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How to beat the winter blues

I’m a freelance writer residing in RI, with my four children and three dogs. I love walking the ocean shore, cranking the music loud and dancing around the house while no one is home.

8 Ways to beat the winter blues

It’s the time of the year when the days are shorter, and it feels like darkness reigns supreme. I don’t know about you, but I find my mood needs a boost more often than not. I’ve found a few ways to rid the blues, and now I’m sharing them with you.

Here's 8 mood boosters:

  1. A blue mood is always about something. Find out all about yours. Ask yourself thoughtful questions about when it started. Do you need to shed a tear or two? You'll feel better just taking a moment to examine how that mood took hold.

  2. Cut a lemon and inhale. Crank your music up and dance. Rub some soothing moisturizer into your hands. Look out the window like a photographer might and frame a shot. Shut your eyes and open your ears. What can you hear?

  3. When were you happiest? Explore your senses in your memory. Maybe you liked to play hide-and-seek with a crew of friends on hot summer nights, as sweat tickled your temples. Or, do you remember sprinting toward "home"? The feel of power in your legs and the smell of the woods mixed with sunblock. Flesh out that memory. Make it a touchstone for yourself. Come back to it whenever you want!

  4. Smile. It's the last thing you want to do, but you'll be sending happy signals to your brain and to others. Someone might smile back, and that's a sweet surprise that ups your happy quotient.

  5. Get a good night's sleep. With our busy lives, rest gets put on the back burner too often. Bad idea. The amount of rest we get is proportionate to how good we feel. When we are tired, our bodies rarely want to do anything else but sleep, let alone be happy. Start with going to bed an hour earlier — or at least 30 minutes. If you can clock seven to eight hours by the time you wake up, you will start your day in a better mood.

  6. Watch a comedy. Laughter is a great way to get happy. Comedies are a great starting point — they kick-start your happiness by triggering one of our physical responses to happiness: laughing. While you're slapping your knee, your brain is thinking, "Oh, we're feeling good." Yes, you are!

  7. Breathe deeply. When we're stressed, we take shallow breaths — in essence, limiting the flow of oxygen to our brains, which only makes us more stressed. Now is not the time to mess up your oxygen flow. Slow down. Breathe in for five to six counts and then exhale for five to six counts. Repeat. You will feel much better, and feeling better is a shortcut to happiness.

  8. I immediately express thanks for what is right in my life. For example, "I am thankful for my health, I am thankful for having a house to live in, I am thankful for having great friends." Now I’m focused on what is working well in my life.

These are some ways to boost your mood when you’re in a funk. Kick the bad mood to the curb today.

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