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15 Science-Backed Ways To Cheer Yourself Up

15 Science-Backed Ways To Cheer Yourself Up

It’s always useful to know how to cheer up, since the older we get the more stressed out we become. There are numerous reasons why we experience inner turmoil and start to feel a bit depressed. It can be a mid-life crisis, anxiety, stress at work, or even overthinking things that brings us down, but too much negativity is never good for one’s wellbeing, which is why the following techniques can come in handy.

1. Take some time off

If you are stressed out due to the nature of your work, it goes without saying that you should take some time off or ask for sick leave. Our jobs are daily doses of stress, and even though we are really resilient, pushing your limits won’t do you any good. The brain is like a muscle, it needs time to heal in order to be fully functional again.

So, by taking some time off, you lessen the strain on the stress neurotransmitters in your brain, allowing it to rejuvenate. If you nurture your brain properly, you’ll be far more productive and a lot less pressured.

2. Start to exercise

When you are angry, a good workout is great for blowing off some steam, but if you are generally running low on energy, then you should start exercising regularly and make it a new healthy habit. It’s good for your health, thus it directly affects your mood. You’ll be in shape and have more confidence, and you’ll have more energy, thereby feeling less mentally exhausted in general.

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3. Get up and start cleaning

Much like exercise, constantly maintaining good hygiene in your home is a healthy habit. First of all, when everything is in order and neatly organized, you get to experience a sense of achievement, which will always cheer you up. Second, if you live in a place with a nice scent, and filled with fresh air, you will feel good. If the space you are living in is cramped up, with all sorts of items lying around, the air cannot circulate as it is supposed to, and there is a chance of foul odors emerging over time.

4. Get a little shut eye

Not getting enough sleep is often a major source of unhappiness. As mentioned earlier, when we are awake and constantly thinking about problems, our stress neurotransmitters are more active. Their activity is significantly reduced during sleep, allowing us to heal. You know what they say: when you can’t make the right decision, sleep on it.

5. Plan your vacation

We all love to go on vacations, but unfortunately, we usually feel sad once our vacation is over. However, it was proven that planning your vacation and daydreaming about the various locations you are going to visit can have a positive impact on your health. The study published in the journal Applied Research in Quality of Life, revealed how planning and anticipating a vacation can boost one’s happiness for eight weeks.

6. Spend time with your friends

Spending time with your friends is a great way to cheer up, mainly because we are reminded of all the good times we had with those people. There is a tribe in Africa called Bemba (or Babemba) that has an incredible custom. Whenever someone does something wrong, the person is not punished, instead that person is placed at the center of the tribe and all of the tribe members gather around that person to tell stories.

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The stories are about all the good that the person has done so far, about all the positive traits that person possesses. This ceremony lasts for a few days and the person is embraced back into the tribe. They believe that when a person does something wrong, they need to be reminded of all their good deeds and get back on the right path. This is why you need to surround yourself with friends and be reminded of all the good times you have spent together, it will definitely cheer you up.

7. Move closer to work

Believe it or not, the mere act of commuting to work can make us unhappy, mainly because we are wasting precious time on the road. Therefore, if you want to improve your mood, you can change your location and be closer to work — this convenience will work in your favor. Of course, it may not be really easy to make happen, and you’ll need money, but the rewards are plentiful.

8. Become generous

Generosity will certainly make you feel good about yourself. You are making positive impacts and you are doing it because you want to, not because someone made you do it. If you are feeling guilty because of something, and need to reassure yourself that you are a good person, giving money or lending a helping hand to a good cause can help improve your mental state.

9. Adopt a dog

Sure, it can be somewhat troublesome to raise a dog, train them to listen to you, and teach them some tricks, but we all know that these lovely creatures are the most loyal of friends. Dogs won’t judge you, dogs won’t argue with you, they will simply be happy to see you. With a dog by your side, you’ll never be lonely. It is also worth mentioning that if you are allergic to fur, you should steer away from this suggestion.

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10. Accomplish tasks

To cheer up, you need to fill yourself with a sense of achievement. So, you can by start analyzing your situation and seeing all the minor improvements you can make in your life. These small tasks will easily motivate you to focus on something positive, and whenever you cross something off this list, you will be rewarded with a sense of achievement.

11. Try writing

Remember the time when we were kids and had diaries to write down our thoughts? Maybe this is not such a bad idea, even now. You can write journals, or even write novels — whatever helps you channel your negative feelings. Who knows, maybe it will turn out to be a good story, and maybe you’ll grow to like this new hobby. All things considered, this cannot be a bad thing.

