Top 10 Mood Lifters

Snap Yourself Out of a Bad Mood FAST!

How to Snap Out of a Bad Mood
Ever feel draggy? That’s my word for that feeling you get when you’re not physically sick, not exactly sad, and not remotely mad… you’re just kind of out of sorts. Like your normal, upbeat mood has BEEN beaten with a crowbar.

Bad moods happen to all of us every now and again – and usually we can’t put one single mopey finger on WHAT got us here, WHO did this to us, WHEN we’re going to feel normal again, HOW to snap out of it, or WHERE we can hide in the meantime.  All we know for sure is that, if our mood had a color, it’d be gray.

One of my daughters put her own spin on it once as she came through the kitchen.  I asked her how she was doing and she said, “I think my face has forgotten how to smile today.”  Draggy.

Whenever your face has forgotten how to smile, try one of the Ten Mood Lifters below.  These are 10 sure-fire ways to snap out of your bad mood fast. You’ll get an instant lift and – heck if you do them often enough, your face might just forget how to frown.

  1. Go outside.  A little fresh air, combined with natural sunlight is a sure-fire Pick-Me-Up.  Even if it’s smack in the middle of winter, bundle up and walk around your yard for about 10 minutes.  There’s something invigorating about the outdoors and it’s a quick cure for the droops.
  2. Take a stretching break. Stand up and stretch your hands toward the ceiling, then bend over and touch the floor.  Next, stretch slowly from side to side.  Repeat the entire cycle several times – breathing deeply the entire time.  It’ll refresh your mind and mood. Just be sure to take deep breaths – a lot of the feel-good power in stretching lies  in the breathing.
  3. Spend some time with a pet. There’s something profoundly peaceful and fun about petting a furry loved one. The love you give comes back and, let’s face it, it’s almost impossible to do anything but smile when you’re looking into an animal’s loving eyes.
  4. If possible, elevate your heart with a little exercise.  Aerobic activity is one of the best ways to slap a good mood on your psyche.  Take a walk, pick up sticks in your yard, or clean your house with gusto.  Get mooving and grooving.  If you do it with some really upbeat music, the effects will be even better. My favorite music to listen to when at times like this are 80’s and Motown – you just can’t stay draggy when Smokey Robinson’s Cruisn’. No way, no how.
  5. Recall a time when you couldn’t stop laughing.  It was probably a time when laughter was unacceptable, right?!  That usually seems to be the case.  In high school, my best friend, Randy, and I would break out into fits of laughter all the time.  Sometimes we’d be on the phone and there’d be no sound at all except laughter for 5 minutes.  When we thought we had it under control, one of us would fall victim to the giggles again, then the other would crack up.  I can still hear the sound of his laugh in my head and it still makes me smile. He’d love to make me laugh at the most ridiculous times – in the middle of class was his favorite opportunity.  He got me so bad once during a college lecture that I thought I’d pass out.  Actually, passing out would have been less embarrassing. My youngest daughter, Stephany, may have gotten my ticklebox at THE most inappropriate time, ever, though. When she was around 2, we were listening to a sermon… a long, long sermon mind you… at a church we didn’t normally visit.  She fell asleep halfway through the sermon. After about 30 minutes she sat up, and IN A FRIGHTFULLY quiet auditorium said, “He’s not through yet?!!”  One of her sisters (Brittany) fought giggles off with me – and about 40 other people –  but her other sister (Emily) looked more mortified than anyone has ever looked! When I need a good laugh, I think back to each of their three adorable faces at that moment.
  6.  Watch a favorite sitcom, stand-up routine or movie.  Laughter really is the best medicine, especially when it’s your mood that needs a remedy.  If you can’t get to a television, don’t underestimate YouTube.  Enter the name of a favorite old sitcom, comedian, or bloopers to a favorite show.
  7. Change things up!  If you’re able to, change what you’re wearing.  Brush your hair, brush your teeth, and even wash your face.  Your mind “gets” that you’re trying to start fresh and it welcomes the idea.  If you’re at work, straighten up your desk, readjust your clothes – maybe even untie and tie (or unbuckle and buckle) your shoes.  You know how you “refresh” a webpage if it hasn’t “loaded” properly?  Same premise.  Refresh and try again.
  8. Talk to someone who lifts your spirits.  All of us have at least one person who seems to make our life a better place just by being around. They always seem to know what to say and what not to say. Their attitude and humor act as a tonic.  If you’re feeling low, search them out – take them to lunch or out for coffee. Let them work their magic on you.
  9. Do something special for yourself. Whether it’s a trip to Starbucks or a bouquet of flowers (some days call for both), do something that’ll bring a smile to your face.
  10. Do something special for someone else.  I saved the best for last. When you bring a smile to someone else’s face, it’s impossible to feel anything but joy and happiness.  By the same token, making your cat purr or your dog wag its tail will also bring about great contentment.  When you create happiness for others, you create it for yourself as well.

