas Wellness (simonethomaswellness.com).
“Yes, it’s a part of modern life, but turning off your phone and putting the lid down on your laptop and doing something else will boost your mood.”
2. Shake it off
“In the words of Taylor Swift, shake it off,” says Thomas. “A dance around the kitchen with your favourite music is a sure-fire way to dial down negativity and turn up happy FM.
“Ten minutes of moves will take your mind off your ever-growing to-do list,” she adds, “and as your heartbeat increases and more blood pumps around your body, those natural feel-good endorphins will keep you happy for the rest of the day.”
3. Spend time with a pet
“I try to spend some time with an animal every day, and find that my five dogs are linked to my wellbeing. When they are restless, I can feel it and I will make sure we get out for a stomp,” says Lowri Dowthwaite, senior lecturer in psychological interventions at the University of Central Lancashire (uclan.ac.uk).
“It’s well established that bonds between humans and animals positively impact both physical and mental wellbeing, with evidence suggesting that petting an animal can trigger biochemical changes in the body.”
4. Have a mini mental escape
Envision yourself somewhere that makes you happy. Kath Temple, psychologist at Goldster (goldster.co.uk), suggests this exercise: “Imagine being in your favourite place. See what you see, hear what you hear, and feel the fabulous feelings you feel when you’re there. Make the colours richer, brighter, and bolder, and the sounds a little louder, and double those feelings. You can be anywhere in a nanosecond and boost your inner energy as you take a trip in your mind.”
5. Flash a smile
Another fast-fix? “Smile, and look up as you do. It’s hard to feel hopeless as you smile and look up,” says Temple. “It’s the opposite of what we do when we’re feeling low.”
6. Try dry skin brushing
“This easy ritual only takes 10 minutes and can be included before your morning shower. Buy a natural bristle brush and brush towards the heart,” says Triyoga (triyoga.co.uk) acupuncturist and nutritionist, Eloise Minton. As well as giving you a boost, Minton says it’s good for circulation and sloughing off dead skin cells too!
7. Hot foot soak
“A hot foot soak is an excellent and affordable technique that helps ease anxiety, calm a busy mind, alleviate tension, relieve poor circulation and boost your mood,” says Minton. “Find a container that will fit both feet – a washing-up bowl is ideal – and add a couple of drops of lavender oil or Epsom salts for a relaxing and revitalising treatment.”
8. Listen to binaural beats
Jasmine Eskenzi, founder of The Zensory (thezensory.com), says: “To lift your mood quickly, you could try listening to a track that features binaural beats. These are powerful auditory illusions that play at different frequencies in both ears. These tracks can manipulate the brain into a certain state, such as focus, creativity or alertness.
“Anything longer than three minutes can have an impactful positive benefit on your mood – specifically, listening to alpha beats in 8hz to 13hz is proven to improve positivity and relaxation,” Eskenzi adds. “It’s recommended to use headphones to get the full effect. The beauty is you can listen to them anywhere: on the bus, in the bathroom, before you go out, or in bed. Tracks featuring binaural beats can be found online or on apps.”
9. Reach for the oils
“We’ve always believed in the mood-boosting power of aromatherapy oils and fragrance. Scents immediately send messages to the brain; they are powerful elixirs that can shift emotions, stress and mood and help you feel uplifted and more balanced,” says Clare Hopkins, co-founder of Balance Me (balanceme.com).
“Fragonia, Elemi and Benzoin in particular can help calm your mind and body and are known for their mood-enhancing abilities, which is why they’re so important in our Balance Being Oil blend. I pop some in my bath or inhale with a deep breath from the bottle when I’m feeling stressed. It has an instant effect at helping me feel more balanced.”