It seems some days exist just to beat you up. You know, the days where nothing goes right and every time you think it can’t get worse, it does. When keeping upbeat seems like an impossible task, turn to one of our 10 ways to boost your mood. These 10 tips are quick ways that you can turn your mood around and increase your feelings of happiness.
When nothing seems to be going right and your life just seems like a series of disappointments, it’s hard to be positive and thankful for all of the good things that you do have in your life. Susan Biali, M.D. and wellness expert suggests taking time each day to focus on three good things that happened that day or three things that you are thankful for about your life. Focusing on the good helps remind you that there is plenty in your life to be happy about. Try keeping a notebook on your bedside table and jot down three things you’re thankful for right before bed each night.
Listen to Happy Music
According to a 2013 study, listening to cheery music really can improve your mood. In this interesting study from the University of Missouri, participants who were told to focus on improving their mood by listening to happy music were able to, while those who were told the same thing but listened to somber music felt no mood effects. Additionally, the study says that it is important to not focus on “am I happy yet,” but to listen to the music as a journey to happiness. So the next time you need a quick pick-me-up, put your earbuds in and play some happy music.
Clear Out The Clutter
You don’t have to spend a whole day organizing and sorting, but getting rid of some of the clutter that surrounds you can have a significant impact on your mood. “Clutter is a reminder of things that should be getting done, but aren’t. It can make you feel like a failure,” explains Elaine Aron, Ph. D. and author of The Highly Sensitive Person. Simply disposing of trash and straightening out some piles can help alleviate a bad mood. Says Aron, “just the illusion of order is enough to ease the mind.”
Some essential oils, such as orange, lemon or lavender can lift feelings of anxiety and depression. To bust a bad mood, keep a candle or oil diffuser in your office for days with endless deadlines. Alternatively, keep a vial of your favorite essential oil blend in your purse for quick pick-me-ups.
Take a Walk
Have you ever heard the expression “you’re only one workout away from a good mood?” Turns out, that’s true. “Exercise sparks the release of feel-good endorphins, but it also satisfies something more profound: the human need to perform and excel. Exercise helps you feel like the captain of your own ship,” says Sonja Lyubomirsky, Ph. D. and author of The How of Happiness. If you can, head outside because being surrounded by nature is also a happiness booster.
Laugh it Off
A study conducted by Stanford University showed that laughter increases the levels of dopamine in the brain. Dopamine is frequently called “the feel good hormone” because of its ability to lift moods and increase happiness. Additionally, when you laugh you increase oxygen flow throughout your body and you calm down your body’s stress response, which results in a relaxed feeling of positivity.
Constantly griping and complaining won’t make you feel any better; in fact, it can make you feel worse and aggravate the people around you. However, there is a therapeutic benefit to venting your feelings to a loved one. “In many (though not all) situations it’s better for you to discharge negative emotions than to keep them bottled up inside. Venting helps restore your equilibrium,” says psychologist Leon F. Seltzer, M.D.
Snack on Walnuts
Nuts, in general, are a great snack, in moderation, but if you need to boost your mood, reach for some walnuts. A study from the University of Pittsburgh revealed that the omega-3 fatty acid content of walnuts made people less prone to depression and easier to get along with. Using 106 healthy adults, researchers looked at the blood levels of omega-3 fats and those with the highest levels performed 49 to 58 percent better than those with lower levels. Walnuts also boost levels of serotonin, a brain chemical that increases feelings of positivity.
Fake it Till You Make it
Those times when you feel the least like smiling are the times when you should be smiling. There are studies that indicate that muscular movements in your face, or adjusting your posture, actually can boost your happiness. Smiling is effective because “if you act like you’re a happier person, you can experience all these positive social consequences. You make more friends. People are nicer to you. And these things can have real consequences,” says Lyubomirsky.
For some people, retail therapy is a go-to when feelings of anxiety or depression surface. Surprisingly, there are ways that you can spend money and not feel the guilt later. Miriam Tatzel, Ph. D., psychologist from Empire State College surveyed 329 shoppers and found that those who spent money on experiences – a great meal, a wine tasting or a concert – were happier than those who splurged only on consumer goods like shoes or sunglasses. An added bonus is that you often involve family and friends in experiences, and strong social support also goes a long way in lifting your mood.
Not every day of your life is going to be a good one, but when you come up against hardships there are things that you can do to change and elevate your mood. Practice these 10 ways to boost your mood and see which one works best for you, and share these with your friends and family because everybody needs a little lifting up sometimes.