Don’t underestimate the power that comes in small packages, and in this case, I’m talking about tea. There is a wide variety of teas to try out there, and each blend can offer various benefits. There are a few practices with tea that should be taken into consideration though, such as steeping time and water temperature. Factors such as these will affect potency as well as flavor.

So what types of teas can boost your mood towards positivity? That will really depend on personal preference, although some herbs are known to have mood enhancing properties. You should just find a flavor or a scent that you enjoy the most, and experiment a little. In the end, the drink you choose should be something you really like.

I love sweet drinks, and having a sweet tea is no exception. I also keep track of how much sugar I use. Enter liquorice root and the stevia plant. These are natural additions to tea that add sweetness to get that low sugar tea drink. The licorice root has a mild flavor as does the stevia plant. Both can be used in their natural forms as additions to your favorite teas

Mesh Ball Tea Steeper

Mesh Ball Tea Steeper

You can do teas in two ways. One way is in the bag and the other is in a tea steeper. The bag is the most convenient method, but does not allow for alteration. If you want to experiment with a mix of flavors then the tea steeper is the way to go. I like to use a simple metal tea steeper that acts as a bag. This provides the ability to control the strength of the tea as well as the complexity of the flavor that I want.

Do you ever use tea as a way to lift your mood or wind down after a hard day?

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Extraordinary Reading

A great way to support a good mood is to read. Reading just anything doesn’t do the trick though, you need to read what your mind craves, which sometimes is out of the ordinary. There are many different genres to explore out there, from news on the internet, to historical science fiction. It is crucial for the stimulation of your mind to find something to read everyday.

I like fiction, and find myself engaged in this genre more than any other. If you find a good author, the writing can be so good that it is easy to lose yourself in the lore. This provides exercises in imagination and spurs creative thought. The effects of fiction on the brain from a neuroscience point of view has a significant impact as well.science-fiction

The two most notable series that I have read are The Legend of Drizzt by R.A. Salvatore and the story of Ender by Orson Scott Card. Both series are extremely well written and have deep lore to explore. I highly recommend these two if you are searching for something to read.

Fiction isn’t always my go to reading material though. For these times, I have magazines on hand. Most of the time, the content of the magazines involves some sort of research on computers or business related information. These topics interest me and I enjoy learning more about them. It is important to have an inflow of material relevant to your life, and helps grow your web of knowledge.

The good news is that these days almost anything you could want to find more information on is at your fingertips via the use of technology. I still find that nothing beats the feel of going through the pages of a hard copy. In either case, try to find ways to engage your brain in stimulating thought through reading. The results are a boost in positivity and life-enrichment.

Do you try to incorporate extraordinary reading into your schedule every day?

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Counteract Tension, Stretch it Out

I do a lot of work on computers, with computers, sitting down, not moving for long periods of time. This eventually makes my body feel tense, restless, and just altogether crumby. So what do I do to wash away those negative sensations? Stretch it out!

Stretching goes far beyond the walls of the home. You might feel uncomfortable somehow at work, and you wouldn’t believe the relief that a few minutes of stretching can provide. The goal of stretching is to relieve stress on the body by increasing circulation and flexibility. The end result is less negative sensations, which would definitely mar your positive mindset.stretching-exercises

So what exactly are you supposed to do? Believe it or not, there are some Yoga stretches you can do at your desk, and they take no time at all. Personally, I like to make sure I do 5-10 minutes of some stretching per hour of sitting at a desk. This helps me keep calm and focused on work, and really improves my mood at the same time.

Finding quick ways to stretch can come in handy for any situation where you are immobile for long periods of time. Multi-hour plane trips are nefarious for cramping your body up. Long bus rides most definitely are not made of fond memories. These sitting stints can really kill a good mood, and doing just a few stretches can fix that right up.

Other situations could involve just the opposite of sitting. I stand all day at work, and that puts serious strain on my legs. Doing a few quick exercises during work as well as stretching out any tension after work are great ways to stay upbeat. Just remember, do not over extend and do what feels comfortable.

Do you do anything while you’re work to counteract tension?

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Hear What You Need

I can’t say enough about how much I enjoy hearing things. Music, sound effects, people talking, you name it, I love it. Hearing is my most potent sense, and I believe there are several reasons for this. I grew up in a family of musicians, professional and hobbyist. This environment helped me develop an appreciation for music and all the intricacies involved.

So on to staying positive using sound! I’m going to start with music, as I spend a lot of time listening to music each week. These days, you can get your music fix almost anywhere at any time. You can play music in a car, on a phone, on an mp3 player, and through a computer. I like to incorporate music into many activities that I find stressful or less desirable, such as homework. Finding the right music for each situation can make a huge impact on the rest of the day, not just for that situation.huge-hearing-aid

One other bit about music is the volume can alter how much you get out listening. A lot of music has intricate layers that you would not be able to hear at louder volumes. On the other hand, if the music is too quiet, you can miss those “Wow” moments. Spend some time studying or analyzing your favorite music, and do this by adjusting the volumes for different listening sessions.

