U is for uplifting
Updated: Sep 10, 2021
What does uplifting mean?
If something is uplifting, the dictionary describes it as morally or spiritually elevating; inspiring happiness or hope. There are a myriad of simple every day things that we can incorporate into our lives to uplift ourselves and keep our momentum in a positive upward spiral.
What does it mean to feel uplifted?
If something makes you feel uplifted, it makes you feel encouraged, energised, happy and inspired. It isn’t realistic to expect to feel happy every moment of every day. As we head into the Winter season, with its colder weather and reduced sunshine (with the added factor of current continued uncertainty), our moods can be adversely affected so it is extremely important to find ways of supporting and uplifting ourselves.
How can I feel uplifted?
“Believe you can and you’re halfway there”. Theodore Roosevelt
We cannot feel uplifted if our attention is directed towards negative things. Instead we should focus on edifying, instructive, informative, positive things to improve our thoughts and uplift our mood. Our thoughts determine our emotions and our actions. The company we keep can also have a direct effect on our mood; people can leave us feeling uplifted or drained.
Practical to ways feel uplifted (in rough alphabetical order)
“In essence, if we want to direct our lives, we must take control of our consistent actions. It’s not what we do once in a while that shapes our lives, but what we do consistently.” Tony Robbins
Use affirmations to counteract negative trains of thought or negative self-talk
Breath is an important part of your connection with life itself. By consciously making the time to breathe deeply and exhale slowly, to fill our whole body it can help relax our mind and body.
“Studies have shown that even mild exercise, about 40% of your max heart rate, can lift your mood” (Jack Raglin) this means you only need a short, brisk walk to experience uplifting effects on your mood. If you can combine this with time spent in nature, so much the better
We need to monitor what comes into our mind as it will affect our thoughts and emotions. If we think about the books we read, films/TV we watch, the social media we view etc. it is useful to ask whether they leave us feeling uplifted and inspired or the depressed and drained? We should learn to help ourselves by focusing on the good, informative and inspiring rather than listen to, read or watch negative, depressing or unproductive things.
Focus on gratitude. Martin Seligman, founder of Positive Psychology, suggests that if you make time at the end of the day to reflect on three things that have gone well and replay them over in your mind, considering how they made you feel etc then this tactic can prove successful in uplifting your mood.
Inspiration comes by looking at positive role models; particularly those people that have overcome adversity.
Setting small achievable goals e.g. using the Kaizen method can bring positive benefits. As you achieve each goal then your mood is likely to be lifted.
Listening to your favourite upbeat music can help to lift your spirits quickly.
“Most of us, swimming against the tides of trouble the world knows nothing about, need only a bit of praise or encouragement – and we will make the goal.” Jerome Fleishman
The Key to being uplifted is to uplift others. Having a positive interaction with someone will not only uplift the other person but will uplift you too. Look for ways to lift others up by performing acts of kindness etc and in so doing you will also get a boost.
Immersing yourself in nature can be restorative. You can change the way you feel simply by changing the environment you are in. It has been scientifically proved that being outside can improve memory, fight depression, and lower blood pressure (See business insider link below). Exposure to sunlight is thought to increase the brain's release of the hormone serotonin which is associated with boosting mood.
Our sense of smell plays an important role in the physiological effects of mood, stress, and working capacity. Certain scents can affect you positively and help to uplift you e.g. lemon, basil juniper and lavender. There is lots of interesting research on the subject.
Surround yourself with positive and inspiring things. Simplify and de-clutter the environment that you spend time in and add positive factors e.g. by adding beautiful things ...flowers, artwork, treasured objects that bring joy etc
“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.” Leo Buscaglia
Seek to build connections with positive people. It makes sense that the habits, attitudes and behaviours of the people you spend the most time with can rub off on you, so it is important that you spend time with people that will make you feel good and lift you up. If you can’t see people you can always still maintain connections by picking up the phone or via emails, SMSs, texts, etc
“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” John Rohn
Laughter and smiling release endorphins, the “happy hormones” produced in the brain that are widely regarded as nature’s cure for feeling down. According to a recent study published in the journal ‘Experimental Psychology’ researchers found smiling, even a fake smile, can have a positive impact on our mood. Certain facial muscles are triggered by smiling and they can trick your brain into thinking you're happy. Watching comedies could therefore help release your endorphins and lift your mood.
My final immediate thought is on posture. Studies show that posture can also have an impact on your sense of well-being. If we sit up straight as opposed to being slouched it sends a different message to our brains (see science daily link below for a more detailed explanation)
“What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us”. Ralph Waldo Emerson
Some questions to think about/or discuss below:
What encourages you?
What makes you happy?
What energises you?
What makes you inspired?
What activities do you do to uplift your mood when you are feeling down?
If you want to find out more on this subject, here are a few links to get you started: