After hearing some unfavorable news, are you feeling a little down? Are you attempting to overcome your Sunday (or Monday) blues? You’re having a dreadful, horrible, no good, very bad (or even just a little meh) day, aren’t you?
Even small setbacks and irritations can throw off your routine, make you miserable, and make you entirely uninterested in the things you need to do or want to do. You are aware that you need a little boost to get through the day without incident, but you are unsure of exactly how to feel better.
It is completely natural; emotional distress need not be severe in order to make finding solutions challenging. But when a poor mood is allowed to fester, it frequently explodes, making you feel worse.
There is nothing wrong with momentarily putting your poor mood’s cause aside to concentrate on something that makes you feel happy. Ignoring your bad mood’s cause won’t make it go away, though.
You might try the seven suggestions listed below to help lift your spirits. Bonus: You don’t have to pay for any of them. Here are the 7 free mood enhancers:
1. Take a walk in the park
A little stroll through the neighborhood park or other green space can do wonders to lift your spirits. In fact, taking a walk in the outdoors increases the release of “happy hormones,” the chemical messengers that help control mood.
A quick 10-minute stroll will boost blood flow to your brain and energize you, relieving symptoms of exhaustion and sluggishness if the mid-afternoon slump or a late night has you feeling a little down. Also, walking can lower your body’s level of stress hormones and trigger the release of endorphins, which are hormones that reduce stress, pain, and discomfort.
Of course, sunlight also has advantages. Only 10 or 15 minutes in the sun can increase endorphin production and serotonin production, providing a significant amount of mood-enhancing chemicals. Also, if you’ve been sitting in a dark environment, natural light may make you feel more energised and awake.
Don’t forget about nature, either.
More and more evidence points to the fact that people with better moods generally tend to spend more time outdoors or view photos or videos of nature when going outside is not an option.
2. Laugh it off
There’s a reason why so many lecturers and other public speakers like to start out with a joke or clever observation. When a group laughs together, stress is reduced, everyone feels a bit more energised, and frequently, a little closer.
Also effective on a personal level is laughter. Humor can help you release tension and put you in a better mood if you’re feeling a little apprehensive or stressed about anything, like a big presentation at work or a difficult conversation with a loved one.
It could be difficult to make yourself laugh out loud when you don’t feel particularly hilarious. Try these if your usual sources of humor don’t seem to make you laugh much:
1. Funniest vids. Uncertain about what to watch? Visit YouTube to watch dozens of Vine compilations; these fast films are made to make you chuckle.
2. clips of animals. Pets can strike twice when it comes to battling a negative attitude. While often humorous, their actions are sometimes rather endearing. Have you watched every cat and dog video online? Unexpectedly, birds may be amusing as well.
3. Do a search for humorists. You might prefer funny books over funny videos if you like reading to watching. Start with NPR’s selection of 100 humorous books.
4. Go online. Online, you can get some quick chuckles from Reductress, The Onion, or r/funny, a Reddit community devoted to all things amusing.
5. Tell jokes. With buddies or at work? Inquire about any funny stories that others may know, or offer one or two of your own.
3. Try some aromatherapy
Your amygdala, a region of the brain that aids in emotion regulation, can communicate with you directly through your sense of smell. Because of this, aromas that bring back pleasant or nostalgic memories frequently aid in calming tension and anxiety. The relationship between your brain and sense of smell may also contribute to the explanation of why smelling pleasant things might make you feel happy.
Although you don’t always need to buy essential oils to reap these advantages, aromatherapy often refers to the use of essential oils to enhance mood or mental health. You may already have certain scents that uplift your mood in your house or workplace:
- You may have a preferred scented soap or lotion. Spend a moment deliberately washing your hands or quickly massaging your shoulders and arms with fragrant lotion.
- Are you depressed because you miss a loved one? Sniff a scent that makes you think of them.
- Do your neighbors have beautiful gardens? Go for a quick stroll and truly smell the roses. In the wild, you might also come across lavender, jasmine, honeysuckle, rosemary, and sage.
- To smell vanilla, cinnamon, or pumpkin pie spice, go to the kitchen. Instead, cut a lemon and breathe in the scent.
- Prepare a cup of chamomile or peppermint tea. Another great choice is Earl Grey, which has bergamot in it. You can also add boiling water to a lemon, let it cool, then breathe the vapor.
4. Give yourself a hug
When you’re struggling with a bad mood and other problems, it’s perfectly normal to seek out the physical and emotional support of the people in your life. You may even be aware that physical contact, such as hugs, can cause your body to release oxytocin and make you feel more connected to your loved ones.
Nevertheless, what happens when your mood deteriorates in a situation when you are unable to easily access that comfort?
Perhaps you suddenly start to feel depressed, overwhelmed, or just plain awful at work or in a group of strangers. The only one available to do the honors is you, even if a comforting embrace seems to be exactly what you need to improve your attitude.
Although it might seem foolish, giving oneself a hug might be the answer. Touch, including your own, can reduce tension and make you feel secure and at ease. It can also encourage self-kindness and compassion, both of which can open the door to a happier mood.
Wrapping your arms around yourself and holding for a few seconds, as you would when hugging someone else, is all it takes to give oneself a hug. You can, however, also read our article on how to give yourself a hug.
5. Turn up the tunes
Imagine this: You’re performing a chore you don’t particularly enjoy, such as cleaning your home or organizing files. Your preferred streaming music provider or radio station is playing in the background.
Your ears perk up when the song switches because you can hear the opening notes of one of your favorite tunes. You feel energized by the energetic, peppy melody. You tap your foot to the music, singing along in your head as you turn back to your activity with renewed vigor.
That sudden change in mood surprised you. In truth, music can provide a variety of advantages.
It can help to:
- improve mood and emotion regulation abilities
- ease stress and tension
- reduce anxiety
- promote healthy brain function, including better memory recall
- improve your focus, in some cases
6. Try a random act of kindness
Sometimes you feel confined or stuck since there is nothing you can do right now to alter your current circumstances. Try focusing your attention on someone else instead of yourself in order to avoid falling into a downward cycle of tension and concern.
Making someone else’s day a bit better and putting a smile on their face could lift their spirits and possibly lift your own. You may feel happier just by realizing that you have improved someone else’s day.
A few ideas to consider:
- Ask a co-worker if they need any help.
- Do a chore for your child, roommate, or partner.
- Give your pet a treat — you’ll probably earn some cuddles, as a bonus.
- Leave a detailed positive review for one of your favorite shops or restaurants.
7. Call a loved one
A little note of love and support may do wonders for elevating your spirits, whether you’ve just finished a long and exhausting day or have a worrisome occasion hovering over you.
Your moods can be lifted and other emotional tension released by even a brief conversation with your loving partner, best friend, or favorite sibling.
Loved ones can:
- listen as you vent your frustrations
- offer encouraging words
- make you laugh
- remind you that you always have their support
Can’t call anyone at the moment? Your mood can change even after a brief text or chat exchange. Of course you know they’re there for you, but sometimes you just need an inside joke, hilarious GIF, or emoji chain to serve as a reminder.
The bottom line
It’s completely normal to occasionally require a small boost to your mood, so don’t worry about it. There are several things you may do to help negative emotions leave you; they usually pass quickly.
On the other hand, a persistently downbeat attitude can point to something a little more serious. Speaking with a therapist is always a wise course of action if you experience persistent fluctuations in your mood and well-being and measures like those mentioned above appear to have little impact.