So work is hellish, people are shoving you on the overcrowded MRT and your neighbour won’t stop singing karaoke after midnight. While you can’t wave a wand and magically fix your office issues, empty the train carriage or silence the caterwauling, this is what you can do. Below, 10 ways well within your power to calm your mind and soothe your soul instantly.
Whether it’s through your teeth or not, smiling can help activate the emotion associated with that action. If you just botoxed your frown lines away, even better – researchers have found that people whose ability to frown has been compromised by filler injections are, on average, happier than people who can frown!
2. Eat cheese and crackers
Seriously. This power combo of serotonin and tryptophan will increase your happy hormones and help drive down anger, aggression and depression. Foodies, if you need to know what kind of cheese exactly, Swiss and cheddar are best, according to experts.
3. Watch videos of animals
Just call it a virtual version of pet therapy. When you’ve had enough of complicated humans, you can always rely on a goofy dog or grumpy cat to cheer you up. And since it’s unlikely you’ve got live animals in the office (rodents aren’t counted), YouTube is your next best option. Here’s one to start you off.
4. Gaze at some greenery
This one’s easy if you’re sitting next to a window or a potted plant. Just close your eyes, take a deep breath, open them again and gaze at the green. According to colour psychologists, green represents happiness – and looking at emerald hues, wearing the shade or surrounding yourself with it can create a feeling of joy, too.
5. Make small talk with someone
We know – it’s hard to make yourself do this when you don’t feel like talking to anyone at all, but light-hearted chat with another person can help to soothe those prickly feelings and give you perspective.
6. Hug a cushion
Like Peanuts’ Linus and his security blanket, cuddling up to something soft will make you feel calmer. No cushion? Grab someone around you – human contact has also been proven to increase feelings of happiness.
7. Sniff a scent
Scents, as the ancients showed us, can change your mood. The ones especially good at relieving anger? Lemon, chamomile, jasmine, patchouli, rose and ylang-ylang. Having a bottle of one of these types of essential oils on hand is always useful and could even help bring down that high blood pressure in the long run.
8. Look upwards
One of the fastest ways to disrupt your negative mood is to change your position. When you’re feeling down, you’re usually looking in that direction too – so make an effort to turn your gaze upwards. Or jump around (never mind that those around you might think you’re cray), or stand up, stretch and sigh. You’ll be surprised how much better you feel after.
9. Have a cold drink
This is kinda the equivalent of a guy taking a cold shower when he’s, uh, you know. But if you think about it, it’s not that much different, is it? When emotions run high, something frosty cools things down. We recommend a Slurpee – there’s nothing like overcoming one feeling with another, like the pain from brain freeze.
10. Take a short stroll outside
Getting out of the environment where your anger was triggered can help shed some of that moodiness psychologically too. As the saying goes, there’s nothing like a breath of fresh air.