12. Undergo self-hypnosis

Did you know that you can hypnotize yourself? It’s not the same as going to the therapist, but it has a real therapeutic effect. You can uncover what subconscious events have triggered your bad mood, and you can give yourself some constructive suggestions on how to be happier. Of course, you’ll need to be relaxed and create conditions for this to work, but it might be the self-help you need.

Here’s a more thorough guide on how to achieve self-hypnosis and help yourself overcome some of the psychological obstacles that were keeping you back.

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13. Seek catharsis

As mentioned, physical activity can be one form of catharsis for your emotions, but a good book or a movie can do the trick as well. You can also watch a sports game and yell at your team if they are playing badly, or cheer them on as they triumph — both have a positive effect on your mood. A video game can also help if you are sad or harboring some built-up rage.

14. Watch something that soothes you

Although it has not been confirmed, scientist speculate that looking at the color blue can have some positive effects on your mind. However, it was confirmed that looking at fine art or at old pictures of happy events can cheer you up. You can even look at funny pictures or memes on the internet — that usually works for me.

15. Work on your looks

Finally, if you look good, you’ll feel better. In other words, when you are down, try working on your style and looks. It will boost your confidence, bring some innovation into your life, and ultimately make you feel better. Just don’t go on a shopping rampage, because spending a lot of money will nullify these effects.

Well, there you have it, a number of (mostly) easy ways to cheer yourself up. Make sure you try some or all of them out whenever you are feeling under the weather.

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Djordje Todorovic

Blogger, Gamer Extraordinaire

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Published on April 7, 2021

6 Signs Of A Controlling Person To Be Aware Of

6 Signs Of A Controlling Person To Be Aware Of

Some of the most manipulative people are so good at what they do that their words and actions can convince you into thinking they truly care about what’s best for you when in reality, it’s quite the opposite. The most common signs of a controlling person are rarely obvious to outside observers. And for someone enmeshed in a controlling relationship or friendship, it can be incredibly challenging to stay away from this toxic person, even if you’re aware of their emotionally abusive tendencies.

While it’s ultimately up to you to decide whether to preserve or leave a lopsided, unfulfilling relationship, it’s nevertheless critical to understand the following six signs of controlling people so you can better advocate for yourself and mitigate the influence of their manipulative tendencies in your own life.

1. They Push Their Own Personal Agenda

Do you know someone who always tries to micromanage the words, behaviors, and attitudes of people around them? Does this person act like they have the right to know anything they want about you, including your location, what you’re doing in a given moment, who you’re talking to online, or any other private information about you? And when planning events and special occasions, does this person dominate conversations, steer plans in their own preferred directions, disparage others’ suggestions, and refuse to collaborate with anyone who might disagree with them?

If you answered “yes” to some of the above questions, then those are clear signs of a controlling person whom you absolutely need to be cautious around. Controlling people are reluctant to even consider alternative ideas, let alone enthusiastically work with people who have differing views. They prefer to be the captain of every ship—regardless of how much or how little an issue personally impacts them—and they have an arsenal of manipulative tactics to deploy if someone stands in the way of them achieving their own personal agendas.

In long-term relationships with controlling people, you may feel constantly pressured to meet their demands, follow their schedule, and focus on whatever they feel is most important. It’s not an exaggeration to say that these people act like the universe revolves around them, which can be exhausting to deal with for their family members, friends, and colleagues.

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2. They Make Everything Transactional

Controlling people aren’t always self-centered, but they’re not too empathetic either. Empathy for them tends to appear in the form of strategic concessions they use as a means to get what they want. They typically view interpersonal relationships as transactional opportunities to extract more value from people surrounding them, which can have a draining effect on those they interact with.

For example, one sign of a controlling person may be their insistence on “keeping score.” This can involve doing nice things for you with the ulterior motive of demanding something from you at a later date in exchange for what you thought was just an act of kindness or a friendly support.

Perhaps they shower you in praise (also known as “love-bombing”) or gifts then blow up at you if you don’t intuitively know they’re expecting something back from you. None of us are mind-readers, but controlling people behave as though everyone else should think and act like they want others to and those who fall out of line are punished for failing to meet their impossible expectations.

A controlling person may also threaten to withhold support if you don’t adhere to their demands, but they do so in such subtle ways that the guilt they impose blinds you from the unreasonable nature of their behaviors.

