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Wellness
Published Thursday Dec 19, 2019 by Sara Lesher

8 Tips for Improving Happiness (That Actually Work)

Personal Growth
Expert Advice
Motivation

Happiness—the seemingly simple concept that can often be so difficult to obtain. If you've ever found yourself on a quest for happiness or wondered how you can bring a little more smile to your life, here are a few happiness hacks to boost your mood!

Clean

Okay, I know what you’re thinking: this is supposed to be an article about finding happiness, not doing chores. But oftentimes, our living spaces can be reflections of our mental health. You may have noticed when you’re feeling extra stress in your life, your clothes and dishes start piling up. Of course, this leads to even more stress—it’s a vicious cycle. When you’re feeling unhappy, I’m sure the last thing you want to do is start scrubbing last week’s breakfast (or was it lunch?) off your pan, but trust me, you should. You’d be surprised how much your overall mood can change once your home is clean. Plus, you’ll feel a sense of accomplishment and productivity! (It’s the little things).  

1
Clean

Okay, I know what you’re thinking: this is supposed to be an article about finding happiness, not doing chores. But oftentimes, our living spaces can be reflections of our mental health. You may have noticed when you’re feeling extra stress in your life, your clothes and dishes start piling up. Of course, this leads to even more stress—it’s a vicious cycle. When you’re feeling unhappy, I’m sure the last thing you want to do is start scrubbing last week’s breakfast (or was it lunch?) off your pan, but trust me, you should. You’d be surprised how much your overall mood can change once your home is clean. Plus, you’ll feel a sense of accomplishment and productivity! (It’s the little things).  

Diffuse

The moment your house is clean, you’ll want to plug in your diffuser. Each of our senses is powerful in affecting our mood, and smell is an important one. Try using essential oils to help boost your spirit and bring out that beautiful smile!  We’re all thinking it—a spotless house that also smells ~amazing~ sounds like the perfect combo.

2
Diffuse

The moment your house is clean, you’ll want to plug in your diffuser. Each of our senses is powerful in affecting our mood, and smell is an important one. Try using essential oils to help boost your spirit and bring out that beautiful smile!  We’re all thinking it—a spotless house that also smells ~amazing~ sounds like the perfect combo.

Munch

Just like smell is powerful in affecting our overall mood, taste is crucial as well. I mean, how can you be sad when you’re eating good food? Cook up your favorite meal (and don’t forget to wash your dishes after), or if you don’t feel like messing up that beautifully clean kitchen of yours, go out for a bite. Bring on the dopamine and ditch those negative thoughts!

3
Munch

Just like smell is powerful in affecting our overall mood, taste is crucial as well. I mean, how can you be sad when you’re eating good food? Cook up your favorite meal (and don’t forget to wash your dishes after), or if you don’t feel like messing up that beautifully clean kitchen of yours, go out for a bite. Bring on the dopamine and ditch those negative thoughts!

Plan

Remember when you were a little kid and couldn’t contain your excitement? You’d stay up all night, too anxious to go to sleep. Think Christmas Eve or the night before Disneyland. That feeling doesn’t go away as an adult. Finding something to be excited about in the present moment is a great way to boost your overall happiness. Plan a trip, an outing, even just a quick happy hour with friends. Try to have something fun on the calendar to look forward to whenever you can, because the days leading up to it will be better too—discussing your excitement with friends, planning activities, outfits, etc. We all need something to be excited for! 

4
Plan

Remember when you were a little kid and couldn’t contain your excitement? You’d stay up all night, too anxious to go to sleep. Think Christmas Eve or the night before Disneyland. That feeling doesn’t go away as an adult. Finding something to be excited about in the present moment is a great way to boost your overall happiness. Plan a trip, an outing, even just a quick happy hour with friends. Try to have something fun on the calendar to look forward to whenever you can, because the days leading up to it will be better too—discussing your excitement with friends, planning activities, outfits, etc. We all need something to be excited for! 

Go...

Outside! Sunshine is nature’s medicine, seeping into our skin and making us feel good. But even if you live somewhere the sun doesn’t shine this time of year, going outside for some fresh air is great for your mental state. Get out of the office on your lunch break and go for a quick walk. Being outdoors is an amazing (and free!) mood booster. Grab your friends for a hike, bundle up and eat your dinner on the patio, or even just step outside for a quick fix. Cooping up inside all day is never fun. (Unless you found a new binge-worthy show. Then we understand).

