How to Change How You Feel Right Now: 5 Simple Tips

by Henrik Edberg


Image by: http://www.flickr.com/photos/fabiovenni/ / CC BY-SA 2.0

“Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson

”Life is a great and wondrous mystery, and the only thing we know that we have for sure is what is right here right now. Don’t miss it.”
Leo Buscaglia

Some days you fall into a negative funk. You don’t feel like doing anything much and are just going through the motions. Or you don’t seem to get anything done.

Maybe today is such a day for you. If so, remember that the day isn’t over yet. You can still make something good out of it. And you can do so by changing your mental and emotional state.

Here are five of my favourite ways for doing just that in a matter of minutes.

1. Appreciate away.

A very effective way to become a more positive person and to enjoy your life more is simply to develop a habit of appreciating more.

If you want a few suggestions, here are a few of the things that I like to appreciate:

  • My food.
  • The weather and sunshine we are having today.
  • My health.
  • Friends and family.
  • This blog and the opportunity to write about what I want.
  • You, the reader.

The funny thing is that if you just start appreciating something you can very quickly start jumping around with your attention and appreciate just about anything around you. You may start with the food you are eating right now. Then move your attention to the phone and appreciate that you can contact anyone – and be contacted by anyone – you’d like. You might then move your attention outside, through the window and see the wonderful sunshine, then the kids having fun with a football and then a really attractive person walking by. And so on.

Try doing that for two or three minutes. Try to come up with all the things in yourself and your world that you can appreciate. Move your attention around from appreciation-point to appreciation-point like when you are jumping from stone to stone while crossing a stream.

2. Change your physiology.

If you change how you move and use your body your mood will change. If you for instance want to feel happier, force a smile for about 60 seconds. You’ll feel happier. If you want to feel confident stand up and walk around for few minutes in a confident way. You’ll feel more confident.

One key to better use of this technique is to focus on your body and changing your movements but to then turn the focus outward, into the world around you. Doing so has given me more dependable and consistent results than when I focused inward.
If you focus outward you don’t become that self-conscious. If you on the other hand keep your focus inward – on what you are doing – while you are moving around with a changed physiology you become self-conscious. And that self-analyzing and nervous self-consciousness counteracts much of the positive emotional effect that you can create by changing how you move and use your body.

3. Act as you’d like to feel.

If you want to feel more positive then ask yourself: what would a very positive person do in this situation? Do that and then you’ll feel positive.

Make a call or answer the phone in a positive way. Write an email in a positive and enthusiastic manner. Instead of thinking that a situation will probably be boring and not so beneficial think of it as something that will be exciting, fun and useful.

This is about doing things a bit backward. Just like when you change your physiology. Instead of being a positive person/having a positive mood for the day and therefore acting in a positive way when something happens you flip it around. You start by acting as you would in a situation if you were in a positive mood. And then you’ll create a positive mood and positive consequences in the world around you and within yourself.

4. Ask the right questions.

If you are asking yourself disempowering questions like: “Why did this happen to me? “, “How can get out of doing this?” and “What are all the awful things about this?” then of course you are going to feel lousy and get very little done.

If you on the other hand start asking yourself useful questions about the situation you are in or the day you are having then you can quickly change how you feel and get yourself into action mode. You become empowered instead of getting stuck in victim thinking.

A few good questions are:

“What is awesome about this situation?”
“Will this matter 5 years from now?”
“What is the opportunity hidden within this situation?”

5. Recall your positive experiences and memories.

It’s easy to be overcome by negative internal chatter.

Nonsense like: “I can’t do this, what if they think I’m incompetent, I’m gonna fail, I’m gonna fail and this why did I take this shirt, it’s so ugly”. And so on.

When preparing for a meeting, a job interview, a presentation or anything that makes you really nervous recall your positive memories from similar experiences. Think back to when you were funny and charming. Remember the times when you were confident and relaxed during previous meetings and interviews. Let a few of your best memories wash over you. Let them comfort you and help you realize that you have been here before and things went well during those situations in the past.

Doing so helps you remember the positive and wonderful sides of yourself. The qualities and your inner possibilities that are always there.

You can also use this tip to remember how you felt when you felt confident in the past. How you moved, what you said. Then use those memories of actions and emotions to more easily slip into a confident state of mind by using tip #2 above.

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{ 24 comments }

Dayne | TheHappySelf.com September 29, 2009 at 5:16 pm

I think this is a fantastic post. Without a doubt appreciation and gratitude combined with actually acting the way we feel are spot on.

Excellent post!

Dayne :)

Positively Present September 29, 2009 at 5:23 pm

Amazing tips for changing how you feel right now. I cannot even tell you how ideal this post is for me right now. I was just getting myself into a terrible funk but not anymore. These tips have REALLY helped me out. Thanks so much!!

Armen Shirvanian September 29, 2009 at 6:46 pm

Hey Henrik.

That one in the “ask the right questions” section about asking if something will matter 5 years from now always gets us if we forget it. I thought about it for one thing and the answer “not really” came quickly. The changing physiology one is great for when we need to switch up our mood because it is stuck. Getting up and pacing when trying to come up with a thought might get a thought going in one minute as opposed to sitting down while trying.

