There are good days and there are days that could be better.
Your mood directly affects your health and well-being. Encourage yourself to stay positive so you can tackle stress and anxiety that are just part of life. Here are seven simple ways to boost your mood instantly during important times.
Shake It Off
Dance. Workout. Go for a walk or run. Or just wiggle in your seat. Literally shake it off!
Physical movement helps relieve stress because your body releases neurotransmitters and endorphins. This explains “runner’s high” which is the feeling of euphoria when endorphins are naturally released by the body.
Did someone say FaceTime dance off? If running a marathon isn’t quite your thing, call a friend and have a virtual dance party instead. Or find an excuse to dance solo at home. Watch a video of other people dancing and having fun. Psychologically, when we see and hear other people laughing, our brain signals tell us that we should feel happy, too!
Whatever is bothering you, sometimes you just have to shake it off and push yourself up from a low mood.
Listen to Upbeat Music
Music can definitely uplift your mood.
Make it a habit to wake up in a good mood every day with an uplifting morning playlist. Happy tunes aren’t only for mornings. Stay in a good mood all day long with uplifting music. Create your own go-to playlist for any time of the day. Spotify has curated playlists to inspire you in any mood. Choose different playlists based on activity, genre, or your favorite song or artist. Singing along is optional.
Another great habit to incorporate in your daily routine is gratitude reminders. Write down at least one thing you’re grateful for that day. Take a moment to practice gratitude reminders in the morning before you start your day, during your bedtime routine after the day is over, or every time you feel grateful and inspired. Keep a mood journal to track your progress. This will help you understand your moods and encourage you to nurture your emotional health.
Eat Something Healthy
While you may be tempted to grab a bowl of ice cream and binge eat your worries away, it’s not the best idea. Choose to eat healthy instead. A healthy diet rich in anthocyanins showed 39% lower symptoms of depression. You can find many superfoods packed with anthocyanins such as berries at any grocery store.
Blackberries, cranberries, blueberries, Açaí, pomegranates, blackcurrents, and cherries are all superfruits that contain anthocyanins. Vegetables that share the same rich blue, purple, and red pigments are perfect for delicious mood-boosting recipes. You’ll know which fruits and vegetables have anthocyanins by the rich purple, blue, or red pigment.
For a healthy mood-boosting dessert, toss some gorgeous fruits in a smoothie bowl or top honey Greek yogurt with some berries. If you’re looking for a nutritious meal, try delicious recipes with purple sweet potatoes, red cabbage, and beetroots.
Nuts and seeds such as almonds, cashews, peanuts, and walnuts are also excellent healthy snacks to boost mood. This is because they contain tryptophan, an amino acid that produces mood-boosting serotonin. Other healthy mood boosting foods include edamame and coconuts which have positive effects on neurotransmitters in the brain.
For a refreshing mood booster, mix up an antioxidant rich mocktail and drink up, buttercup! Dehydration is a major cause of stress, low energy, fatigue, and irritability. Consuming sugar and junk food will only make your mood worse so opt for healthy choices.
Emergency Self-Care Kit
Sometimes, extreme moods call for extreme measures. If you can, try the above options first. This next tip is for emergencies. Whatever is your favorite go-to self-care activity, prepare an emergency kit that you can quickly access and put to use right away.
Prepare your emergency kit ahead of time with “Read This When” letters to yourself. Have confidence that you are your best life coach so give yourself a pep talk! Cliche or not, if bubble baths make you feel better, stash some bath bombs or eucalyptus shower mists in your emergency self-care kit. If your “self-care” activity is watching funny YouTube videos of babies dancing, go ahead and hop on YouTube right now and find that playlist!
As silly as it might seem, you want to plan ahead for certain unexpected moods especially if you have a tendency to slip into depression or anxiety. Give yourself time to process your feelings and reflect on a heated moment. Whether intentional or not, accept any faults and the possibility that you might’ve hurt someone’s feelings when your mood was not stable. Prepare to give and accept an apology. And if it’s the other way around, do your best and try to understand the other person’s perspective. Think of how you want to continue your conversation to find a resolution once you cool off. Be open to sharing your feelings and approaching any needed conversations with sensitivity.
Tip: Write a letter to your future self about lessons learned and tuck them away in your future emergency self-care kit.
Talk to a Friend
Call a friend. Vent. Cry. Whatever you need. Just let your friend know ahead of time how you are feeling and ask if they have time to listen to you. A good friend will listen without judgment and without interfering or offering “unsolicited advice.” Make a note to yourself if the friend starts to share too much “advice” in your personal affairs or private life. In any situation, just gently remind your friend that, right now, you just need someone who will listen to you. Your friend will be happy to know that you confide in them because you trust them.
Be sure to let your friend know how much you appreciate them for caring and being supportive in difficult times. Talking to a friend not only helps us express our thoughts and anxieties, it helps us build meaningful relationships and provide the security and support we need. Let your friend know it is mutual and that you are there for them too in their times of need. Be mindful not to take up too much of your friend’s time and energy. It’s okay to ask for support from a friend but also be mindful about keeping healthy emotional boundaries and being emotionally independent. Overburdening a friend with your anxieties and emotions can turn a healthy friendship into a co-dependent friendship.
Doodle in a Journal
Doodling is an excellent way to relieve stress. It’s just like journaling except with scribbles instead of sentences. Well, you can doodle sentences and encouraging words, too. Psychologically, doodling is an excellent outlet for feelings and emotions or even traumatic memories that are buried in the subconscious. While the scribbles and lines might seem random, psychologists believe doodles can help in understanding different fragments and memories that paint the “bigger picture” of an individual’s emotional state.
Whether or not you believe doodling can provide insight into the complex human psyche, give it a try and see how doodling can relieve stress. Doodling can unwind bottled up emotions, help you refocus (ironically, by not focusing), and even inspire creativity!
Accept Your Feelings
Sometimes, no matter how much we try, we might just still be sad, angry, or anxious. It is best to embrace your feelings as they are. Being able to experience a full range of feelings is part of a healthy emotional life.
Have a real emergency backup plan. If you feel extremely sad and depressed or overwhelmed, make plans to see a health professional. Schedule an appointment as soon as possible. If you have negative thoughts including suicidal thoughts, call a trusted friend or family. If you can’t reach them, call an emergency helpline. There are many professional resources available to help you cope with your emotions and support you through any traumatic events and mental health issues. Nurturing your emotional and mental health is part of an important and necessary wellness journey.