Feeling stuck, blue or just meh? Shifting your perceptions can flip your emotions from moody to happy-er.
The best self help tool within your control is the ability to control your mood. You can control your moods by shifting your perceptions. Shifting your perceptions requires the willingness to look at what’s in front of you and see the possibilities.
First, how do you “see” or perceive the challenges in front of you? Let’s say you’ve lost your job or a relationship. Can you see that one day you’ll be able to overcome these challenges and find yourself in an even better position than before?
That’s the secret to perception. It’s choosing not to give weight to negative thoughts but see – perceive – that actually we have unlimited opportunities to choose from. It’s knowing that just because one thing ends, doesn’t mean the next thing isn’t going to be as good or better.
When you realize you have the power to change your perceptions, you can change your mood.
Think of perception shifting as akin to putting on a pair of rose tinted glasses. You choose to view events through a lens of positive vs negative expectation.
Shift Your Perception to Change Your Mood
If you know what makes you happy, just do it.
Don’t stop and analyze why you want what you want. Just go do it.
Why wait and postpone what you want and need?
Is it because you’ve gotten into the habit of saying,
“I’ll do that someday, just not today.”
“I’ll wait and be happier when it’s more convenient or when I have the time to figure out what it will take to get me there.”
Postponing pleasure and positive experiences comes from having a false perception.
“There isn’t enough time”
“I don’t deserve to do this right now” or
“I’m not ready to be happy”
Those big ideas and feelings about our future still swirls around in our heads, but do we get into the habit of putting them off until…we have the time? But when IS the time going to be “right”.
No One Knows What You Need Better Than You
No one else is going to hand us a list of things to help us feel happier. And time has a way of stretching until it snaps and we run out of it. So putting off happiness is like avoiding using real butter. It’s a false virtue.
What if you change your perception and realize life is already waiting for you to be happier. In fact it will support you if you make the leap.
Are you ready to be happier NOW, or do you want to wait?
Don’t be surprised if when you start thinking about what makes you happy, a little twinge of guilt kicks in. Shouldn’t others’ happiness be as important as our own? What right do we have to think about our own happiness?
Resist that feeling of guilt or unworthiness.
No one is going to like you more if you turn into an unhappy guilt ridden human being!
Another Way to Think About Getting Happier.
Instead of thinking of happiness or contentment as something we need to get, visualize uncovering it. Our happiness has always been there percolating in our soul. It just gets smothered from time to time in life sauce.
The pandemic has been the ultimate test of how a naturally healthy mood can get smothered. Perhaps you started the year thinking; “Hey ho I’ve got this”. Then all of a sudden the sauce hit the fan and your naturally happy self was deluged with pandemic induced fears. An entirely natural response by the way.
But underneath the life sucking sauce your heart is still beating and you know what will make you happy.
When life seems a little out of control, remind yourself you’re the only one who can change your mood and perceptions. Reach for these easy (free) methods to get out of your head and stop those negative thought spirals. Each step has the potential to change your mood just long enough to help make it stick!
9 Ways to Change Your Mood to Happy
Music has the power to put me into the flow of feeling instead of thinking. I turn up something with a beat, play it loud and start dancing. What takes you out of your head and into your body? This is important because ….when we lose self-consciousness ….our head stops calling the shots and our body takes over.
Watching a funny video or show (preferably from another decade) and laughing is the best way to change your perceptions about your world. I’ve watched all 10 seasons of Friends this year. Find a movie, podcast or radio program that lifts you up and literally makes you laugh out loud.
3. Bake, cook or craft.
From whipping up a batch of favorite cookies to concocting a new soup recipe, cooking can be the perfect diversion to focus on something besides negative news. If you’re not a baker what about sewing or crafts? What fiddly project can you lose yourself in? Immersing ourselves in something we’re creating is the perfect diversion from any negative perceptions. Becoming a great baker isn’t the goal. Losing yourself in the process is. Because while we’re not paying attention our mood naturally lifts.
Make a goal to do something every day. From walking 3-4 miles to working out to a hip hop fitness class on Youtube when the weather is vile. Working up a sweat and staying fit makes us feel better and healthy at the same time. Walking is free, but so is lifting weights or cycling. Can you pick a routine you enjoy and make it a habit? Can you get lost in the process of feeling stronger and more in control of your thoughts?
From smelling roses as you walk by to appreciating the sweet trills of birds, being in nature soothes our souls. The great outdoors is always there when we need it. Now that I live in England one of the benefits of walking everywhere is being able to soak up nature’s mood boost. Can you squeeze more nature and fresh air into your day? It’s hard to stay in a bad mood when the sun is shining and your feet are moving.
Little treats like picking up a bunch of grocery store flowers or a pretty new nail polish are inexpensive ways to remind myself I’m worthy of pleasure and a mood booster. Let’s not forget the healing power of a bubble bath! Could you give yourself an at home manicure or treat yourself to a new bottle of foaming bath salts? When we do something good for ourselves, we automatically make the connection that we’re worthy of feeling better.
Planning a trip or a day out gives us something to look forward to which is vital to changing our perceptions. Get immersed in train schedules, hotel rates and possibly meeting friends or family. What plan would make you happy to think about the possibilities? Dream about where you want to go and start mentally taking the steps now to make it a reality. Losing yourself in the prospect of exciting plans changes your perceptions of what the future holds.
I first discovered yoga when I was newly separated and found it to be the perfect exercise for me. A yoga practice can be gentle or challenging; it’s up to you how far you want to stretch. I set aside 20-25 minutes every morning to practice after I’ve had my tea and cereal. The discipline alone makes me feel in control of my mood. What stretching exercise can you do on the regular to show your body some love. You know that when your body feels good, you do too right?
OK this is a biggie, I’m not going to lie. It bugs me when we’re told to get more sleep. Well duh! Who doesn’t want to sleep like a baby! I’ve realized that a good nights sleep is a key ingredient to my mood. So I keep a pretty strict evening and morning routine. There’s a million and one articles about sleeping better but trust me when I say you’ll need to perfect your own schedule over time. How can you make getting a good nights sleep a priority in your day?
Doing what makes you happy creates space for your mood and perceptions to lift and turn rose-tinted.
Get good at recognizing those little signs that tell you you’re off track or just bobbing above water. For me, it’s losing my appetite or the ability to laugh out loud at something I used to find funny.
What signs tell you you’re slipping too far away from a balanced mood?
Make corrections pronto. Just as a captain needs to keep an eye on the wind to adjust the sail, you need to keep an eye on your well being.
Make nurturing your mind, body and soul a priority. Stop and take the time you need to adjust your course before you get lost in unhappy thoughts or fears. Keep adjusting your perceptions to see the good and the positive and your moods will follow.