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Alyssa Winn

Staff Writer

Everyone in the world, no matter what, has one goal: to be happy. Some achieve happiness, and some don’t, but everyone has the ability to be happy — it’s up to them to control it. One thing a lot of people need to realize is that just because they aren’t happy 24/7, doesn’t mean they’re unhappy people. Everyone needs to feel down sometimes. There is a misconception that people need to be constantly doing extraordinary things and have lots of friends in order to be happy, which isn’t true at all. Something as small as cleaning your room, petting a dog, smiling at a stranger, and similar small acts of kindness can help improve mood.

Here are a few simple things that can help you in your life and improve you overall mood!  

1.) Smile!

This is the easiest of all: smile. It has been scientifically proven by psychologist Paul Ekman that you can be happier by smiling. Ekman found out that a full smile involving facial muscles made a change in brain activity that produced a happier mood. A study was published in Psychological Science by Kansas researchers Tara Kraft and Sarah Pressman surrounding whether or not faking a smile can improve your mood. The answer? It can! Kraft and Pressman had multiple “everyday people” participate in their study, and the subjects had to hold their mouth in a smile with chopsticks while completing jobs. The subjects who held their smiles while doing stressful tasks had lower heart rates opposed to who were not smiling. Fake smiling can actually trick your brain into actually being happy! Often times, actors who perform upsetting scenes will force a smile after to pull themselves out of that dark place. Next time you feel upset, try smiling.

2.) Exercise and Eat Healthy

Dr. Jeremy Sibold, a professor at the University of Vermont, conducted a study to observe the changes in mood during physical activity. He found that moderate exercise can help improve your mood, and it can even last for 12 hours. After a workout, you naturally feel stronger and proud of yourself. Experts believe that the mood changes are partly due to a rise in levels of mood-enhancing neurotransmitters, such as endorphins, in the brain. Working out will make your body and mind feel better — you’ll feel stronger, happier, and healthier. Working out can be as simple as taking a walk around your neighborhood, going to the gym, taking a yoga/dance class, joining a sports team, or making up a personal workout routine for yourself. Make sure you don’t push yourself too hard and know your limits.

3.) Removing Toxic People From Your Life

The definition of “toxic” is poisonous. You might think of a chemical or something contaminated, but people can be toxic as well. The people you choose to surround yourself with can either bring up your mood or ruin it. A “toxic” person might do things like put you down, never congratulate you, minimize exciting things you’ve done, never apologize, make you feel bad about yourself, or just not respect you. These people — or maybe one person — could be a friend, teammate, coach, teacher, boyfriend/girlfriend, etc.

It’s been proven that if the people you choose to surround yourself with encourage, respect, and are nice to you, then you can be happier. Surrounding yourself with good people can help boost your confidence and mood.

4.) Clean Your Room

Yes, cleaning your room is extremely boring, but what’s better than coming home from a long day and going into a fresh and clean room? Studies have shown people who are always in a mess are more prone to being anxious, stressed, and less organized. Having a clean and organized room can actually help you be more organized, more motivated, and a little happier. Clear off your desk, make your bed, pick up the mess on the ground, or organize your closet. Make it easier for yourself to find clothes or objects, and to not have the stress of constantly misplacing things. Clutter around you will make you more stressed and give you a feeling of something incomplete. Have a clear space to do your homework, and neatly fold your clothes for an easier time in the mornings.

5.) Listen to Music

Make a playlist of your favorite songs. I’m really emphasizing on your favorite songs, not others. Listen to the music you enjoy and make you feel happy! Try to avoid sad songs, but maybe a few uplifting happy songs. You can make playlists on iTunes, Spotify, YouTube, or anywhere else online. Listen to music when you feel sad or when you’re happy, music gets you out of your head and gives you something to enjoy.

6.) Help Others

You never know what someone is going through. Being kind to someone, packing an extra snack in case someone forgot theirs, reminding your friends that you’re there for them, volunteering for people/animals in need, etc. can help brighten someone else’s day. There are so many things you can do to give back, and if you give out positivity, positivity will come back to you. Putting out “bad vibes” will only push others away and make you unhappy.

7.) Always Remember That Things Get Better

As cliché as it sounds, things do get better. Whatever obstacle you’re facing will soon be over, or the pain of it will die down. That party you weren’t invited to, the breakup you had with your two-week “love of your life,” the test you failed, the look a girl in the cafeteria gave you — these aren’t major traumas. Small events shouldn’t leave you feeling sad but should give you a different perspective. Maybe that person you thought was your friend isn’t, or you could’ve studied a little longer, or set reminders on your phone. Try to learn from experiences instead of feeling upset. Changes can always be made and there are always new opportunities coming your way!

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