~ Joi

Be of good cheer. Do not think of to-day’s failures, but of success that may come to-morrow. You have set yourselves a difficult task, but you will succeed if you persevere; and you will have a joy in overcoming obstacles–a delight in climbing rugged paths which you would perhaps never know if you did not sometimes slip backward, if the road were always smooth and pleasant. Remember, no effort that we make to attain something beautiful is ever lost. -Helen Keller.

Never be bullied into silence. Never allow yourself to be made a victim. Accept no one’s definition of your life; define yourself.  – Harvey Fierstein

Zeal: It takes Courage to Be Considered, at Times, too Zealous

What Do Charles Barkley, Dick Vitale, and Jillian Michaels Have in Common?

Quote About Zeal

“I takes courage to be considered at times as a little too zealous.” - F.D. Van Amburgh, The Mental Spark Plug, 1923

Years ago, my favorite NBA player was Charles Barkley.  I never missed a Phoenix Suns game when he played for them.  On court and off court, the man never failed to entertain me.  .  Sometimes he’d leave me shaking my head, sometimes he’d leave me nodding my head…. sometimes Sir Charles would leave me holding my head.  But make no mistake about it, Charles Barkley always left an impression.

Still does.

Even on a golf course, Charles Barkley cannot be ignored (it’s not pretty, but you can’t take your eyes off of his swing).

He has that something that I have always been drawn to – ZEAL.  Zealous people are people who live out loud.  They know what they want in and from life and they know what they’re passionate about.  They wear this passion on their sleeve and often wear a perplexed expression on their face – one that questions the rest of the world, “Why aren’t you getting this?!  Why aren’t you excited too?!?!

The quote at the top of the post is by a favorite author of mine from the Twenties (No, I wasn’t around then, wise guy!),  F.D. Van Amburgh.  When I came across the quote recently – while redoing the motivational quotes pages here on Self Help Daily, I couldn’t help wondering – what do you think Amburgh would have thought of Charles Barkley, Jillian Michaels, Oprah, Dick Vitale, Alton Brown, Lolo Jones, Toby Keith…. some of the most zealous people of our day?

I’ve read enough books by F.D. Van Amburgh to believe with all of my heart that he would have been just as drawn to them as I am.  I think he would have been completely smitten with the ladies.

The thing about zealous people is this: You will not always agree with them, but you’ll always know where they stand.  Zealous people wave zealous flags and they most certainly aren’t white flags.  When you just read the list of names, you probably reacted in one way or another to at least one of the names.  That’s because people with zeal stir emotions and sometimes anger.   I’m not condoning everything done or said in the name of zeal – far from it.

See, I think of zeal as a magic window into the heart of a person.  Through their zeal, the rest of the world gets to see exactly what makes them tick.  Zeal strips away facades, press spins, and photo-shopping.   The beauty of it is that zealous people is that… up to a point… they simply don’t care.  They have enough confidence and courage to ride the zeal train to the next station.

Whether or not I agree with everything they say or do, I give each one of them this:  They have guts – guts to be who they are and not conform to the person anyone else thinks they should be.  I also admire their passion.  Especially those who have passion for others:  Dick Vitale’s passion for young people touches me and I wish there were more like him.  Jillian Michael’s passion for people’s health and fitness is equally admirable.  I love that she cares so much that she is willing to yell, kick, and scream to get her point across.  I also thoroughly admire and appreciate Toby Keith’s dedication to our men and women serving overseas.  They’re willing to fight for our country and Toby’s willing to fight for them!  What’s not to love about that?

A lot of people don’t take a “live out loud” approach to life and that kind of makes me sad. Their own fears and doubts hold them back.  They think, “If only I were thinner…” or “If only I had more money…”  or “If only I were older….” or other ridiculous thoughts.  As our own zealous Charles Barkley once said, “If ifs were gifts, everyday would be Christmas!

Make no mistake about it, being zealous doesn’t mean you have to love or demand the center of the stage. The people I’ve highlighted in this post are definitely center stage individuals. If life were a play, they’d have lead roles and get 95 percent of the lines.   Zeal can come in somewhat quieter, more laid-back packages as well, you know.  Barack Obama, Angelina Jolie, Denzel Washington, Billy Graham, Diane Sawyer – no lack of zeal in these individuals whatsoever.

They just go about their work on a somewhat quieter scale.

Zeal doesn’t always scream, but it does always command attention.  On the other side of the coin, as Thomas Henry Huxley once said, “Zeal without knowledge is fire without light.” If you’re going to be zealous, make sure you know what you’re talking about and that it’s even worth saying or doing in the first place.

