Have you ever been stuck in a low-mood rut, feeling blah, depressed, bored, or lonely?
It happens to everyone.
Sometimes doing something small is enough to break out of the low place, and into a more normal, positive spot.
The key is to do something. Even if you have to force yourself to turn off the TV or get out of bed, small actions can elicit big changes.
Here are 10 easy ways to lift your mood:
- Play music: Music impacts moods. There is a recent study done which shows that people who listen to sad music tend to visualize sad faces, while people who listen to happy music visualize more happy faces. So, put on happy music, and you just might feel happier!
- Pet an animal: Petting an animal lowers blood pressure and reduces stress. Animals provide unconditional love, and are increasingly being used in hospitals and nursing homes to improve patients’ physical and mental health.
- Get out in nature: Being outdoors has been shown to improve mood and general sense of well-being.
- Get moving: Walk, run, skip, frolic, whatever floats your boat. A study reported by the NIH shows that exercise improves peoples’ moods. This is especially true for people who start out with a more depressed mood.
- Meditate: Meditation has been shown to physically change the brain, improving things like memory and mood.
- Call a friend: There is nothing like talking to another supportive human being to make you realize you’re not alone in the world. Even if you simply talk about the most recent episode of Grey’s Anatomy, connecting with someone else can remind you that you have people who care about you, and will help take your mind off your sadness or depression.
- Get a massage: Massage has been proven time and time again to reduce levels of stress hormones and increase levels of endorphins. Lower levels of stress and increased endorphins mean a happier, more relaxed you.
- Volunteer: Helping others is a great way to break out of a low mood. When you volunteer, you feel good about helping others. You also receive outside recognition for your effort, even if it’s simply a smile or a thank you.
- Dance: This combines music (#1) and movement (#4), and in the end you get the benefits of both. Dancing also connects you to your body and improves how you feel about yourself.
- Laugh. Read comics, watch a funny movie, go to a website like Failblog, or go see a live comedy act. Like massage, laughter reduces stress hormones, and releases endorphins.
Take a minute to take charge of your mood. You may be surprised at how easy it is.
Photo from Shutterstock
Last reviewed: 20 Jul 2012
Harmon, J. (2012). 10 Easy Ways to Lift Your Mood. Psych Central.
Retrieved on March 9, 2014, from http://blogs.psychcentral.com/your-life/2012/07/10-easy-ways-to-lift-your-mood/