Have you ever had one of those days where you’re in a bad mood and you have no idea why? You snap at people, or simply sit in bed and cry your heart out. Nothing you do seems fulfilling? I know I have. Whether something in particular is bringing you down, or even if you’re crabby for no apparent reason, a little pick-me-up can make all the difference in the world. Here are five healthy and proven ways to boost your mood, or brighten up a dull day.
Even though exercising may be the last thing you feel like doing when you’re down, it is a surefire way to improve your mood. Exercising releases endorphins, which most people credit for the post-workout bliss we all feel. Exercising also releases dopamine, a chemical that plays a role in happiness. That’s why most schools have exercise or physical education as part of their curriculum — it is one of the best and easiest ways to combat stress, for both kids and adults.
As we age, we lose dopamine — so it’s always good to seek out experiences that increase dopamine production. Consider doing some stretching and yoga. Regular stretches help prevent the brain from getting foggy due to constant movement, while yoga improves concentration and focus, keeping your mind calm and satisfied. These activities are recommended by professionals to uplift your mood.
Most people underestimate the power of food. A wholesome and nutritious meal can do wonders for your physical and mental well-being. Unhealthy eating habits deny your body the healthy fuel it requires to avoid physical stress, and can ruin your mood, leading to everything from daily crabbiness to long-term depression. Being healthy doesn’t mean avoiding all foods that give you pleasure. In fact, it’s important to treat yourself every now and then and indulge. It simply means that you should make a conscious choice to eat nutritiously most of the time, avoiding processed and fast foods that sap you of energy rather than benefit your body.
Be sure to drink a sufficient amount of water every day, as well as eat enough fruits and vegetables, as these can naturally boost your mood and keep you holistically happy. Spruce up your diets with superfoods — foods that are jam-packed with nutrients to keep you healthy through the winter months, boost energy levels and even act as natural mood enhancers.
Listen to Music
Music has been a part of human culture since the beginning of recorded history, and with good reason: Just as sad music can provide comfort in times of loss, happy upbeat music has been prove to make people feel various feelings of positivity. A study in 2013 found that people who listened to happy music could improve their overall mood and boost their mood in just two weeks! The power of music and its effect on our psyche is profound. Research has shown that music can even help relieve physical pain and anxiety. So the next time you’re feeling a little low, try playing some of your favorite tunes and sing along. After a while, you might find that you can’t help but smile!
Get Some Sunlight
Exposure to sunlight has a number of benefits, including boosting your mood. While being in the sun raises concerns about skin cancer, recent research says that the benefits of being in the sun outweigh the risk of skin cancer.
Not only does sunlight support better heart health, it provides Vitamin D in a way that food cannot. In turn, Vitamin D causes the levels of serotonin in your body to increase. Serotonin is the feel-good hormone, and that’s why being out in the sun can help turn a mood around. In fact, 30 minutes in the bright sun every day yields the same amount of Vitamin D as 200 glasses of Vitamin D-enriched milk! If you feel down, consider a walk in the sun, or even reading in a sunny spot. Make sure your home has enough natural light, especially during the colder and darker months in which light can really affect your mood. Why do you think John, the owner of this website, moved to Spain?
Talk About It
In those instances where your low days are the result of traumatic external events, consider talking to a professional. Even if it’s for a one-off session, talking to a professional, known as talking therapy, is a great way of relieving a burden, addressing underlying problems that could be contributing to your negative feelings, and finding ways to deal with stress that are beneficial in the long run.
According to psychologist Marian Marguiles, PhD: “The positive gains continue and grow over time, as though some of the work gets further consolidated after therapy stops. This makes sense to me because it suggests that we continue to use the reflective lens in thinking about, talking about and expressing feelings about our inner lives after we end treatment. The whole talking-with-the-therapist process gets internalized so that self-therapy picks up where the actual therapy leaves off.”
Today, with technology assisted therapy, it’s very easy to gain access to a professional even you life in a rural or isolated area. If you don’t feel like your troubles warrant professional help, and you’re just in a bad mood, call up a friend or family member and just vent out what you’re feeling. Sometimes, simply being able to vocalize and express your stresses makes a great difference.
So the next time you’re feeling emotionally under the weather, try one of these solutions to get your happy juices flowing. Often you’ll find that even a small dose of these quick fixes are just what you’ll need to boost your mood!