Despite last week’s mild temperatures and sunshine, I’m battling the February blues in a bad way. This is quite common in Chicago, especially when day after day after day the sky is filled with clouds. Spring can’t come soon enough. I noticed I was feeling blah a few days ago and realized I had felt this way for at least three weeks. The blizzard did me in. I decided I needed to turn my frown upside down. Ironically, the best thing to do when feeling blah is to smile. Yep, it’s an immediate mood booster. When you smile, happy endorphins are released in the brain making you feel, well, happier. Go ahead. Try it. It feels good, right?
In the book, Eat Pray Love, Elizabeth Gilbert meets a medicine man in Bali. He tells her to do a smile meditation everyday. He goes as far as to suggest she smile all the way down to her liver. It may sound silly but I found myself one morning sitting on my yoga mat after my asana practice. I was sitting cross-legged, eyes closed, connecting with my breath and smiling. It really did make me feel good. You don’t even need to practice yoga to do it. One of my favorite places to smile is while driving. It beats road rage. It seems that these little snippets of happiness stay with me longer the more I smile.
Of course, there are other ways to fight the Winter blues including:
- Regular exercise (Get off the couch and move your body!)
- Eat right (Whole foods)
- Vitamin D (Preferably from sunshine but a supplement is better than nothing.)
- Vitamin B-12 for energy
- Sing and/or dance (Try it in the morning before work and see if it doesn’t cheer you up.)
- Light therapy
- Move somewhere sunny (I wish!)
What I love about smiling is that it ‘s free and can be done anywhere. The added bonus is that it may cheer someone else up too. For extra credit, how about sharing a smile with a loved one or a stranger today. Just because everyone else is grumpy doesn’t mean you have to be.
How do you stay happy in Winter? Share your tips by commenting below.