It’s normal to feel blue sometimes. Especially today with the added stress of today’s headlines. You may be looking for a way to brighten your mood. Here are 10 easy ways to feel a little better if you’re looking for a pick-me-up.
1. Turn on some music – Many people can lose themselves in music. The key to lifting your mood is choosing the type of music you listen to. Businessinsider.com quoted a University of Missouri’s study finding, “Upbeat music can actually improve your mood.” So, turn off the emotional music and turn on some jams that get you moving when you need to lift yourself out of a funk.
2. Take a short walk outside – There are two beneficial parts of taking a walk outside: the actual physical movement and exposure to sunshine. The sun can even break through overcast skies, so get outside even on a cloudy day. Soaking up some light during the day helps you overcome sleep issues and helps alleviate depression symptoms. Even mild forms of exercise can boost your mood, so find something you enjoy that gets you moving, even like gardening or playing with your dogs.
3. Bring laughter back into your life – The reason laughter helps us (and is often called “the best medicine”) is the effect it has on our brain’s dopamine levels. Dopamine is the chemical our body produces that literally elevates our moods. The other effects it has on our bodies are increasing oxygen levels and relaxing our stress responses. With so many outlets for humor, including books, online videos, social media, etc., you can easily find something to make you chuckle when you’re feeling down.
4. Straighten up your surroundings – One thing that can bring us down is a cluttered environment. Why? Because a messy environment tells us that there is something we should be doing, according to Elaine Aron, Ph.D., author of The Highly Sensitive Person. That’s a problem because it fuels feelings of failure and inadequacy. It can lift us up and ease our minds just to look around our home or office and see neat and clean surroundings.
5. Get a hug – Physical touch also has an enormous impact on the chemicals our bodies produce. Getting and giving hugs lowers your stress hormones. It stimulates oxytocin, which is the same chemical a woman’s body produces during pregnancy and after childbirth that creates a bond with her child. If you don’t have anyone around for a hug, a self-massage can be a replacement. Rubbing your hands, neck, and forehead boosts your mood by lowering your heart rate and reducing cortisol, which is a stress hormone.
6. Get in nature. Along with the benefit of sunshine, being in nature has a positive impact on your emotions. It fills your spirit to feel connected to the greater world and see how many creatures exist other than us humans. Look at the birds, take in the tall trees, stop and look at the intricacies of a flower. Depending on what you like, you may even be lifted by a walk in the rain because you find it refreshing. Feeling a part of something bigger than yourself gives you a perspective that will make you feel better.
7. Do a short meditation. Meditation can boost your mood. Even a short period of mindfulness can lift you up. Meditation is clearing your mind so you can focus on something simple, like the flicker of a candle flame or a mantra you repeat in your mind. It’s not about perfection but redirecting your thoughts back to the simple. It’s a good way to clear your mind and get into a more positive mental space.
8. Practice deep breathing – Much like meditation, being conscious about your breathing is also a way to loosen the tension you feel in your body. Try taking slow deep breaths. Breathe from the area around your stomach instead of from your chest. This will allow more oxygen into your system which will make it easier to relax. You can do this anywhere, like in your car, office desk, while you’re cooking dinner, etc. If you feel overwhelmed and find yourself getting increasingly upset, this is one way to slow down the escalation of a bad mood.
9. Think about something positive – When we’re upset, it’s easy to focus on the things that are bad in our lives, and that brings down our mood. Even when things are bad, we can find a few things to be grateful for, like our pets, family, or a roof over our heads. Usually, we’ll get upset when there are a series of things that goes wrong in our day, so that’s a good time to be grateful for the small things. It may give us a perspective that what is bothering us now may not matter in a week or a month.
10. Put words to your feelings – When all else fails and we can’t break our bad mood, we may just need to vent to someone who cares about us and our feelings. Keeping a lot of negative emotions inside will eat away at you, so sometimes it’s better to get out our negativity to someone who’s safe. That may be a friend, counselor, minister, or mentor. When you find a sympathetic person to share your real feelings with, it can be like a pressure release. You can feel understood and reset to a better emotional place.
Remember that a bad mood doesn’t have to take over your whole day. Use the tools above to reset your mood.
New Dimensions Can Help!
If you or someone you know is experiencing any of the above symptoms or problems, New Dimensions can help. Our team of experienced therapists and psychiatrists can help you overcome these challenges and help you develop the skills you need to thrive. To schedule a complementary assessment or to find out more about our programs, contact us at 1-800-685-9796.
Our affiliate, MHThrive, provides Individual Therapy, Couples and Marriage Counseling, and Family Therapy at our locations in Katy, The Woodlands, and the Clear Lake area of Houston, Texas. We also provide telehealth therapy for anyone who resides within the State of Texas. To schedule an appointment with one of the MHThrive therapists, contact us at 713-477-0333 or visit www.mhthrive.com to learn more.