Try this experiment: if you catch yourself feeling stressed, zoom in on where that stressful feeling is occurring in your body.
Is it your chest? Your throat? Your face? Then focus on a different part of your body that feels more relaxed. (My feet work well for me.)
Then just shift your attention back and forth between the “stressed” part of your body and the “relaxed” part of your body.
Don’t try to make the “stress” go away—just move back and forth with your attention for a few seconds or minutes (however long you have).
I find this kind of amazing. Just a minute or so of shifting my attention back and forth like this will often loosen up the “stressed” feeling enough that I can feel more pleasure and enjoy what I’m doing much more.
Just moving your body is enough and it’s really easy to forget to do it.
That’s especially the case if we work at a desk, spend a lot of time driving, or have limited mobility in any way.
But taking a few minutes to move in a way that feels good can radically up your happiness quotient—no matter what’s going on.
I love to dance, and lately, I’ve been reminding myself that I don’t have to be at a class or a club to do it. I can put on a song I love, crank it up, and spend five minutes dancing my heart out in my living room. I always feel better afterward.
Same thing with taking a brisk walk.
Moving doesn’t have to mean going to the gym or taking a yoga class. Even standing up and jumping up and down, shaking things out, for 30 seconds right now, can energize you, move your cells around, and shift things inside so it’s easier to smile.
And an extra bonus: it revs up your circulation, so your cheeks flush and you get a little glow. Do that, and you’ll start seeing that external radiance reflected on your skin.