Take a gut check today.   Do you believe in yourself and your dreams enough to fight for them?  Are you willing to stand up and stand out to live your life on your own terms?  Or are you afraid what others will say or think?  If that’s the case, I hope you’ll come out of the shell you’ve built around yourself and step out into a whole new life.

Be bold!  Be confident!  Be strong!  Be you!

~ Joi

Don’t bunt. Aim out of the ballpark. – David Ogilvy

When Blessings Wear Ugly Disguises

Chickens, Morning Sickness, and Labor Pains

Chicken (The Homeplace LBL}

A grandfather was attempting to impress upon his grandchildren that things were not always as they appeared. “When I was your age,” he began, “my daddy raised a beautiful, large vegetable garden. We would sell the produce at a small roadside stand that we built ourselves.

My parents always bought their chickens from Willy Scott.

One day, while our family was working at the vegetable stand, Willy delivered chickens to our house in a crate and left them on our doorstep. When we returned home that evening we discovered the chickens had escaped and were running all over the yard. Each of us began chasing the chickens and putting them back in the crate. Dad was upset and decided to call Willy to express his unhappiness with the situation.

I can still remember Dad telling Willy he didn’t think it was a very good idea to leave the chickens in a crate unattended while we were gone. He told Willy how the family had to round-up chickens from all over the neighborhood and we were only able to find eleven. Then Willy shocked my dad.”

“Eleven chickens isn’t too bad,” exclaimed Willy, “I only delivered six!”

The story, above, is from one of my favorite books, “Speaker’s Sourcebook II: Quotes, Stories, & Anecdotes for Every Occasion,” by Glenn Van Ekeren. Can you imagine the look on the dad’s face? – I’m sure the scowl softened into a smile pretty fast. We’ve all been in his shoes before, right? Something will come along and we’re convinced that fate has kicked us harder than it’s ever kicked anyone. Then, just as we’re in the process of getting what my grandmother always referred to as “worked up,” we realize that fate didn’t kick us.

It kissed us.

Someone once said that opportunities are like roses – they often come with thorns on them. The same is true of blessings. They’re very fond of entering our lives in disguise…. just a little game they like to play.

Pregnancy and childbirth are a couple of great examples.  When I was pregnant with my first daughter (Emily), I thought I was smack in the middle of the most unpleasant experience in the world. Morning sickness? Ha! It was ALL DAY sickness and it didn’t last for the just  first 3 months, either. Nooo, my “morning sickness” lasted each of the nine months.

All day. Every day.

Top that off with incredible back pain, swollen aching feet, heartburn, and shortness of breath and I was one miserable “preggie.”

Then the labor pains came and I just KNEW I was in an inner circle of hell!  But as soon as they handed me this unbelievably beautiful little baby girl with the biggest, bluest eyes in the world – I knew my life would never be the same. I hadn’t been kicked by life, I’b been kissed by life with a little pink angel.

By the time beautiful number 2 (Brittany) and beautiful number 3 (Stephany) came along I knew that the horrors would be completely forgotten as soon as I held my baby in my arms.

Think back over your own life. Some of the best things that ever happened to you may have made an ugly entrance. Maybe they stumbled onto the platform, but rocked your world once they got to center stage. Sometimes it’s best to remember these things, so the next time something ugly comes our way we can ask, “What kind of beauty lies beneath this beast?”

Looking for the good in every bad is, from a self help standpoint, priceless.

Stay positive!
~ Joi

Spread Happiness, One Person at a Time

Beautiful Quote from Dale Carnegie

Dale Carnegie Quote About Happiness

“You have it easily in your power to increase the sum total of this world’s happiness now. How? By giving a few words of sincere appreciation to someone who is lonely or discouraged. Perhaps you will forget tomorrow the kind words you say today, but the recipient may cherish them over a lifetime.” - Dale Carnegie

Dale Carnegie’s beautiful words serve as a reminder to choose our words and use our words carefully. Words are powerful, powerful things and can impact people for a lifetime.

A lifetime!

Just as we can lift someone else with carefully spoken words, we can tear them down with carelessly spoken words.  I think only the worst sort of person in the world would actually want to tear someone down. More times than not, hateful, careless, and potentially damaging words come from speaking without thinking.

The next time you find yourself on the brink of speaking, ask yourself…

  • Is what I’m about to say necessary?
  • Is what I’m about to say kind?
  • Is what I’m about to say going to cause a smile?

Most importantly…

  • If my words stay with this person for the rest of their life, how will that make me feel?

The tongue’s small – but its effects are anything but,
~ Joi

Kind People are the Best Kind of People

If There Were Only More of Them

Quote about Kindness and Happiness
At the risk of getting a little preachy, whatever happened to good old-fashioned kindness? Sure, it still exists, but it’s getting harder and harder to find.

