Sometimes getting yourself or another out of a rut can be as simple as changing how you think or doing something new. Next time you’re feeling in the dumps, or asked to care for another, think of these tips as easy and fun ways you can change direction and put a smile on an important face. So let’s get started:
1. Switch hands (yes, that’s what we said!)
Use your non-dominant hand to do daily tasks like brushing your teeth or clicking the computer mouse. This simple change promotes the growth of neurons in the brain, which can sharpen memory and thinking. “It’ll give your brain the regular workout it needs to stay healthy,” says life coach and Health columnist M. J. Ryan, author of AdaptAbility: How to Survive Change You Didn’t Ask For.
2. Engage your senses
Get dressed with your eyes closed! If you need to, lean on something, and if you’re a care-giver to someone else, provide a little support. A second trick is to try communicating only nonverbally (that’s right, no words) – at one meal – it’s better than charades, and really does work. By relying on different senses, you create more neurons in your brain and get more creative – and who doesn’t need more creativity – at any age?
3. Try something fresh
It doesn’t have to be anything big—a free class at a dance center, a new recipe. As you realize you can do this, your mind and attitude will lead you to even greater accomplishments. When you learn a new skill, your brain actually builds new circuitry. “Think of it as mental cross-training,” Ryan says.
4. Ask: What’s right about this?
“How you frame something can change everything,” Ryan says. Try to consider the sunny side of a situation rather than focusing on what’s wrong with it. So if it’s pouring rain, instead of stressing about getting drenched, think of the good it will do for your garden – try saying it out loud to yourself. The result: A more optimistic and inventive you who can take on just about anything.
Adapted by Personal Safety Nets® from “Simple Changes to Improve Your Mind, Mood, and Outlook” by Brittani Renaud, published in Health Magazine