As a young teenager watching a naturally happy friend, I remember thinking, “How does she do that?” “What’s wrong with me?” As if her glass was always half-full and mine was half-empty. In my first year of med school, my glass was so empty I saw a psychiatrist and was diagnosed with adjustment disorder. Of course, Mom didn’t care for that labeling, but therapy helped me over the hump and coast into my second year of medical school with ease.
As a pediatric physician and wellness expert, I’ve learned a thing or two about moods over my two decades in practice. If you struggle to stay in a happy state, you’re far from alone. Depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide, and anxiety is the most common mental illness in the United States. Don’t despair! After reading this post, you’ll discover three ways to get happy fast, learn if you’re genetically hard-wired to be anxious or depressed, and best of all, what you can do about it.
I learned from Tony Robbins’ practical psychology training three patterns that create emotion: physiology, focus, and meaning. To change how you’re feeling in a moment, you can change any of those three things. So first, I’ll walk you through how to move your body, focus, and meaning to get happy fast. Then, I’ll show you how to master your mood genetics because even those of us genetically prone to depression and anxiety can overcome it!
If you struggle to stay in a happy state, you’re far from alone. Depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide, and anxiety is the most common mental illness in the United States. Don’t despair! After reading this post, you’ll discover three ways to get happy fast.
MOVE YOUR BODY
Have you ever been in a down mood when a song came on that reminded you of a happy time? You instantly smile, right? You might even laugh, sing as loud as you can, and dance like nobody is watching!
Music that gets you to sing, dance, or laugh is a perfect example of how changing your physiology – your posture, breathing, tone of voice, and movement – can change your mood instantly. It’s my absolute favorite way to get happy fast. But now, instead of waiting for a song, I keep a running playlist on Spotify and listen for an instant mood elevator.
A hard workout or outdoor walk is another way I change my physiology to feel joyful again. Even shifting my posture to be more upright and taking a few deep breaths works when I only have a minute or less to get back to a peaceful state.
Music that gets you to sing, dance, or laugh is a perfect example of how changing your physiology – your posture, breathing, tone of voice, and movement – can change your mood instantly.
MOVE YOUR FOCUS
My daughters and I love babies! Have you ever noticed how watching a baby makes you happy? In an instant, that little bundle of joy shifted your focus! As Tony Robbins teaches, what you focus on, you feel.
If you want to feel more joy, shift your focus to what brings you joy. Pretty simple. My quickest surefire way out of any negative emotion (fear, anger, frustration, self-pity) is gratitude. For example, I can be in the worst mood, think of one of my daughters in their happy state, and start to come out of it. But, as I keep stacking on my heart more images and feelings of what I’m grateful for, I can’t hold onto the initial negative emotion. It’s impossible. It just slips away.
If you want to feel more joy, shift your focus to what brings you joy.
MOVE YOUR MEANING
To celebrate my in-law’s 50th wedding anniversary, we went to Disney World. At the time, our youngest daughter was a preschooler who, by all accounts, looked to be having a horrible time. Even the merry-go-round and It’s a Small World (my childhood favorite) didn’t turn her frown upside down. Yet, when we returned home, she wanted to go back because “it was fun!” she said, smiling. Huh? What’d I miss?
What you focus on, you feel – whether it’s true or not. My daughter and I clearly focused on something different! We attached totally different meanings to her Disney World experience.
The words you use to describe an experience – the meaning you attach to the experience – become your experience. As Tony Robbins says, “Nothing in life has any meaning except the meaning we give it.” You decide what something means. To get happy fast, change the meaning you’re giving to what’s making you down and out. If you’re making up the story anyway, make up a story that empowers you back to a beautiful state. A preschooler did it, so can you!
The words you use to describe an experience – the meaning you attach to the experience – become your experience. As Tony Robbins says, “Nothing in life has any meaning except the meaning we give it.” You decide what something means.
MASTER YOUR MOOD GENETICS
Ages ago, I read The Mood Cure by Julia Ross. This book transformed how I think about mood and addiction from something out of our control to manageable through diet and lifestyle.
It turns out some of us are genetically hard-wired to be anxious or depressed, but we can overcome it. If you haven’t tested your genetics yet for methylation, do so! Methylation is the process of adding methyl molecules to enzymes, hormones, neurotransmitters, and DNA. Think of methyl groups like cash. Your bank account needs positive cash flow, and your body needs positive methyl flow.
Some of us are genetically low on “cash” (methyl groups.) Low methylation can impact our physiological health and psychiatric health, including our mood, memory, concentration, and even our sleep! Optimizing my methylation through methylated B vitamins has been a total health game-changer for me and my mood. Discover how you can genetically test yourself and those you love for methylation.
Honor all your emotions, but don’t stay stuck in a negative state. Even if you’re genetically prone to depression and anxiety, you can overcome it! Optimize your genetics for better moods and move your body, focus, and meaning to get happy fast.
#WeAreInThisTogether for #HealthyChange
P.S. Are you feeling stressed, depressed, or anxious? Take this FREE Mood 7-Day Reset! Every morning for seven days, I’ll share a simple tool to weave into your lifestyle for better moods. #WeAreInThisTogether!
P.P.S. Imagine starting your day filling yourself up with the feeling you want most in life. It’s like putting on your oxygen mask first thing every morning. Then inhaling what you want more of – love, joy, playfulness – before you do anything else. Try this morning priming meditation and Discover How to Fill Up with More Joy in Under 15 Minutes!
About the Author: Dr. Sue
Sue McCreadie, MD (aka Dr. Sue), is a board-certified pediatric physician and wellness expert with two decades of experience helping thousands of families achieve vibrant health. In her pediatric practice, Dr. Sue helps children adapt their diet and lifestyle to optimize their genetics for health naturally. Online Dr. Sue helps other women learn how to eat for their genetics and use a nutritional system to feel confident with energy to live their best life. She lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan, with her husband, Dave, and their three children, Kaitlin, Elle, and Addison.