7 Super-Easy Tips To Cheer Yourself Up Fast — Using Only Your Body And Mind

17 Mar 2020

7 Super-Easy Tips To Cheer Yourself Up Fast — Using Only Your Body And Mind

We can all feel a little down from time-to-time;

Circumstances, events, situations or even the weather can throw us off course. Other times, there might be no obvious reason for feeling low. Regardless of the causes, you’ll want to cheer yourself up quickly. If you prefer to listen, rather than read, scroll to the bottom of the page for the podcast.

cheer yourself up

Photo by Matteo Catanese on Unsplash

Follow these 7 tips to improve your mood, and cheer yourself up — fast.

  1. Stop ‘Shoulding’ on yourself.
  2. Make friends with your Internal Terrorist.
  3. Mind your language.
  4. Make sure things are looking up.
  5. Stay present, centred and grounded.
  6. Decide to be happy.
  7. Do something to lift your spirits.

1. Stop ‘Shoulding’ on yourself

We all talk to ourselves — often unconsciously. But if you’re not aware of what you’re doing, your self-talk may be triggering your low mood. Telling yourself what you ‘should’ do you will make you feel dissatisfied. Yes, I know it sounds a little crazy, but read on and give me a chance to explain. 

Words such as should, ought, got to, have to, need to and must, imply that a specific action is necessary or compulsory. If something is mandatory, it’s also something that’s demanded or enforced, and thus it takes away our choice. 

We humans, like having choices. 

So we rebel against this sense of compulsion, digging in our heels and steadfastly refusing to do what ‘needs’ to be done. 

To illustrate this point, when I’m training people, I’ll say to one of the participants who have their legs crossed, “You should uncross your legs.” Rarely do they uncross their legs. Sometimes they cross their arms as well! I ask them to notice what their initial, internal reaction was. They’ll respond with words like ‘defiant’, ‘stubborn’, ‘no!’ ‘don’t tell me what to do!’ etc. In other words, they do the opposite of what I tell them they ‘should’ do.

Problems arise when we use this ‘shoulding’ language to ourselves. You might say to yourself, “I need to mow the lawns/clean the stove/do my tax return” etc. only to find that days, weeks and even months or years go by without that task getting done. You’re rebelling against yourself. And that’s no way to cheer yourself up now, it it?

Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

Humans desire choice, remember? 

And ‘shoulding’ language leaves you feeling you have no choice. And so you procrastinate.

The more you procrastinate, the more you beat yourself up. This leads to a lack of self-esteem and motivation, which contribute to crappy moods.

In another article, called Musting: How To Put Off Procrastinating (Shoulding is the same thing — just a different word!) there’s an 8-minute audio so you can get first-hand experience of the impact of these evil little words!

To cheer yourself up you’ll want to use words that restore your sense of choice

Use different, more empowering words. Words that open up the possibility of doing whatever it is you want to get done. These words are, ‘like’ ‘could’, ‘want’, ‘may’, ‘might’ etc.

Try this out:

Think of something you’ve been saying you ought to do (or need, should etc.). For instance, “I’ve got to do my tax return today.” Now replace the compulsion word with a more empowering term. In the example sentence, I’d replace ‘got’ with ‘like to’. So the sentence is now, “I’d like to do my tax return today.” Notice how that feels different, as if you suddenly have choice again! I know people who’ve accomplished amazing feats just by changing this part of their language. In the process, they’ve stopped their self-sabotage — and avoided the pit of procrastination.

2. Make friends with your Internal Terrorist.

Internal Terrorist cartoon - How to cheer yourself upYour internal Terrorist is the part of you that sneaks in and provides ongoing commentary. He loves to point out ALL your shortcomings. (It’s probably him that is also ‘shoulding’ on you) He’s aggressively opinionated and has lots to say — mostly negative!

We’re often told to ‘think positively’, to stop the negative self-talk and replace it with something supportive. This might be sound advice, but having a gentle dialogue with your Internal Terrorist will probably be more beneficial. You see, the Internal Terrorist isn’t so bad. After all he’s another aspect of you. So while his comments might seem cutting, his intention is positive. 

Have the conversation. 

Ask him what his positive intention is behind the hurtful comments. He might just be pointing out your mistakes, so you don’t repeat them. 

3. Mind your language.

Yes, yet another point about language.

The quality of our internal dialogue is vital to our mental health and wellbeing. The language you use has an impact on your neurology. Positive language makes you feel better.

Imagine if you had someone telling you that you were useless, incompetent, nasty, lazy, slow etc.

Wow! OK That’s enough, stop it now! 

You wouldn’t put up with it! You’d either demand the person stop, you’d leave, or — depending upon your temperament — do something more drastic! 

So here’s the kicker:

Do you use that kind of disempowering language to yourself? Come on now, own up — I admit to being guilty at times. 

I have a short audio that will give you a first hand experience of the impact of words on your body. It’s called ‘How words affect your health’. Have a listen, it’s only two minutes long. 

What if you used some wonderfully empowering language to yourself? How would you feel at the end of each day if you told yourself that you were smart, gorgeous, lovely, kind, compassionate etc? Do you think you might cheer yourself up?

Here’s a challenge for you.

Use Steph’s rule. What’s Steph’s rule?

