5 Scientific Tricks for Feeling Less Like Garbage
1. Force yourself to smile
Everybody knows that when people are happy, they smile, but can the reverse also be true? What about when you feel like a flaming trash-heap, and smiling feels like the last thing you would ever be capable of doing?
Well, studies have shown that MAKING yourself smile can actually cause a chemical reaction in your brain that releases the hormones dopamine and serotonin, which make you feel happier and less stressed. I know that seems incredibly stupid, but our BRAINS are also incredibly stupid, so it all adds up in the end.
2. Adopt a confident posture
Smiling to generate happiness isn't the only way that our brains work in exactly the opposite way we think they should; the same rules apply to our CONFIDENCE as well.
If you're anything like me, then odds are, at this exact moment, you aren't in what one would call a "power pose." You're probably slumped over, shoulders hunched, head down, slowly caving in on yourself like you're in a lifelong process of implosion. Now try this: straighten up, pull back your shoulders, raise your chin, maybe even put your hands on your hips like Superman. Feels better, right?
Studies have shown that just standing in a more confident manner actually MAKES you feel more confident and powerful. It tricks your brain into thinking the confident version of yourself is in charge now, and is ready to GET SHIT DONE. You may look like a giant dingus doing this, but who's gonna step to a person as confident as you? NO ONE, that's who.
3. Learn how to complain effectively
It's no surprise that complaining all the time can be a one-way ticket to Bummertown, Population: YOU and no one else because everyone is sick of listening to you. What MAY come as a surprise however, is that complaining EFFECTIVELY can have the exact opposite impact.
Effective complaining involves stating your problem in a way that invites solutions and change. If you complain to your friend about your slow internet for 2 hours, you're going to be even MORE pissed about your slow internet. If you complain to the CABLE COMPANY about your slow internet for two hours, and then they come fix your internet, you end up feeling more empowered and positive about your ability to create change in your life.
AND your internet is faster! Win-win!
4. Say positive things about yourself (even if you don't believe them)
This is another one of those weird brain chemistry things that seems like bullshit, but DOES work for some reason. Bear with me here: as it turns out, the things you say aloud actually impact the neural pathways in your brain, forming connections between your words and your feelings about yourself.
If you are constantly putting yourself down, your brain will start to believe that you DESERVE to feel bad. On the other hand, if you make a concerted effort to only say POSITIVE things about yourself, even if you don't actually think the things are true, your brain will eventually start to BELIEVE those things and will form new neural pathways in regards to your self-image.
Your words are literally fucking magic spells that shape your own personal reality to your whims. Our brains don't make any sense.
5. When in doubt, hug it out
If all else fails, just find yourself a buddy and give them a big ol' hug. Hugging someone does WAY MORE than just feel real nice for a minute. It causes the release of the chemical oxytocin, which promotes bonding between people, reduces stress, and even lowers blood pressure.
Some studies have shown that oxytocin can actually improve immune function and pain tolerance as well. ALL OF THIS FROM A HUG. What are you even waiting for? Go hug someone right now!