Ever have one of those days? Or maybe even one of those years? Whether you’re sad, hurt, angry, depressed, or worried, you’re stuck there. The things that used to make you happy don’t work any more, and every effort to boost your mood falls short.
Friend, we’ve all been there! That’s why I recently set out to find simple ways to instantly boost your mood. Because who doesn’t need that every now and then?
I found suggestions like meditating, writing down what you’re thankful for, reciting positive affirmations, and snuggling your dog. And while those are all fantastic ideas, they’re not necessarily things that work for me.
So what does work for me almost every single time? I’m glad you asked!
Boost Your Mood Physically
- Do the things you used to love. Think back to when happiness came more easily. What were your go-tos to boost your mood five, ten, or even twenty years ago? I used to go for a jog, study for school at a quiet coffee shop, or drive around town at night just listening to music. Give those old go-tos another try! If they don’t boost your mood on their own, the nostalgia they bring with them might!
- Harness the power of music. Music has been shown to be a powerful mood-enhancing tool in more ways than one! Studies have found that simply listening to a happy, upbeat song can help to turn your mood around. Singing along increases music’s positive impact on your mood, and dancing? Foggedaboudit! Dancing along to an upbeat tune pumps up your endorphins to take you to an even more positive place.
- Take a nap. Sometimes the best gift you can give yourself is to allow your body and mind to rest, even if it’s only for 20-30 minutes. Chances are with a quick power nap (or even an extra hour of sleep at night), you’ll wake up refreshed and ready to deliver a one-two punch to your day.
- Eat something fresh and healthy. A study in the American Journal of Public Health found that Australian adults who increased their fruit and vegetable intake also experienced a boost in life satisfaction. I experienced this myself when I recently included one cup of carrots and one cup of cucumbers (and ranch dressing, because let’s be honest) with my packed work lunch. Eating something fresh and healthy immediately boosted my mood and made me feel positive about the choices I was making. The foods you eat not only influence your mood, but also influence your energy levels, weight, self esteem, and overall health. It’s a win-win.
- Exercise. Studies have shown time and again that exercise can not only boost your mood in the moment (and up to 12 hours after, thanks to endorphins), but when done regularly, can even combat symptoms of depression long-term! (Be sure to download our free no-equipment home workout if you haven’t already!)
Boost Your Mood Mentally
- Google your mood boost. What makes you smile, laugh, or generally feel better about your day or about yourself? Hunt it down on the internet! Maybe it’s funny dog memes, cat videos, blooper reels from your favorite movies, stand up comedians, or an interview with someone you consider funny or even inspirational. Sure, the internet can suck you into a black hole of negativity. But it can also suck you into a black hole of positivity, because one funny viral video leads to another, until it’s three hours later and you’re laughing so hard you’re crying and not completely sure where the time has gone.
- Organize something. If you’re anything like me, finally cleaning out the junk drawer, or sifting through that pile of mail that’s been sitting on the kitchen table, makes you feel like you could conquer the world. No need to dive into purging the entire house! Simply choose a project that’s been hanging over your head for a while and is doable in a relatively short time. The project will not only distract you from whatever’s bringing you down, but leave you feeling accomplished!
- Redecorate. There’s something about rethinking and rearranging a space that delivers instant good vibes and leaves us feeling refreshed. So try reimagining your mantle or updating the family photos displayed in your frames. Push your couches around to try a different arrangement. Or heck, jump on the internet to hunt down a cute new trinket to spruce up an existing arrangement. (Focus your efforts on creating a more hygge home and you’ll not only boost your mood, but also increase feelings of comfort and coziness. Find out how here.)
- Go green. With plants, that is! Treat yourself to a gorgeous bouquet of flowers. (Aldi, Walmart, and even Costco have beautiful arrangements on the cheap!) Or spring for a succulent to spruce up your desk at work. Studies have found that flowers and other greenery provide an instant, and lasting, mood boost!
- Take a quick mental vacation. What situation would you love to be in at this moment? Walking through a New England forest at fall? Reading on the beach, listening to the waves? It doesn’t even have to be possible in the present! Is it going back in time to snuggle your children when they were still babies? Or maybe fast forwarding to the future, where you’ve lost 50 pounds and gained loads of strength and energy? Whatever it is, take just a moment to go there. Find a quiet place where you can be by yourself, close your eyes, and then listen to those waves in your mind. Feel those rolly baby thighs in your hand. Envision your strong, new body! Just imagining happy situations can often simulate the same or very similar improvement to your mood.
Boost Your Mood Emotionally
- Look through pictures of your (human or furry) children. Scrolling through my phone’s photo album brings back countless sweet memories, like what a sweet, small face my daughter used to have, and how ornery our cat was. We tend to take pictures of the highlights of our lives, and looking through them later can help us to experience those same positive emotions all over again.
- Let the sunshine in. Studies have found that exposure to sunlight increases serotonin, which in turn boosts your mood and helps you to feel calm and focused. So try opening the windows to let in more light, or using a sunlight lamp when natural sunlight’s not available.
- Find your scent soulmate. Is there a certain smell that automatically puts you in a fantastic mood? Some of my favorites are the lavender eucalyptus candle I burn every morning, one of my perfumes that makes me feel beautiful and powerful, and…let’s be honest…a sticky sweet iced mocha. Indulge in your favorite smells for an instant mood boost. Don’t have a favorite scent that invokes those feelings? Then get to work finding one! Stroll the candles at Target or wander into a Bath and Body Works, and don’t settle until you find one you absolutely love.
Boost Your Mood Socially
- Leave your house. I’ve found that the worse my mood, the more time I tend to log at home, which often deepens my negative emotions. Instead, find a reason to step outside! Because if fresh air and nature don’t do it for ya, maybe being surrounded by and interacting with other people will! Simply leaving your solitude will often do the trick.
- Boost someone else’s mood. Buy the coffee of the person behind you in the drive-through. Compliment that stranger’s shoes on the elevator. Send a thank you card to an unsuspecting friend or neighbor. Because the act of doing something for someone else serves several purposes. (1) It leaves you feeling fantastic when you make a positive impact on someone else. (2) It shifts your focus away from yourself and your problems for a bit. And (3) it puts your own problems into perspective and helps you to focus on what you have instead of what you don’t.
Wrap It Up
If you’ve been down for weeks, months, or even years, then it might be time to visit your doctor. You might very well have vitamin deficiencies, hormonal imbalances, or even phycological factors coming into play.
But if you’re looking for a quick and simple way to boost your mood, you now have plenty of new tricks up your sleeve! Whether you approach it physically, mentally, emotionally, or socially, you hold the power to push those negative feelings out the door!
What tricks have you found to instantly boost your mood? Be sure to share in the comments!
P.S. Ready to escape survival mode? Then start living life on your terms! The Take Charge Collection of 15 free resources will show you how!
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