Just last night, alone (in the course of ONE single evening, mind you), I encountered the following “acts of anything but kindness” –

  • A guy on Twitter making jokes about domestic abuse – like it’s a laughing matter.
  • Girls calling other girls fat.
  • People making ugly (and I mean UGLY) comments about a celebrity… right on her Instagram, ensuring that she sees it.
  • Someone making fun of a newscaster with a speech impediment.
  • Countless people arguing back and forth over things that don’t amount to half a hill of beans – and lacing their arguments with endless insults and profanity.

Fortunately all of this ugliness was witnessed online and not in my own home.

Social media is, in many ways, a wonderful thing. However, in many ways it’s also one of the worst things that ever happened. People seem to think it’s their own personal platform to spread anger, meanness, and ugliness. After all, they’re able to do so without anyone looking them in the eye.

You want to talk about an athlete being “too short with no talent” – do it online.

You want to bash a particular celebrity – calling her fat, untalented, ugly, and “the worst mother in the world” – do it through social media and… by all means… mention her in a way she’s sure to see it.  After all, hurting someone is just so much fun, right?

Knocking them down makes you a bigger person, doesn’t it?

Oooh, and what if someone in their family sees your hate-filled words and you’re able to hurt them as well?! Bonus points?

Okay. I’m getting preachy.  I’m fully aware that one animal-loving, chocoholic, baseball-obsessed blogger in Kentucky isn’t going to be able to change things. Some days I don’t have the power to open a jar of pickles, I certainly don’t have the power to make the world a kinder place.

BUT if enough people set their mind to at least make a difference in their own little corner of the world…. Then they might be able to inspire other people to also try to make a difference… and so on and so on..

Who knows? Maybe one day people will approach their daily lives – as well as Social Media – with the mindset of reaching out and touching others with kindness rather than cruelty.  Maybe they’ll think, “Who might need a lift right now?” instead of “Who can I take down a few notches?”

I don’t know if such a world is possible, this side of Heaven, but it sure is cool to think about.

You can never be too kind!
~ Joi

Also See: You Never Know What a Few Kind Words Will Do

“Worry is a thin stream of fear that trickles through the mind, which, if encouraged, will cut a channel so wide that all other thoughts will be drained out.” – Author Unknown

How Can You Overcome the Winter Blues?!?!

Tracks in the Snow Feb 3 2013

A while back, I wrote an article Three Simple Ways to Beat the Winter Blues. Since it’s that time of year again, I thought I’d link to it once more.

I’ve already heard from a few people who are beginning to experience the winter doldrums or blues.  One woman told me, “It happens every year. I’ve gotten to where I expect the blues each November.”

Excuse the pun, but that’s depressing.

First of all, the obvious – if you’re “expecting” something, chances are it’s going to materialize. If you’ve experienced winter blues for any length of time, don’t you think it’s time to break the cycle?!

Like anything in life, winter is what you make it.  It’s either a beautiful, peaceful time of year or it’s something so miserable you just have to muddle through best you can – the decision, to a large degree, is made in your own mind.

Ten Quick Things to Love About Winter:

  • College Basketball
  • Christmas Eve
  • Christmas Day
  • Hot Chocolate
  • Chili that’s cooked all day
  • Quiet, snowy mornings when you can almost hear your own breath.
  • Animal footprints in the snow
  • NFL
  • College Football
  • Grabbing a Chai Tea Latte at Starbucks – as in each time you leave the house.
  • Jigsaw Puzzles
  • The lawnmower gets a much needed break.
  • No. Flies.
  • No. Gnats.
  • Big Comfy Sweaters
  • Thanksgiving
  • Pumpkin Pie
  • Tinsel
  • NBA
  • Hot soup
  • Boiled Custard
  • Egg Nog
  • Catching snowflakes on your tongue
  • NHL
  • Christmas cookies
  • Christmas Lights
  • Peppermint Scented Candles
  • Evergreen Scented Candles
  • Christmas songs
  • Flannel Pajamas
  • Your favorite mittens or gloves
  • Snowmen
  • Glamorous white scarves!
  • Boots
  • Hoodies
  • Seeing your breath.
  • Drawing faces on steamed up windows (of course I do)
  • Icicles
  • Peanuts Christmas Special
  • The sound of snow and ice under your feet
  • New Year’s Resolutions
  • Warm robes
  • Black-Eyed Peas on New Year’s Day
  • Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

What? That’s more than 10? Well, that’s the idea! Once you start looking for the “good” in a situation, not only will you find it… you’ll find more than you bargained for.

Click through and read Three Simple Ways to Beat the Winter Blues for a few tips on dealing with the winter blues.

How about you? What are things about winter that you love? Share your “frosty favorites” in the comments!

Still need a little Winter Motivation? Check out one of my favorite Pinterest Boards: Things I Love About Winter. The sound you hear will be your winter blues packing up and moving. Good riddance!

Embrace the season – it’s honestly beautiful!
~ Joi