5
Go...

Outside! Sunshine is nature’s medicine, seeping into our skin and making us feel good. But even if you live somewhere the sun doesn’t shine this time of year, going outside for some fresh air is great for your mental state. Get out of the office on your lunch break and go for a quick walk. Being outdoors is an amazing (and free!) mood booster. Grab your friends for a hike, bundle up and eat your dinner on the patio, or even just step outside for a quick fix. Cooping up inside all day is never fun. (Unless you found a new binge-worthy show. Then we understand).

Sing

Alright, you don’t actually have to sing (unless you're like me and just want to make your friends laugh), but at least listen to music. Yeah, we’re using another one of our senses—shocker! The incredible power of music not only brings people together and increases social connections, but can help us access any of our positive or negative emotions. If you want to feel happier, play a happy song! Tip: turn on some fun dance music while cleaning, it’ll definitely make it more enjoyable.  

6
Sing

Alright, you don’t actually have to sing (unless you're like me and just want to make your friends laugh), but at least listen to music. Yeah, we’re using another one of our senses—shocker! The incredible power of music not only brings people together and increases social connections, but can help us access any of our positive or negative emotions. If you want to feel happier, play a happy song! Tip: turn on some fun dance music while cleaning, it’ll definitely make it more enjoyable.  

Hug

That’s it! We can dive into the science behind human touch, or you can just trust me—a nice big hug can make you a whole lot happier. You’ve probably experienced this boost in your own happiness, but you may not know all of these benefits of hugging (hint: check out #4). 

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Hug

That’s it! We can dive into the science behind human touch, or you can just trust me—a nice big hug can make you a whole lot happier. You’ve probably experienced this boost in your own happiness, but you may not know all of these benefits of hugging (hint: check out #4). 

Sweat

For some, working out might fall into the same category as cleaning: things I really don’t want to do right now. Others might’ve already experienced the uplifting effects of getting their sweat on! Exercise naturally releases endorphins and the chemicals in our brains that lead to positive emotions (AKA norepinephrine and serotonin), so even if you hate your life during that cycling class, you’ll sure feel good after. If you don’t know where to start, you can find classes near you on Mindbody.io or the Mindbody app

8
Sweat

For some, working out might fall into the same category as cleaning: things I really don’t want to do right now. Others might’ve already experienced the uplifting effects of getting their sweat on! Exercise naturally releases endorphins and the chemicals in our brains that lead to positive emotions (AKA norepinephrine and serotonin), so even if you hate your life during that cycling class, you’ll sure feel good after. If you don’t know where to start, you can find classes near you on Mindbody.io or the Mindbody app

Sara Lesher
Written by
Sara Lesher
Marketing Content Associate
About the author
Spoiled by the San Diego sunshine, Sara’s hobbies include beaching, hiking, concert-going, and brewery-hopping. As MINDBODY’s Marketing Content Associate, she naturally loves reading and writing… so if you have any book recommendations, let her know. And just between us: she’s committed to health and wellness but loves a good taco (shoutout TJ Tacos in Escondido).
Workout Equipment
The Latest
Published Friday Apr 03, 2020 by Brittany Raine

Why You Still Need to Clean Your Workout Equipment, Even at Home

Renewal
Yoga
Fitness

Have you ever watched that oh-so-sweaty person leave their workout machine without wiping it down? Yuck. The Clorox wipes, paper towels, bottles of sanitizing spray are at your gym (and studio) for a reason— because no one wants to share bacteria. But now that our living quarters, even that tiny Upper Westside studio, have become our own personal fitness paradise, we’ve got one question: Is your at-home workout equipment *really* clean?  

Research has found that bacteria can live on some gym equipment (weights, mats, you name it) for three days. That’s right, 72 full hours. And your yoga mat or those dumbbells you just got delivered from Amazon so you can slay that new virtual class you just booked on Mindbody are susceptible to the same stat. While it may seem silly to clean your own “stuff” because you’re the only one using it, think about where your hands have been before you pick up those weights. Perhaps your apartment complex’s keypad? Bacteria knows no boundaries.  

From your resistance bands to your brand spanking new (and yes, most likely backordered) kettlebell, the gear you’re using at home could use a good wash, rinse, repeat—especially if you’re sharing it with someone you’re stuck at home with (like your S/O or stir-crazy housemate). Even if you’re the queen of clean (like me... just ask my co-worker, Natalie), here are six tips on how to keep your gear germ-free and looking good. Because we know all those classes you’ve been streaming are making you a fitness guru.  
 