Sometimes, life can feel really busy, and the last thing you want to do is hear more of it. The fact is, the lack of hearing anything can have maddening effects on us. Hearing things is not the enemy, but perceiving what we hear is important to keep in mind. Go outside on a sunny day and spend some time in a quiet spot. There will be some sounds, like birds chirping, or a distant wind. Close your eyes and really take those sounds in, I think you’ll find that as relaxing as anything else.

What are some things you really enjoy listening to?

Photo Credit: Hearing Care Blog

Set Your Sight on Positivity

The next to last sense I will cover is sight. This is arguably the most important sense, because without sight it is very difficult or impossible to do many things out in the world. What we see can affect mood almost immediately. A picture of a disaster is negative, and a picture of a smiling child is positive. The key to deriving positivity from sight is to know what you really like.800px-Brown_human_eye_(2)

Personally, I find majestic scenery to be incredible uplifting. I live in an area where epic mountains encompass the horizon. When I go outside every morning, I take a moment to really look at them, and that is one way I prime my mind to be positive. Finding those images that you know are truly meaningful can have lasting benefits.

You can do things in your home to get your sight’s attentions as well. Paintings, plants, home decorations, sunlight, all of these serve functions as pleasant things to look at. Make those environments you spend the most time in as pleasing to the eyes as possible. Those tangible objects will spur good mood and positive thinking.

I don’t know about you, but one of the things that I see that makes me happy is the expression of happiness and joy in others’ faces. Tell a joke and make someone laugh, do something nice to get a smile, give a gift to get someone excited. Getting that positive feedback from someone else is a great mood lifter. Don’t second guess doing something nice for others, its always a good idea!

Do you look at something regularly to help stay positive?

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Smell Your Way to a Good Mood

Your smell is a very important survival mechanism, and also a key sense for staying positive. You’ve probably experienced mood alterations many times due to smell. The crazy thing is, like taste, everyone derives a different level of satisfaction from different smells. There are a lot of factors that go into how pleasant or unpleasant you think a smell is, and understanding those factors will allow for a better control of your mood.smelling1

I used to work for a company that had a cleaning crew do large area waxing once a month or so. Whenever this event occurred, no one was happy, and a lot of potentially productive time was spent minding the stench of chemicals and complaining to others about this stench. This is an example of an uncontrollable event that needed to happen and most definitely left a damper on positivity all day long. How can you intercept these events and do something to keep yourself from agony?

For me, I realized that the smell of the wax only bothered me in high concentrations, so I simply would work on projects furthest away from the cleaning. In this situation there was no use for being vocal about the issue, but in other situations being vocal can be beneficial. If you go to someone’s house and they have a candle burning that irks you, ask to move it or blow it out. No harm done, but the benefit is definitely worth it.

Alright, let me switch gears. How about priming your mind toward a good mood utilizing your smell? I’m sure you’re thinking of some ways right now. Take the environment you spend the most time in and see if you can implement a pleasant scent, like your home or your car. The one thing that gets me set to have a good day is the smell of brewing coffee, and the smell itself is almost as good as drinking it. Find those smells that you can use to your benefit.

There are many ways smell can affect your state of mind. Have you found a scent that is most pleasing to you?

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Get In Tune with Your Touch

This will be the third post about your most potent sense, and I will be covering feel. This is one of the senses that literally surrounds you, and can impact your mood extensively in both positive and negative ways. Your bed, your clothes, glasses or contacts, that cut you got a few days ago, the list of things you touch or feel is endless. My personal threshold for feeling uncomfortable is fairly high, but I know many people who need to keep track of their comfort to stay positive. On the flip side, I know some people who could benefit from taking some more time to consider their comfort levels.

For me, the one item that if I do not have is a good pair of shoes. I am on my feet most of the day 5 days of the week. If my feet hurt, I can almost guarantee you that I will be fighting a bad mood. To combat this, I invest in durable shoes and quality insoles, and if I sense any discomfort due to wear and tear, new shoes are quickly on the horizon.

My cat, KitKat

My cat, KitKat

One of the most important touch/feel experiences that I can definitely suggest to anyone is that of pet interaction. Cat, dog, or some other critter, the fuzzy creatures are a blast to pet and hold. The evidence is out there too courtesy of the scientific community. The impact psychologically is most definitely a positive one. If you don’t have a pet and don’t want one, run down to the humane society and give the animals there some attention.

In practice, getting some pet interaction works incredibly well in priming yourself into a positive mindset. Do you have a preference of touching or feeling something that makes you positive? Is touch your most potent sense?