Change, as you know, can take time. It takes practice to un-learn things, to relearn things, to work at finding the path and staying on it until the changes come. The journey can be a long one.
Sometimes, though, you just want to feel a little something RIGHT NOW. Long term sustainable change is awesome, but every once in a while there's nothing wrong with making a little mid-course correction that you can feel right away. Here are three things you can do that will help right now.
Give a call. Everyone, I mean everyone, has a call they can make to someone who could use it. A friend, a parent, a coworker - someone could really use a call from you that simply says, "I was thinking about you. How are you doing?" The trick here is to not expect anything in return. Call with the simple goal of listening, and caring. Truly listen. Truly care. The rest will follow.
Lend a hand. Unexpected help lifts the mood on both sides of the equation. Carry a grocery bag. Open a door. Take a minute to find a volunteer effort that could use your help. Write a check to a charity and mail it. Donate online to a friend's fundraising walk. It should be pretty easy to find an opportunity.
Drop some praise. "Your yard looks amazing." "I love that coat." "Your smile always brightens my day." Just say something positive to someone. If you're the shy type, push yourself a little. Or, leave a note for the restaurant manager to talk about great service someone gave. Write a letter to someone you admire. The way you do it doesn't matter. The fact that you give appreciate and praise without any expectation of return is what counts.
All of these decidedly little things can do decidedly big things for your mood, but here's the big secret: they can also be completely lame. The key is in your approach. If you're just making another obligatory phone call, that's lame. That won't do a thing for you. If, on the other hand, you decided to completely engage in that moment, if you can find yourself completely in love with that little piece of the path, if you can give all the love you have within yourself through the act of making that phone call, then you're onto something.
It's like everything else - nothing has to be boring, or worthless, or stupid, if we choose to engage in it to the peak of our abilities. Flow is flow, whether you're doing brain surgery or cutting up a piece of celery. Find yourself there, give of yourself, and watch your mood change for the better.