Only talk to yourself the way you’d talk to someone you really cared about.

Bazinga! (As Sheldon from Big Bang Theory would say!)

4. Make sure things are looking up.

bird looking up. Cheer yourself up

Photo by Sid Balachandran on Unsplash

When we look up, we access the visual part of our brain. You can visit the NLP Eye Accessing chart to get some more information about this. When we look up, we become more animated, we speak more quickly and feel more upbeat. We cheer UP

When we’re feeling down we look down (surprise, surprise). 

We talk about feeling low. Looking down and to your left (for the majority of the population) indicates talking to yourself. Down and to your right indicates you’re getting in touch with feelings and emotions. The expression, “I feel downright miserable” isn’t coincidental! 

So looking up and focusing on what you’re looking at can immediately take you out of the negative feelings associated tips 1-3, thus brightening your mood. You’ll benefit from looking out of a window and into the distance. 

Even better is going for a walk and looking at what’s around you. It’ll take your attention away from yourself and give your head a rest from ‘shoulding’, your Internal Terrorist and disempowering language.

5. Stay present, centred and grounded.Ground tree roots

You only have right now, this present moment. Every other moment is in the past or the future. Worrying about events that have or haven’t happened, or becoming anxious about the future takes you away from happiness in the present moment. You become distracted and unfocused, and your state of mind is reflected in your body. In turn this negatively affects your immune system, often causing ill health. You become uncentered and out of control.

A simple way of centring yourself is through a technique called grounding. The process itself forces you to be present in the moment, or you won’t be able to do it. Here’s how it works. Stand up straight with your feet about shoulder-width apart. (If you can do this exercise standing on the ground or the beach (not concrete), even better.

Now, focus all your attention on the area of your solar plexus. The solar plexus is in the pit of your stomach. It is about halfway between your throat and your belly button. Concentrate on bringing all your energy to that point. Then, imagine roots running from the solar plexus spreading out and running down your legs and deep into the ground below you. Alternatively imagine bolts of lightning shooting down your legs, anchoring you into the ground. Notice the new sense of calm, strength and solidarity. 

6. Decide to be happy.

We make decisions about our emotional states on an ongoing basis. Although those decisions may not always be conscious, that doesn’t mean they can’t be. Any decision can be changed by re-deciding. Of course, there are times when it would seem inappropriate to feel happy.

Happy children

chayene-rafaela-790473-unsplash-2

Given that we only live in the present moment, why wouldn’t you want to make the most of this moment by being happy? What does happiness even mean? Without going off on some philosophical tangent, happiness can range from peace to contentedness to absolute joy. 

Happiness then must be whatever you determine it to be. You can decide at any time to be happy.

I’ve written several posts about happiness so I won’t rewrite those here. Please read these two posts for more ideas on how to achieve it.

How to be happy. Is it really this simple?  And, How to Pursue happiness, instead of chasing after it.

7. Do something to lift your spirits

Doing what we love is what makes life joyful. But many people deprive themselves of feeling uplifted until… they’ve finished all their work, the kids are in bed, the washing up is done etc. 

Sometimes, when they finally get to whatever uplifts their spirits, they’re too tired to enjoy it! 

Investing time into the stuff that brings you joy will bring dividends. You’ll feel renewed, reinvigorated and re-inspired. If you don’t, you may experience regret, resentment, disappointment and discontent.

Look for simple day-to-day activities (or sometimes INactivity) that make you happy and bring you joy. For me, these include:

  • Walking on the beach every morning with Ragz, my Tibetan terrier. Catching up with people and doggy friends and noticing the constant changes in the environment set me up for the day. 
  • I feel spoilt by being able to work sitting outside on the deck when it isn’t too hot or cold.
  • Meeting a friend for coffee and getting out of the office for an hour is something I look forward to. 
  • Sitting in my bean bag in the lounge and doing research away from the desk puts me in a different headspace.

    Uplifting- Raglan's Recycled Raft Race

    Raglan’s recycled raft race.

What lifts your spirits?

How can you insert them into your day — before you’re too tired to enjoy them? You might have to put something else aside. Still, I can assure you it’ll be worth it for the improvement in your mental and emotional health and wellbeing.

So, 7 super-easy tips to cheer yourself up fast — using only your body and mind. No drugs, no apps, no equipment and no money required. All you need is a little time and focus and a commitment to taking care of yourself and your mood. 

Here are the 7 tips to cheer yourself up again:

  1. Stop ‘Shoulding’ on yourself.
  2. Make friends with your Internal Terrorist.
  3. Mind your language.
  4. Make sure things are looking up.
  5. Stay present, centred and grounded.
  6. Decide to be happy.
  7. Do something to lift your spirits.

Want to learn more?

Inside Your Mind

P.S. The “How to Cheer Yourself Up’ podcast below is a pretty lively and humorous one I recorded with Aaron Mooar at Raglan Radio. We cover all seven tips above, with lots of questions and answers, examples and laughter. I also wrote this post on the subject, so you have something you can revisit and quickly see what each of the tips are, rather than trying to find the spot again on the podcast. 😊

P.P.S Get my free eBook, How To Know What to Do When You’re Feeling Lost. (No sign-up required)