Some days are just one of those days. If you’re really going through it today, try these tips to improve your mood right now.
1. Watch this cat video. Seriously.
Cats are majestic and adorable and bizarre creatures, thus making them incredibly entertaining to watch. Plus, it’s true what they say, laughter is the best medicine.
2. Dance Recess.
A while back I found this youtube video by Linda Barsi and discovered the beauty of the dance recess. Not only is it freeing to, as they say, dance like nobody’s watching, but dancing is great for improving your mood. Not that I need an excuse to dance around my apartment, mind you.
3. Hug (or another physical touch you are comfortable with)
Despite the introverted tendencies a lot of us have, human interaction and specifically, human touch does wonderful things for our brain chemistry. When we experience a hug, or even just a pat or gentle squeeze of the hand our brain releases oxytocin along with loads of other feel-good hormones. Good news for some of us though, it also works with pets. Just remember to ask for permission from humans and pets if you want to touch them.
4. Listen to music that makes you feel good
A University of Missouri study shows that listening to upbeat music can help you improve your mood. Extra mood-boosting points if you can just chill and enjoy the ride.
5. And sing along
Similarly to dancing, something in your body and brain responds to a joyful beat. According to researchers at Manchester University, singing activates an organ in your inner ear connected to the pleasure centres of the brain. Not only that but singing releases endorphins, which helps to boost your mood.
6. Pamper yourself
When you take a day, or even just a moment for yourself you are giving yourself time to collect your thoughts and come back to your centre. You are asserting to yourself that you are important and your upkeep is important. Whatever your pampering looks like, treat yo’ self! You deserve it.
7. Go for a walk
Exercise releases endorphins, which in turn improve your mood! Even just a brisk 20-minute walk around the block can help. On top of that, the sunlight warming your face is helping you synthesize feel-good vitamin D and lower stress. But wait, it gets better. While you’re out and about you can wax poetic about the trees and the birds and the people going about their daily lives. At least that helps me, anyway.
Take the time to think of (and write down if you like) at least three things you are grateful for in that moment. Research shows that gratitude is strongly linked to feelings of happiness. I like to make a daily practice of it and write one thing every day that made me feel good and stick it on the wall with cute sticky notes. That way I can look back and remember all the blessings in my life if I’m feeling down.
9. Do something nice for someone else
It feels good and it helps someone else out in the process. Need I say more?
10. Smile at yourself in the mirror
I know this one feels weird but it works. Countless studies show that smiling even when you don’t want to, tricks your brain. It’s like, “Oh, are we happy right now? I better pump out some happy chemicals then.” Bam, increased mood. You’re welcome. Isn’t it nice to pull one over on your brain for once?
11. Make something
Whether it’s painting, or dancing, sewing or songwriting, studies have shown that creative expression can help reduce anxiety and soothe symptoms of depression. When you’re focused on the thing that you’re making, it’s almost like a meditative state and everything else falls away.
12. Clean or declutter
According to Elaine Aron, Ph.D., author of The Highly Sensitive Person, even having the illusion of order can make you feel better about your situation. If you’re feeling overwhelmed and scattered, try just organizing your desk or bedside table. A little bit goes a long way!
Sometimes there are so many thoughts bouncing around in your head it’s helpful to put them somewhere – like on paper. Taking the time to feed those feelings through the tip of a pen helps to feel them and recognize them.