We all have good days and bad days, and sometimes the pendulum seems to be weighted towards the bad ones. As we get older, it can be a challenge to snap ourselves out of the doldrums, especially if we live or spend a lot of time alone.

The world is a busy place, and everyone has so much going on that we see our friends and family less and less often. Sure, we can call or message them to stay connected, but we still feel their physical absence.

And because we do so much online nowadays, we can find we don’t have a lot of reasons to go out and tend to stay home more often than we used to.

All these can make us feel rather gloomy and put a damper on our day. We can end up in a negative rut, where we find something wrong with everything.

There are a few simple things we can do to lift our spirits. They are quick and easy, and best of all, we can do them anytime, anywhere – for free!

Say Good Morning to Yourself

Greeting yourself each morning does sound strange at first, but once you get in the habit you’ll see how good it makes you feel. Do it when you wake up, before you get out of bed.

Put your right hand over your heart, to touch the heart chakra (l learned that in yoga). After a few breaths, say “Good Morning” out loud. Say it with a strong voice if you are alone, or whisper if you aren’t. You’ll probably chuckle and be a bit embarrassed, and that’s okay.

Do it again the next day, and the next. Before long, you’ll be enhancing your tone, maybe adding in a few words like, “Good Morning, today will be a good day!” This is a great way to start your day on a positive note.

Smile

We all need to smile more as smiling makes us feel better by boosting our mood. Google “health benefits of smiling” and you’ll get close to 30 million hits! The benefits of smiling are indisputable – it really is good for us.

Try this experiment: Look in the mirror with no expression, then smile. Can you see the difference? Do you feel the difference? And you look so much better when you smile. Have you thought about how others respond to you when you smile? More often than not, they smile back.

Smile when you’re alone, and especially when you are feeling sad, lonely or disillusioned. It will make you feel better. And having people smile back at you will bring another dose of positivity.

Go Out

We need to be out there to feel the movement of life and to interact with people. Even if it’s only for a short time each day, head out to the mall, the library, a community center, a busy walking path, or where ever there are people going about their day.

If you start to feel lonely or sad, smile. You’ll see that people will smile back. This applies to whatever you do out there, from just sitting and watching the world go by, to waiting for an appointment, shopping the grocery aisles, standing in a queue, or trying on shoes.

Your day will improve by being out there and staying involved in the community life around you.

Say “Hi”

When you’re out and about, instead of ignoring others, greet them. You’ll be surprised at what happens. Most will say “Hi” in return. Give it a try.

I sometimes feel that we are programmed to respond to a greeting; we simply can’t pass by in silence. And it feels really good when people say “Hi.” If we can prompt such a simple interaction by saying “Hi” first, why not do it?

You can also try saying the variations: Good Morning/ Afternoon/ Evening. Even a comment about the weather works well too. It’s easy to say “Hi,” and the benefits are definitely worth the effort.

Not everyone will respond, but we shouldn’t let that deter us. Those people are probably having a bad day. You might be helping lift their spirits even though they aren’t responding.

Give Someone an Emotional Lift

Giving makes us feel good, especially when we can empathize with someone having a difficult time. There are so many sad looking people out there: the downcast teenager, the worried older woman, the discouraged man, the mother whose children simply won’t cooperate…

Say something to these people – something gentle and non-judgmental. It will lift them out of their gloom for a few moments, and it could be what they need to cheer up and face life. “That’s a pretty sweater,” or “I sure hope the rain holds off till this evening” can do wonders.

The person may mumble and continue on, they may ignore you completely, or maybe they’ll engage in a short conversation – and you’ll feel great that you made a positive difference to someone’s day.

Clint Eastwood’s famous line from the movie Dirty Harry, “Go ahead, make my day” actually has positive merit. By giving someone a bit of attention, the emotional lift they feel will boomerang back to you.

These 5 ways to improve your day are super easy and don’t involve much effort. Try one. And tomorrow, try another. Pretty soon you’ll be doing all 5 whenever you get the chance and you’ll be reaping the positive results from improving your day.

Give me a smile. See? You’re feeling better already.

It’s all good!

Do you ever smile to strangers? Do you try talking to people who seem to be in need of attention? Which strategies work best for lifting up your day? Let’s hear your stories in the comments below.

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