Even small disappointments and frustrations can disrupt our daily activities and make us lazy, miserable, and completely uninterested in the things we need or want to care about. You know you need a little boost to get you through the day, but you’re not sure exactly what to do to make yourself feel better?
This is completely normal – emotional stress does not have to be extreme to make it difficult to find solutions. But a bad mood that is left to simmer often makes you feel worse.
Below are 5 ideas you can try when you want to give your mood a little boost.
1. Take a walk in the park
A short walk through the nearest park or any other green space can greatly affect a bad mood. A walk in nature stimulates the production of the “happiness hormone,” a chemical messenger that helps regulate mood.
A brisk 10-minute walk can increase blood flow to your brain and energize you, alleviating feelings of fatigue and sluggishness. Walking can also help reduce the level of stress hormones in your body and stimulate the release of endorphins, hormones that can relieve stress, pain and discomfort.
Research is increasingly showing that people who regularly spend time outside, or look at pictures and videos of nature when going outside is not an option, generally have better moods.
There’s a good reason why many teachers and other speakers like to start things off with a joke or witty remark. Laughing in a group can help reduce tension and make everyone feel at least a little bit better, but laughter also works on an individual level.
If you’re feeling a bit anxious or stressed about something – say, a big presentation at work or a difficult discussion with a loved one – humor can help you release the tension and relax.
3. A hug heals
It’s natural to turn to the people in your life for physical and emotional support when dealing with bad moods and other frustrations. You may already know that hugs and other physical touch can trigger your body to release oxytocin and help you feel closer to your loved ones.
But what happens when your mood drops in circumstances where you can’t easily access that comfort?
You may suddenly start feeling sad, overwhelmed, or just plain sick at work or around a bunch of people you don’t know. A supportive hug seems like just what you need to change your mood, but there’s no one around to do the honors – no one but you, really.
Touch (yes, yours) can reduce feelings of stress, helping you feel safe and relaxed. It can also promote self-compassion and self-kindness, both of which can pave the way for a more positive mood. A hug can be as simple as wrapping your arms around yourself and holding each other for a moment or two, just as you would hug someone else.
4. Turn up the music
Since ancient times, music has been used in various ways for therapeutic purposes.
It can help:
Improves mood and ability to regulate emotions
It relieves stress and tension
It reduces anxiety
In short, if you’re ready to boost your mood, playlists offer an all-around great tool for the job.
5. Try a random act of kindness
Even if you think you can’t change your situation right now, you can always do something nice for someone else. Happiness is greatest when shared, and you’ll see how a random act of kindness can fill you with positive energy.
Doing something nice for another person could brighten someone’s day and put a smile on their face, which in turn can lift your mood. Just knowing you’ve made someone else’s day can put you in a more positive mood.
A few ideas to consider:
- Ask a co-worker if they need help.
- Get the job done for your child, roommate, or partner.
- Feed your pet – you’ll probably earn a hug in return.
- Leave a detailed positive review for one of your favorite shops or restaurants
A bad mood that lasts for a long time can mean something a little more serious. When you notice long-term changes in your mood and well-being, and strategies like the ones above don’t have much effect, talking to a therapist is always a good next step.