Whether you're having a bad day or it's been a terrible week, we all need simple ways to perk ourselves up. As you learn to lift your mood with simple methods you will be able to make positive changes to your routine to avoid feeling down more often.
1. Upbeat Music
Researchers from the University of Missouri discovered that you can literally improve your mood by listening to upbeat music (https://munewsarchives.missouri.edu/news-releases/2013/0514-trying-to-be-happier-works-when-listening-to-upbeat-music-according-to-mu-research/)! It isn't about pressing play on a playlist and asking yourself after every song whether you feel better. It's about putting on some upbeat music and getting lost in the beat. If you're feeling low, get your favorite pump-up music out and pump it up.
Believe it or not, not everyone enjoys music. For those of you who don't, you can try to enjoy the same effect by listening to an upbeat podcast or book.
2. Take a Hike
Natural light is a natural mood booster (https://www.rtor.org/2018/07/26/how-light-improves-mental-health/), which is why getting out in nature is a great way to give yourself a lift. The more exposure to light you have during the day, the fewer problems you have with anxiety, depression, and sleep. Of course, we know that exercise benefits your mental health and mood so, taking a hike or going for a walk around the block, is a win on two fronts. It's also free!
3. A Hearty Laugh
Laughter is the best medicine, especially if what ails you is a low mood. When you laugh, your body releases dopamine in your brain. Dopamine is a mood-boosting chemical that increases your body's oxygen levels. What does that mean for you? Laughter relieves stress and leaves you feeling lighter and more relaxed. So, when you're feeling low, put on a sitcom, comedy movie, podcast, or book. Even better if you have a funny friend who always knows how to make you laugh.
4. Tidy Up
I'm sure the last thing you want to do when you're feeling low is clean, but a bit of decluttering can help perk you up. Clutter weighs heavily on your mind, it can serve as a reminder that you have a to-do list you're ignoring… or, it might just annoy you. Either way, we know that clutter can leave you feeling anxious, stressed out, and depressed (https://www1.racgp.org.au/newsgp/clinical/what-does-clutter-do-to-your-brain-and-body). That doesn't mean you need to spend the entirety of your day or evening cleaning your home from top to bottom. It can be as simple as clearing your coffee table or straightening up around your bedroom. The appearance of order can often be more than enough to ease your mind and improve your mood.
Whether it's a bear hug from your best friend or a long snuggle with your furry companion, a little TLC goes a long way. Sometimes all you need to feel better is a warm hug from someone you care about. We know that touch triggers the release of oxytocin and not only does oxytocin boost your mood, it also lowers the presence of stress hormones. It's a two-pronged attack on low moods. If you don't have a pet and there's nobody else around, try self-massage as a method of TLC.
If you're still feeling down, try to think about all of the things that went well for you today. By reliving those positive moments from your day, you might be able to lift yourself. It's also important that you allow yourself the opportunity to vent if you need it. The best way to purge those negative emotions is to pop the cork and let them out. Venting can be therapeutic if you get it out and then move on. However, if you find your low mood lasting that than normal or longer than you feel it should, you should speak to a professional.