Can you believe that by moving your body in certain ways you can change your mood from downbeat to upbeat? Try these moves when you next need a mood boost and it’ll help you become more body positive.
LIKE A WONDER WOMAN
A ‘high power’ pose for just two minutes can increase levels of testosterone (in males and females) by 20 percent and decrease levels of cortisol (a stress hormone) by 25 percent. High levels of testosterone lead to increased confidence and low levels of cortisol mean less anxiety. Stand with your hands on your hips, legs astride with your chest forward for two minutes at the start of the day or when you need a boost.
A PENCIL BETWEEN YOUR TEETH
This manipulates your face into mimicking a smile can help lower stress levels. Holding chopsticks between teeth in different ways and perform stressful tasks. The heart rates of those who ‘smiles’ may recover more quickly than the straightfaced.
BUST A FIVE-MINUTE DANCE MOVE
Next time you need a mood boost try strutting your stuff. Sit and listen to the music, to cycle on an exercise bike or to simply dance. It can improve your mood and you can be better able to solve problems.
STICK OUT YOUR TONGUE
Many of us hold stress in our jaw — when we’re anxious we clench our teeth and this makes us feel tenser and gives us headaches. The loosen your jaw and ease anxiety. Sit and place your hands with fingers outstretched on your knees. Inhale through the nose and, on the exhale, stick out your tongue, pointing it to your chin, and raise your gaze up. Repeat five times.
People who are kind to themselves are much less likely to be depressed and more likely to be happy. When you’re upset, give yourself a hug and see how much it helps. Physical contact triggers the release of oxytocin, reduces cortisol and calms cardiovascular stress. Your body responds to the physical gesture of warmth and care. If other people are around, fold your arms in a non-obvious way.
PULL YOUR SHOULDERS BACK
According to posture experts and cognitive scientists, not only does our mind influence how we hold our body, but how we hold our bodies also influences our mind and moods. Try pulling your shoulders back to remind yourself what ‘good’ and ‘happy’ posture feels like.
Using an old tie or dressing gown belt, hold it overhead with your hands wide apart. Drop your hands forwards so the belt is in front of your chest, then lift it so it is behind your head. Repeat four times. Then, remaining standing, raise your belt or tie with your hands wide. Bend your arms until they form a 90-degree angle and draw your elbows back.
NOD YOUR HEAD
If you’re doubting yourself, just nod your head. If we shake our head ‘no’ while saying a statement, we don’t believe what we are saying. Yet, if we nod our heads ‘yes’ we gain confidence in our thoughts — and in ourselves.
SIT UP STRAIGHT
Sitting with a straight back can make you feel more upbeat. Researchers asked people to either sit up straight or slouch at a desk and write three positive and three negative personal qualities relating to how well qualified they were for a job. The people who slouched were less likely to believe positive things about themselves than the others who were posture perfect.
WALK ‘HAPPY ’
You could banish a gloomy mood by imitating a happy walk. Changing walking styles on a treadmill to try to move a bar in one direction or another on a screen. Walking in a ‘happy’ way made the bar move one way and walking ‘depressed’ moved it the other. The ‘happy walkers’ remembered more positive words they were given than those who walked in a downbeat way.
Using your breath as you laugh is an aerobic exercise, increasing oxygen in the blood and releasing endorphins. And your body can’t tell the difference between real and fake laughter. Find your favourite laughter sound and real laughter usually follows.