Boost Your Mood Quickly When Times Are Tough
We all know life is not always sunshine and rainbows. There will be trying times but the way you react to a given situation or obstacle has a large impact on your state of being. Personally, I am prone to both depression and anxiety so I have made a conscious effort over the last few years to remember that I alone am responsible for my thoughts and moods. It is not easy but few things that are worth doing are. Here are my tried and true, and often used, secrets to boost your mood quickly when times are tough or your day has been rough:
Exercise. This is, hands down, the most effective way to boost your mood without medications or spending money. Cardio, specifically, works best for me but experiment to find your sweet spot. Half an hour of running, biking, walking or on the elliptical will typically lift you right out of your funk. You have to put effort forth in earnest though – if you are not dripping in sweat by the time you’re finished, you will not get much of a boost. Bonus: health and a banging body when you keep it up.
Peruse old photo albums. Yes- you know those actual books people used to make with actual photos? In the age of digital photography, it is so easy to forget that holding a physical photo or book of memories is often such a powerful experience.
Crank up the music. Make sure it’s good music though, not what you’re naturally drawn to when you are in a bad mood. Something upbeat with positive lyrics, something to get you dancing.
Play with your pet. How can you be pissy when your dog is being goofy? Seriously. Don’t have a pet? Go volunteer at your local animal rescue. They always need help, even if it is just sitting and playing with the animals.
Clean yo house! Clutter and a mess have a measurable effect on mood. Start somewhere and clean for whatever time you can spare. There are few things in life more gratifying than the sense of accomplishment you get when finished, even if cleaning is not your favorite thing to do.
Create. Paint, draw, write, craft, bake, cook, sew, etc… whatever floats your boat. Again, this goes back to accomplishing something.
Get outside. Go for a walk, stop at a park, sit in the grass and just be mindful of your surroundings. This is especially effective during the milder parts of the year when you can appreciate the sun on your face and the breeze in your hair.
Suck it up and stop whining. Remember that any problem you keep talking about starts to seem bigger and makes you feel worse and worse. Ask yourself- is it doing any good to keep complaining? Will it solve the problem? Does it really make you feel better? No? Then stop already. You will feel better in the long run and so will the people around you.
Trick your brain. Probably the simplest way to boost your mood quickly is to focus on your body. Often when we are stressed, breathing is shallow, teeth are clenched, shoulders are tight and rounded. These are physical symptoms of a mind that is not in a good place. Be mindful of your breathing and physical body and your bran will take the cues.
Get grateful. I strongly recommend keeping a notebook or journal to maintain a running list of things for which you are grateful or use a bulletin board and index cards . This is an extremely fast and effective mood-shifter. How can you be morose when you have so much to be thankful for? It could be something large like your family or something as inconsequential as the sound of crickets outside your bedroom window at night, size matters not. Practicing gratitude often is an often overlooked way to build a satisfying and content life. One of my favorite questions to discuss around the dinner table is “What was the best part of your day today?”