There are times we need an instant mood booster. Did we have a bad day at work? Did we have a fight with our mate? Did we deal with just one too many temper tantrums from our lovely little 2 year old?
Professionals say about 40% of our happiness is influenced by what we choose to do to make ourselves happy. That figure may have some thinking the percentages aren’t weighted in our favor. However, it is positive news that we have control over such a large percentage of our mood. And there are a handful of proven ways to instantly improve our mood, give ourselves an instant lift, and feel more joyful.
We’re not talking about the advice to “think happy thoughts” – that seems a little trite. Afterall, do you find it easy to think happy thoughts when you’re down or even upset? Not me. And I bet you don’t either. Some advise to eat a handful of walnuts. Why? Well, low blood sugar may cause bad humor and the Omega-3’s from the walnuts are a good mood booster. But what if you’re allergic to walnuts? Some advise to say a brief prayer. I do in fact find this helpful. However, what if you’re not a particularly religious person?
So what does that leave us with? The 5 ways listed below are both simple yet profound. They are easy to implement while having a huge impact on our mood, no matter who we are!
1. Turn On Upbeat Music, Even Dance.
The key here is to actively pursue a good mood. Listening to music we enjoy leads to contentment, alertness, and renewed interest. Music can make a positive mood more so, and turn a negative mood positive. Studies show it can make us more optimistic, joyful, friendly, relaxed, and calm while making us less pessimistic and sad. Add the upbeat music to a little booty shaking across the living room rug, and you’ve got yourself a potent mix of good mood boosting endorphins! (Source)
2. Breathe Deep.
It’s scientifically true, deep breathing releases endorphins into your blood stream; those little natural feel-good chemicals improve your mood. They are even known to mask physical pain (natural childbirth, anyone?), so it stands to reason they can help alleviate mental pain or anxiety.
Implement deep breathing techniques ~breathe in through nose, expanding rib cage, hold for a count of 10, exhale through the mouth till stomach is flat ~ when feeling stressed. You can also make this a part of your morning ritual. Take 10-15 minutes every morning to practice deep breathing to automatically set your mood odometer to green.
3. Take A Walk
We may not have time or energy for a gym workout. We may not even feel that we can manage a walk. The key is to exercise according to our mood. For instance, if we’re down do something low-key and leisurely. Walking, even just around the block, can improve mood in a couple of ways:
- Exposure to Natural Sunlight
Evidence supports the fact that getting more sunlight can improve sleep, impact our mood, and increase our productivity. When natural sunlight touches the skin, the body is triggered to produce vitamin D. Our body needs a sufficient level of vitamin D for feelings of happiness. Additionally, natural sunlight keeps serotonin and melatonin at optimal levels; these essential neurotransmitters are involved in emotion, and pleasure.
Make it a goal to expose your skin and eyes to sunlight for 10-15 minutes per day. Take care not to look directly into the sun of course, but a few second glance out of the eyes periphery is beneficial. (Source)
If we can get our heart rate up even a little, say with moderate exercise for 20 minutes, our body will release endorphins, and lift our mood. Endorphins can help lower heart rate, and blood pressure, and produce mild sedation or pain relief.
4. Smile Or Laugh
If you’re thinking, “Hey, wait a minute, she said she wasn’t going to talk about ‘thinking happy thoughts’!”, you’re right. I did say that. 🙂 The physical act of smiling or laughing though, has shown to improve mood. The muscular changes required to smile can elevate your happiness. I know, weird, right?
Laughing takes the smile a step further. A true genuine chuckle produces a feel good chemical reaction, instantly boosting your mood while reducing stress. How do you produce a genuine laugh when you’re in a bad mood? Watch something funny online; talk to a funny friend; read a silly joke book. As you laugh, and your body releases dopamine into your system, you will find your bad mood releases its hold on you.
5. Take A Break
Research suggests that we may have an innate need to chill once in a while. For those of us who are more Introverted that Extroverted by nature, taking a break on a daily basis is mandatory.
We are all prone to overstimulation. The society we live in is geared to overwhelming our nervous system. Mom’s recognize this infallible truth in their children; we need to recognize it in ourselves as well.
Push away from your desk and close your eyes. Go sit on the porch with a cup of coffee, a glass of tea or a goblet of wine. Sit in a cozy corner before the household wakes up and watch a funny show or read a fascinating book. Just find a way to take your mind off of the day. Give yourself a mental health break a few minutes of every day. The solitude, and quiet can help create joy.
The beauty of these 5 tips are not just that they work instantaneously, but they are simple, they are quick to do, and you can easily incorporate all 5 into your schedule on a daily basis! Let’s be happier, healthier, and more joyful starting today. And if you’re dealing with something of a deeper nature that’s affecting your mood, you may find this post helpful.
Health & Well-Being Disclaimer
What activity do you like to instantly improve your mood?