Week 31 – Learning boosts our mood

This is a personal story of reversing a bad mood and finding things to make me see the situation more positively.

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Feeling stressed

It is never easy when things go wrong, but have you noticed that when you are on holiday and you want to relax, getting a bad news email that you must respond to can feel so much worse than if you were in the office dealing with problems all day.

This happened to me a couple of weeks ago, and whilst I dealt with the issue, it was still playing on my mind hour later. It wasn’t fair of me to take this stress out on my family, after all, we were supposed to be messing about at the beach and having fun.

I needed to reset my brain from negative to positive and fast.

Learning creates positivity

One of the most effective ways to send messages to our brain about excitement, happiness and positivity is by learning/doing something new.

By challenging ourselves to acquire a new skill and have a new achievement, our brain creates powerful feel good chemicals that re-set our outlook.

My experience

Sitting on the beach, I was struggling to think of something I could learn – then I saw a paddle boarder. I know nothing about paddle-boarding and anything requiring balance makes me nervous as I am very clumsy.

I thought this would be perfect – doing something different, something I don’t feel skilled in, something that would challenge me.

An hour later, I am sitting (not standing at first!) with my paddle, having already enjoyed the excitement and achievement of getting onto the board without falling off.


I stopped thinking about my work problem – I was concentrating on not drowning!

I was energised by each small achievement – courage to hire the board; ability to get onto it; ability to stay on it; learning the rhythm of the paddle to keep going forwards.

All of this sends messages to our brain – I am not stupid, I can do things, I am building my skills.

Do something different next time you feel down, size doesn’t matter – even tiny challenges still trigger feelings of accomplishment and pride.