10 ways to boost your spirits
Forget expensive spas and yoga holidays, sometimes it's the simple things in life that make all the difference. Here are ten cheap, cheerful and easy ways to boost your spirits...
We don't need scientific proof to convince us of the inspiring powers of music but, in case you're wondering, scientific proof does exist – and lots of it. Earlier this summer, a study by the University of Missouri in the US found that listening to uplifting music boosted mood.
It's free, you can do it anywhere, and it can be as strenuous or relaxing as you want it to be – the benefits of a good stroll are certainly endless.
"Walking has been shown to improve self-esteem, relieve depression, anxiety and improve mood," says fitness instructor Amanda Godsell..
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When it comes to feeling happy, studies have found that people who regularly have a coffee, for instance, with a close friend are happier than those who focus more on "bigger" rewards, like expensive holidays.
With email and mobile phones, instant communication has become so easy, but it lacks the meaning of an old-fashioned letter. Sitting down to write enables you to focus your thoughts and reflect on what's going on in your world.
Our moods respond to brightness and colour, and this is something fashion stylists have been using to their advantage for years. So for an instant mood-booster, throw on some colour.
Whether it's a wedding or a holiday when the children were young, why not dust off those old photo albums and indulge in the memories? A healthy dose of nostalgia can be comforting and reviving.
Earlier this year, a survey by Gardeners' World magazine revealed that 90 per cent of gardeners believe their hobby boosts their mood. People who regularly gardened were less likely to report feeling unhappy or depressed, too.
"Caring about others is fundamental to our happiness," says Dr Mark Williamson, director of the Action for Happiness movement, which promotes happiness. "Helping others is not only good for them and a great thing to do generally, it makes us happier and healthier."
A good book can stay with your for years and in the short term, reading can have happiness-boosting powers too. As one benefit, it requires you to find peace and quiet and switch off from "normal" life, and this in itself is relaxing and stress-relieving.
Baking has enjoyed a revival in recent years, with the success of shows like The Great British BakeOff, and no wonder – it's one of life's real simple pleasures. All the mixing and kneading requires a degree of effort, and getting stuck in can be a great tension-releaser.