Workout Bands and Mat


Know your surfaces  

You not only want to clean the dirt off your workout equipment, you want to sanitize it. Clean gets the dirt, sanitizing takes care of the bad stuff (aka bacteria). Before you start getting crazy with the bleach or a DIY deodorizer, you’ll want to take into account the surface you are about to wipe down. Something like your treadmill, Peleton bike, resistance bands or bench press bench can be damaged by certain chemicals and at-home cleaners. If you’re worried about your equipment, opt for disinfectant wipes especially made for gym equipment, like all-natural Wipex. Plus, it’s never a bad idea to keep some hand sanitizer next to your workout station. 
 

lemons and spray bottle

Consider more natural, earth-friendly solutions.  

Clorox wipes have become the hottest household item of 2020—and we are guessing so has virtual yoga. If you’re not a huge fan of using chemicals you can’t pronounce and throw-away wipes on equipment like your Manduka mat, there are all-natural antibacterial cleaning options that will make Mother Earth proud. Who doesn’t want to make their cleaning routine a little more green? Companies like cleancult (we called them out in our 20/20 trends), offer effective, all-natural products delivered right to your door in recycled milk cartons —and they pair perfectly with your go-to disinfectants. Cleancult’s versatile All-Purpose Cleaner is my fave for wiping down workout gear, especially yoga mats (and almost everything in my home). The Saponified Coconut Oil acts as the “heavy lifter” without harsh chemicals. After working out, spray your surface(s), wait for a couple of seconds and wipe away with a reusable towel (or an old gym t-shirt you use as a rag).  
 

diffuser and cup of tea
 

If you want to DIY... 

While knowing what surface you’re cleaning is key, some of your equipment might benefit from DIY solutions. Before you roll up your sleeves and become the Harry Potter of cleaning solutions, invest in a glass spray bottle (or reuse an old plastic one). Oh, and break out the essential oils because they are about to boost your at-home fitness (and cleaning) routine. Most of the DIY cleaning “recipes” you find on Pinterest include ingredients you have at home—like vinegar, baking soda and hydrogen peroxide. My must-use DIY cleaner is vinegar-based (with 10-12 drops of essential oils). It’s powerful yet natural enough that I feel more confident laying facedown in Savasana with my oh-so-sensitive skin after that yoga class in NYC I just streamed from San Diego.  

 
Clothes pins on line

Let it air dry (minus the sun). 

Now that cleaning your at-home workout gear is part of your routine (hint, hint), letting your equipment dry is key. If you’re cleaning your more expensive exercise machine with some cleaning solutions that have a “smell” or you want it to dry faster, trying turning on a fan or crack open the window to keep the air circulating. If you’re just cleaned a more porous surface (like your yoga mat) hang it outside to dry—over a railing, a chair, bike rack... you get the gist. While fresh air is good, UV rays are not. Certain materials that make workout gear can breakdown in the sun, and you don’t want to get burned before your next workout sesh. 

 
Hardwood Floor and Exercise Ball

Don’t forget about the floor.  

While cleaning your equipment might seem like a no-brainer, it can be easy to ignore the surrounding area where you work out. The title of this section tells you what you need to know—don’t forget to clean and sanitize the floor where you exercise. Just think of it this way, while you’re killing it in your virtual fitness class, your hard work is being noticed, by the floor that is, as your sweat beads go flying. And last time I checked; vacuuming doesn’t do the trick for dried sweat. After class, wipe down the area around your workout space with cleaning products that are conducive to the floor. Working out on carpet?  Consider switching areas or look into sanitizing and deodorizing spray for material surfaces. 

 
Blank Calendar and Coffee
 

Squeaky clean schedule.  

The most important part of cleaning and sanitizing your workout equipment is sticking to a schedule. If you’re forgetful (like me), keep your supplies adjacent to the area where you enjoy working out. And do it on the daily. Seeing the supplies will be a reminder to clean and sanitize before (and after) you get your sweat on—because who doesn’t love starting out their class on a cleanly note? Mother would be proud! PS: don’t forget to wash your hands!  

Do you have any at-home cleaning and sanitizing tips you swear by when it comes to your workout routine? From DIY to cult-favorite products, we want to know! Tag @mindbody on Instagram to let us know! Stay clean, safe and sanitized our friends!  

Brittany Raine MINDBODY
Written by
Brittany Raine
Consumer Content Program Manager
About the author
A free-spirited farmgirl from New York, Brittany traded her job as a journalist and newspaper editor for the San Diego sunshine. Brittany now leads the curation of all creative content. There are rumors she was Middle Earth's warrior elven queen in a past life.