The point about acting the way we want to feel reminds us when we are acting the wrong way in comparison to how we see ourselves in the future. An aspiring businessman could do well to wear business clothing, even when at a bookstore, or on the computer, in order to feel part of the feeling they desire to have regularly later.

CC September 29, 2009 at 7:19 pm

WOW, this post is so great I had to comment (been reading your blog for the past few months).

I have to say that in point #3, you totally nailed it :
Make a call or answer the phone in a positive way. Write an email in a positive and enthusiastic manner. Instead of thinking that a situation will probably be boring and not so beneficial think of it as something that will be exciting, fun and useful.

This works SO MUCH! Applied it today :)

Business Communication September 29, 2009 at 7:36 pm

Because we sure do not feel any better after grumbling, complaining or indulging any thoughts of personal failure. Even holding a smile for a couple of seconds can have extraordinary psychosomatic effects on one’s health.

Sherry September 29, 2009 at 7:44 pm

I definitely agree with all of the above ideas for how to improve your mood. These are especially helpful comments for those who are job-seeking now as well. As a resume writer and interview consultant, I know the market has changed and job seekers are feeling more nervous and worried than ever before. Articles like this are an excellent resource to read and refer to again later. Great job! I would also add that sometimes just going to YouTube and finding funny videos is helpful-especially ones that have cute little babies or animals in them. Give it a try!

Sultan September 30, 2009 at 12:02 am

Fantastic ideas!
I really like the quality of your writing , very organized.

Gordie Rogers September 30, 2009 at 1:28 am

Brilliant post Henrik.
I think we don’t appreciate enough. We forget to live in the moment. Appreciation is such a cool and simple thing to do as well and would have all kinds of psychological and even physiological benefits.

Zakir Ali Rajnish September 30, 2009 at 2:24 pm
Tristan Lee September 30, 2009 at 7:40 pm

Hey Henrik, nice post!

Sometimes we do get those days when we feel like we are in a slump, but like you say, the day isn’t over and we can always change our mental and emotional state to give us the energy we need to fuel our actions. Thanks for sharing with us those tips!

Josten October 1, 2009 at 6:36 am

Very very nice and simple tips to change how we feel.

Paul Norwine October 1, 2009 at 6:42 pm

Hi Henrick,

All great tips but have to say #2 and #3 are the two I use most to “snap out of it.” I also try and “celebrate the small successes” like they were a big deal. Always helps move me forward.

Also, couldn’t help but notice that most of the bullet points you mention in this post are tenets that Anthony Robbins uses frequently. I’m sure you’ve seen this video before but if you haven’t it’s a great video and touches on a couple of things you mention here in this post:

http://www.tonyrobbins.com/video/interview.html

Thanks for the great post…

Paul

Mike October 1, 2009 at 6:44 pm

Hey,

I really enjoy your articles – straight to the point A – class stuff :) keep up the good work.

Since I really enjoy your work, I posted your article as the first article on http://www.optimistlist.com, which is meant to become a hub for achievers (similar to digg.com but only with success related content)

All the best,
Mike

Ninette October 2, 2009 at 12:48 am

What a great post. And how true and simple your tips are. Awesome job!

Lisa October 2, 2009 at 1:17 pm

Change is easy, isn’t it – but it sure isn’t always simple.

Srinivas Rao October 2, 2009 at 3:17 pm

Great ideas. I think that if we all kept this list handy at our desks the world would be a better place. I know all of these things consciously, but I don’t always remember them. Changing physiology is simple, but most people don’t do it or forget about it. I also think appreciation is another great one.

Henrik Edberg October 2, 2009 at 3:36 pm

Thanks for all the comments, tips and insights, guys! :)

snake charmer October 4, 2009 at 7:44 am

Very cool post. I’ve been looking for something to pull me up out of the funk and all of this was very helpful :)

Nea | Self Improvement Saga October 7, 2009 at 9:40 pm

Great post. Appreciating always works well for me. If you’ll just look for one thing in your life that feels good to think about and give it your primary attention–it can help to change your entire mood.

Nan October 8, 2009 at 12:09 am

Love the new photo! You have a nice smile!

Aaron Wyssmann October 8, 2009 at 4:46 pm

This is a killer post. I love #1!
I’m in general a very optimistic person but sometimes when I wake up I just have this negative funk going on in my head. What I’ve found that works so well is sit down for a minute and write out what it is that I’m grateful for.
It reminds me of an old movie that I grew up watching during the Holidays called “Holiday Inn.” It is a great movie with Bing Crosby as one of the leads and he sings this song halfway through that is all about, “I’ve got something to be thankful for…”.
It works every time for me. I get those awesome thoughts flowing out about what I’m thankful for and I’m good as new.

Thanks for sharing some other great ideas as well. I’ll for sure be back!

BatikNovita.com October 12, 2009 at 8:47 pm

Thank for all your post. That’s inspiring me enjoying my life. :D

satie yang October 13, 2009 at 4:29 am

great post !
I’m a chinese student ,I’m learing English.thank for all you article.

Merly February 9, 2010 at 6:07 am

Love this post. Thanks! A + work :)

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