Mindfulness is not an isolated practice. Throughout the day, applying mindfulness to activities brings us into the present moment and creates a state of calm within us. Every day activities for improving mood can be enhanced with a mindfulness practice.

 

Mindfully interact with an animal

Animals of all different types are certified to act as therapeutic healers. Ducks, dogs, cats, and pigs have made headline news when they visit hospitals, retirement homes, and other places to brighten the moods of the people there. Having a mindful interaction with an animal can increase serotonin and dopamine production. Physical contact encourages the production of a hormone called oxytocin, often called the love hormone. If you can pet a dog, play with a pet, or even stop by a local pet store to look at some animals, you will benefit. Mindfully pay attention to the way animals respond to physical affection with eagerness. Notice if there are animals which are shy, afraid, or aggressive when it comes to touch. Pay attention to their behaviors. Is there any resonance with the way you might respond to others sometimes? You can use your senses to engage mindfully as well. Smell the smell of the animal, feel the distinct texture of their skin or coat, look at the colors and the way the animal moves, listen to the small noises the animal makes.

 

Mindfully interact with other people

Interacting with people isn’t always a source of mood-boosting relaxation or mindfulness. People are fiercely independent and in their own worlds. Bridging the gap between your world and the world of another person boosts your mood by reminding you that you aren’t alone in your struggles. Being of service, having a conversation, volunteering your time, holding the door open, intentionally saying please and thank you- all contribute to interaction with people. Apply mindfulness by becoming more aware of the people around you and the people you are interacting with. Listen fully to what they are saying. Pay attention to their mannerisms and the meaning of what they talk about. Notice when you feel a need to be distracted, look, or pull away. Work through those urges and become more present in the moment.

 

Mindfully interact with your body

Exercise is proven to have numerous benefits for mood. Endorphins, for example, are feel-good chemicals produced in the brain during exercise. Considered an evidence-based practice, exercise in all of its forms for just 20 minutes a day improves mood, reduces inflammation, reduces stress, and symptoms of depression, anxiety, as well as cravings. Mindful exercise can bring an extra element to the practice. Pay attention to the way your body moves and how the exercise feels. Notice where your head goes during your movements. Become aware of your breath and how it harmonizes with every part of your exercise routine.

 

Mindfully interact with creative expression

Art, music, journaling, drama, dance, singing- forms of creative expression improve mood. Singing creates energetic vibrations. Writing is proven to reduce stress. Art can create a meditative state. Engage in an expression of the creative arts and mindfully notice how the expression connects you to yourself in every way.

 

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