How to improve your mood

We all need to celebrate every once in a while. Sometimes it’s a big celebration, like the graduation I mentioned in my last post. Other times it a smaller victory like watching my seven-year-old daughter cross the ice without help and without falling on her first day of skating lessons. Each milestone has its significance to the person who achieves it.  They also need someone to celebrate with them, if only as a witness to their progress.

Today I hit a milestone in my world. I was finally able to fit into a size of pants that I thought I would never see again. In fact, the last time I remember wearing this size was when I was pregnant with my first child. On a whim, my older daughter (that first child) and I stepped into a clothing store so I could try on the pants. I held my breath, expecting to have to suck in some part of my body. I didn’t, and I was momentarily in shock. They fit perfectly! Another customer in an adjacent fitting room heard my joyful sounds and shared my celebration with me. I never met her, but it didn’t matter. She witnessed my victory as surely as though she were my best friend.

When I’m feeling low, I look for someone else’s victories to celebrate. Why? It goes under the fake-it-till-you-make-it philosophy. If I join in their celebration, I can alleviate some of my momentary sadness or low. Their joy feeds my soul, and for that precious few moments I’m happy again. The other person gets to celebrate their victory, I get to feel good– everyone wins.  Maybe it sounds Pollyanna-like, but I don’t care. I have enough times that I’m in a foul mood and not much helps. Those are days when it’s best to give me my distance and let me sort through the discomfort.

I also have a theory that joy leads to more joy. I often smile when I turn a corner or enter a room, and it never fails: someone who was previously frowning returns the smile. The energy in the entire area changes, and joy sprouts. The reason for the smile doesn’t really matter. The warmth and joy that spreads like eddies in a pool is what’s important.

Who or what have you celebrated today? Could you find one good thing? Perhaps the rain, the crystal blue sky, or a loved-one’s laughter? How about that you have another day that ends in “y” to add to your life?

Go find your smile and dust it off. Then flash it to a stranger and see what happens.

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