Spring is finally here! Like it or not, the weather has a huge impact on how we feel. Dark and cloudy days can make it harder to get up and out of the house, while the sun can give us new motivation to take a walk, meet up with friends or even tackle the closet clean out that’s been on the to-do list for months. So with spring in the air, how do you make the most of your new found energy and bounce in your step?

Here are 3 tips for a happier healthier you this spring.

1) Get outside!

Turn off the TV. Put down the tablet or laptop. Ditch the phone. Nature is calling! There are lots of great ways to get outside and reconnect with nature, which is SO important to our mental health. Sure, it’s easier said than done, but you’ve got to start somewhere. Right?!

We are so lucky in Seattle to have both the mountains and the ocean at our fingertips…

  • Plan a hike on a trail you’ve never done before.
  • Rent a kayak and hit the lakes or the Sound to reconnect with nature.
  • And what about all the great markets we have?! Outdoor markets provide you the opportunity to enjoy the outdoors, sample local products and who doesn’t love the people watching!
  • Harvard Medical school has numerous articles documenting the many benefits to enjoying time outdoors. Something as simple as spending time in the sunlight has been shown to increase your natural vitamin D levels (a natural way to fight many illnesses including depression and cancer).

Start small and build up the habit. No matter what you do, do it outside.

2) Connect with Friends

I bet there’s someone you’ve been thinking you should reach out to but just haven’t gotten around to it. I know, life gets busy and you mean well but somehow at the end of the day you haven’t sent the text or made the call. No more delays, do it right now. Friendships are one of the most important relationships we have. Catching up, laughing, telling stories and ultimately connecting with other people can do wonders for reducing stress and improving your overall mood. As humans we have an innate desire to connect with others. The need to belong, be known and to know others is a universal truth that we cannot deny. In one of the largest long term studies on human happiness ever conducted, we are reminded that it really is our connection to others that supports overall happiness and quality of life. 

What are you waiting for?! Pick up the phone and give your friends a call. Better yet, schedule lunch. Reconnecting will do you both a world of good.

3) Write it Down: Gratitude Journaling

Writing things down is a powerful tool for self-accountability and allows you to clear your mind of the clutter (kind of like a mental spring cleaning). It’s easy for us to focus on the negative in our lives which can make it seem like things are worse than they actually are. This makes it even more important to keep the positive things in our lives at the front of mind.

Try making a daily gratitude list. Train yourself to notice all the great things about your life, big and small. At the end of the day, write down 3 things that you are grateful for. This allows you to refocus your thoughts on the positive, rather than the negative.  Learn more about the effectiveness of gratitude journals and specifics on how to get started here.We will find what we seek…100% of the time.  Make sure you are looking for the good in your life.

 

As the weather warms up and you brave the closet to pack away the heavy coats and maybe even spring clean the old sweaters you have, don’t forget to spring clean your mind and set the tone for a happier spring and summer. You’ll be glad you did!

Colleen Hilton, MA, LMFT

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