by Wendy Keller, author, blogger, friend
When you set a goal and move toward it, even if it is only baby steps, you give yourself a “small success.” Each small success gives you a little booster shot of dopamine, a feel-good chemical in your brain. You really can use the power of “Small Successes” to help yourself feel better.
Small successes could include:
- Taking your vitamins today
- Saying no to a second helping
- Summoning the energy to go for a stroll or even to exercise
- Ticking one task off your to-do list
Here are 7 quick things you can do regularly to give yourself the “small success” feeling:
1. Clean and organize your home. You can start with just one part of one area. For instance, if you determine to tackle the bathroom, start with your tub. Scrub it until it is shining. A clean, fresh place to live enlivens your spirit and gives you a sense of deep satisfaction.
2. Stand up straight. Sounds silly but just walking with your head held high, as if you had all the confidence in the world, can “trick” your body into feeling good about you. Square your shoulders, imagine that your vertebrae are a string of beads and you want to keep them perfectly straight by pulling up on an imaginary string that comes from the top of your head. Posture dramatically influences breathing, mood and movement.
3. Eat something healthy – and refuse just one thing “bad.” Instead of chips, choose an apple. In lieu of chocolate, have a yogurt. Making just one switch can begin healthier habits, and in that first moment of choice, cause you to feel powerfully happier.
4. Finish a task. Just do it now. Do you have a pile of laundry that you never get around to folding? Dishes that you never seem to slip into the dishwasher? A long email you just have to read and respond to? Make a game of it! Set a timer for 10 or 15 minutes and see how much you can get done in the time allotted.
5. Tell someone something positive about themselves. Better yet, compliment 3 people. Pick 1 person you love, 1 person you suspect is sad or depressed, and 1 stranger. Give each person a sincere, from-the-heart compliment and then pause for a moment to listen to their response. Watch how your kind words affect them. Reflect on how giving yourself compliments instead of criticism might affect you.
6. Do something physical. You don’t have to join a gym to start taking care of your body. When we move our bodies, neuro-chemicals get released that change mood. All you have to do is get your heart rate to go up a little. Start with 10 Jumping Jacks. Move a little, mood increases a little. Move a lot, mood increases a lot.
7. Draw. Even if you can’t draw, get you kid’s box of crayons, some markers or even just a pen or pencil. Copy a pleasant scene, a famous painting, a fish, a flower, your child’s school picture. You can throw it away when you’re done if you want to, but something about the physical act of concentrating your eyes, brain and hands on drawing lets your body, mind and spirit take a break from feeling sad.
These 7 strategies will help you chip away at depression, PTSD, sadness and a general lack of vitality. Try ’em and you’ll see…you have the power to chip away at your negative state and move toward a positive one…starting today.