Some statements to be wary of include:

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  • “I did ___________ for you. What do you mean you can’t do ___________ for me?”
  • “Remember how I helped you with ___________? That took a lot of time and energy from me, but I guess you didn’t appreciate my help.”
  • “I always give you ___________. Don’t you care about my needs too?”
  • “You’re so selfish!” or “You don’t care about me at all!” (gaslighting if you respond with hesitation or politely decline their request for help for perfectly valid reasons, such as not having enough time or resources to assist them)

3. They Criticize Everything

One of the most common telltale signs of a controlling person is their capacity to criticize anything and everything, even small things that seemingly don’t matter. As with many toxic traits in relationships, these problems typically start out so small that you may not even notice. At first, you may even agree with their criticism or at least be able to understand their perspective when they bring up an issue.

However, the criticism tends to get more intense, more constant, and more perplexing for people who maintain relationships with controlling people. You’ll likely notice how they rarely seem to criticize something they do. It’s almost always other-oriented and these types of people are so manipulative that any rationale they offer can seem plausibly legitimate.

Some warning signs of a controlling person who’s overly critical to the point of abusiveness include:

  • Criticizing things about you that you have little to no control over (e.g., appearance, disability, family)
  • Criticizing your personal choices and interests, such as educational pursuits, career, clothing, favorite music, time spent on your hobbies, etc.
  • Punishing you for expressing vulnerability by invalidating thoughts and feelings you share with them
  • Attacking you whenever you express an opinion counter to theirs

4. They Balk When Someone Criticizes Them

We all know the adage, “what goes around, comes around.” But this statement doesn’t apply as much to toxic, controlling people. They’d much prefer to dish out criticism without ever having to take it in return.

For instance, if your friend constantly talks about your appearance with little regard for your emotions but flips out if you make just a single comment about their appearance, there’s a possibility that they could have some hidden controlling tendencies left unchecked. Remember, these people aren’t just controlling in their behaviors towards others. They’re also actively trying to stay in complete control over every aspect of their lives, which includes how others view them.

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This seemingly insatiable desire for control can prompt them to lash out against even the smallest bits of criticism, leaving people around them too weary or scared to speak up again in the future. While it’s possible they may suffer from something called rejection sensitivity dysphoria, this does not excuse them from the consequences of their words and actions. They should seek professional help to better manage their reactions to criticism.

5. They Socially Isolate You

Not all controlling people do this, but for manipulative narcissists, socially isolating victims is a go-to strategy for maintaining control because it’s effective at preventing people from truly understanding how toxic their partner, family member, or friend is treating them. Think of it this way—if you don’t talk to many other people in your life, there’s less of a risk that you’ll damage their reputation by revealing their abusive tendencies.

Socially isolating others also gives the person more control over you and your life as it becomes more difficult to break away from them if you don’t have other healthier channels of communication and interpersonal support to turn to.

This process doesn’t happen overnight, nor is it something you can readily recognize as abusive. At first, it may seem reasonable, such as asking you to stop engaging so often with family members with whom both of you disagree on major social or political issues. As the social isolation progresses, they may suggest cutting people out of your life—especially if they don’t like that person, regardless of how you personally feel—or even conjure up high-stakes problems like “it’s me or them” under the guise of saving you from people in your life whom they don’t like for whatever reason.

In a controlling person’s life narrative, they’re always the protagonist who’s incapable of any wrongdoing. The blame is always redirected at someone else, whether that’s you or other people in your life. The more they isolate you from other supportive people in your life, the more susceptible you’ll be to falsely believing that they’re right and you “don’t need” your other friends and family when you have someone as perfect as this person.

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6. They’re Emotionally Abusive

It’s hard enough to be in control of your own emotions but when someone else is constantly belittling you and your interests or leveraging guilt and shame to manipulate you into saying or doing what they want, this can make it even more challenging to stay in control of your own life and emotional well-being.

Emotional abuse is another sign of a controlling person that is often overlooked in relationships. After all, human personalities vary widely in terms of passivity, and it’s not uncommon for one person in a relationship to be significantly more passive than the other. This becomes an issue when the controlling partner or friend exudes signs of emotional abuse, which can start subtly and become much more pronounced over time.

Concerning signs of emotionally abusive language or behavior to watch out for include:

  • Dismissing your needs and/or belittling your interests in counterproductive ways
  • Privately or publicly shaming or humiliating you
  • Making you feel as though you can never live up to their expectations or do anything right (according to their own vague, subjective standards)
  • Gaslighting you into thinking they said or did something that never actually happened (making you question your own reality)

Final Thoughts

It’s sometimes hard to see the negative things about someone with whom we have a relationship. We may sometimes unconsciously overlook the signs of a controlling person, especially if that person is someone we have known for a long time or are close to us. However, cutting them off your life is the best thing you can do for yourself. Just watch out for these six signs of a controlling person and take immediate action when you spot them.

More Tips on How To Deal With a Controlling Person

Featured photo credit: Külli Kittus via unsplash.com

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