Don't worry, I'm not about to tell you that no matter what life is throwing at you today, all you need to do is think happy thoughts! For one, it's downright patronising. It's also pretty difficult to do when you're stressed out, burnt out and in serious danger of meeting yourself coming back because you're so busy!
What I am going to tell you though is that you can feel happier right now by doing small, simple things to release some gorgeous feel good chemicals in your brain.
Ok...here comes the science bit:
The chemicals we're interested in stimulating are dopamine, oxytocin, serotonin and endorphins and each one is responsible for making you feel good in different ways; so you can be really specific about exactly what kind of happy you want to feel today. Woohooooooo!
Sorry. Back into serious and clever science mode.
First up: Dopamine.
Dopamine is probably best described as that lovely feeling you get when you have accomplished something. It enables motivation and learning and gives you the determination you need to achieve goals or desires. For a little surge of the good stuff today, why not find something small you can tick off that loooooong list of yours or better still, indulge in a self-care activity.
Oxytocin is often fondly referred to as the 'love' or 'cuddle hormone' because of the important role it plays in bonding and building trust through connection with others, making you feel calmer and safer. It can also boost your immune system and help fight stress. To get the oxytocin flowing in your brain today, connect with someone. Have a nice long cuddle or hold hands and literally feel the love.
Serotonin is a bit of a hormonal legend
Not very sciency again.
Sorry. Not sorry.
It works in both the brain, improving memory and helping to regulate your mood, as well as in the body, where it promotes healthy digestion, sleep, bone health and more. Get your brain to release some of this bad boy today by finding some sunshine, having a walk outside or meditating.
And finally: Endorphins.
Endorphins, when released, act as a natural pain killer and lessen your perception of physical pain and release a short, euphoric feeling inside. They are most commonly associated with the high that people feel after exercise but can equally be turned on by having a good belly laugh, so why not watch a clip of your favourite comedian or reminisce about some funny memories with someone?
So there you have it! Science backed strategies to feel instantly happier.
Right. I'm off to do some exercise holding hands with a clown in the sunshine!