Life can be a drag. We have shit to do and often not enough time to do it. There are early mornings. There are unpleasant tasks. There are unpleasant people. It can get one down. When was the last time you consciously worked at being in a good mood? Not just did something fun but actually worked yourself into a good mood? If you’re anything like me, the answer (at least until recently) is never.

Some great advice I read recently was about doing what you need to do (note ‘need’ not just fun stuff like eating cake and taking a lie down, although that could be part of it) in order to function well at something. This particularly applies to creative work but could just as easily apply to spending time with family, completing an onerous task, making an unpleasant phone call etc.

If we go about our business in a bad mood – I’m sure we have all done that for at least a full day at some point – we will: not enjoy anything including fun stuff, piss people off, be less efficient, do a bad job of important and non-important things, and the list goes on. Therefore it is in our best interest to be in a good mood before we do things. Yeah, cheers, pretty obvious statement, right? Yes, but we’re far more likely to just put our head (and bottom lip) down and get on with it than we are to try and improve our headspace before doing said thing.

For me, it’s running. If I’m in a funk, I’ll run and 9 times out of 10, it will at least modestly improve my mood. That’s partially because of the endorphin release but also because I find it meditative. For you it could be making a cup of tea, reading fiction for half an hour, or actually meditating. Whatever it is, do it. Life is too short and actually it is just more efficient. You’ll do more, better, if you’re in a better mood. It just takes the self realisation to see when you need to.

Sure, if to get to your happy place you need to eat an entire chocolate gateaux, have a 6 hour massage, and spend 2 weeks on the beach drinking cocktails with umbrellas in them, this habit could become prohibitive, but if it’s running for half an hour, or meditating for ten minutes, just get it done and get on with the rest of your day with renewed vigour. I promise it’ll be worth it.

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