Updated: Nov 11, 2021
Our moods are in constant fluctuation, changing from happy, to angry, to sad, daily. With the ongoing pandemic and the ever-changing stressors of our day-to-day lives, you might find that those bad days are happening more frequently. However, there are plenty of strategies to improve your mindset and turn your mood around.
Here are 10 tips and tricks provided by our Colorado Spirit Team proven to help boost your mood:
1. Take A Walk
Mental Health News: 10 Covid-19 Safe Fall Activities To Do At Home And In The Community
The fastest way to get out of your head and improve your mood is to take a walk. Walking has been shown to help reduce feelings of depression and anxiety. Walking can also improve our creative thinking. In a study conducted by GSE professor Daniel Schwartz and GSE PhD Marily Oppezzo, it was proven that walking boosted “creative ideation in real time and shortly after.”
Not only is walking great for our mental health it is good for our physical health too. According to Healthline, walking offers several health benefits including lowering blood sugar levels, easing joint pain, boosting immune function and energy, strengthening the heart, and even extending your life. With all these great side effects, walking might be the best thing you can do each day.
2. Do Some Aerobic Exercises
Mental Health News: How To Handle Conflict When Tensions Are High About COVID-19
In addition to walking, other aerobic exercises such as swimming, jogging, cycling, etc., all aid in boosting your mood. These exercises increase our blood circulation, which can alter how we react to stress. According to doctors Ashish Sharma, Vishal Madaan, and Frederick Petty, exercise improves mental health by “reducing anxiety, depression, and negative mood.” It has also been shown to reduce feelings of low self-esteem.
By regularly exercising we can also improve our sleep, increase our endurance, reduce stress, and increase mental alertness. If you are looking to boost your mood in the long run, aerobic exercises might just be the thing you need.
3. Vent In Your Journal
Mental Health News: AIDS Awareness Month
Sometimes, the best way to boost your mood is to acknowledge your negative feelings. Repressing our emotions can often lead to increased stress and tension in our lives. According to Psychology Today, venting our frustrations can help alleviate these feelings. Instead of bottling up our emotions we can let them go, allowing us to move forward.
Journaling your frustrations can help. Journaling is often used in mental health practices to allow an individual to express their emotions freely without fear of judgement. If you are feeling your mood begin to dip, take a moment and write how you feel. Write what you think is causing you to feel this way and why you think that is. Allow your negative emotions to flow out of you and into your writing. By venting in your journal, you will be able to dispel any negative emotions within you.
4. Listen To Upbeat Music
Mental Health News: How COVID-19 Has Impacted Intimate Partner Violence
Have you ever noticed that our moods often correlate to the music we listen to? When we feel down, we seem to connect with sad songs. Whereas when we are in a happier mood, we tend to listen and bop along to upbeat music. Music is an art form with which we all connect to emotionally. Which is why if you wish to improve your mood, you should try listening to upbeat music.
In a study covered by the Journal of Positive Psychology, participants were tasked with boosting their mood while listening to 12 minutes of upbeat music. Participants who actively tried to boost their mood while listening to music reported a more positive mood than those who listened to the music and did nothing. It was concluded that when combining the intention to become happier with upbeat music, participants would become happier. So, if you are feeling down and want to feel happier, try listening to some positive music and tell yourself you want to feel happy.
5. Eat Some Dark Chocolate
Mental Health News: Suicide Prevention Awareness Month
Do you want an easy way to boost your mood? Eat a piece of dark chocolate. Over the years, there have been several studies that shows a positive correlation between chocolate consumption and our mental health. The primary ingredient of chocolate is cacao seeds. Cacao contains tryptophan which is a necessary amino acid that helps produce niacin. Niacin is vital in producing serotonin which is commonly known as the “feel good” chemical.
Cacao also causes our brain to release endorphins, effectively reducing our overall stress. Meaning, the higher the percentage of cacao in your chocolate bar, the more it will help you feel happy. Next time you are looking for a quick snack, grab a dark chocolate bar. Eating it in moderation will not only be good for your physical health, but for your mental health as well.
6. Make A Daily To-Do List
Mental Health News: 5 Hikes For Mindfulness This Summer
Want to feel productive and lessen your anxiety? Make a to-do list. Many people have mixed feelings when it comes to to-do lists. Some swear by them, whereas others can’t tolerate them at all. Some psychologists say that they can worsen feelings of anxiety in individuals. However, it has been proven that making a plan satisfies the cognitive processes that promote goal pursuit.
When we effectively plan out our path to our goal, we can prioritize what is important versus what can be done later. Thus, making the list and our path to our goal more manageable. By setting manageable goals and reaching them, our brain releases dopamine. This allows us to feel satisfied and accomplished, which benefits our mental health and improves our mood.
Mental Health News: "I'm Fine": How to Talk to the Men in Your Life About Their Mental Health
There is an old saying that has been floating around for decades, “grin and bear it”, meaning smile and carry on. As odd as it seems, this actually works. The muscle movements of a smile stimulate the amygdala, the part of the brain responsible for perceiving emotions. In a study published by the Journal of Experimental Psychology, it was discovered that smiling can trick our brains into feeling happy.
By triggering the amygdala with a smile, our brain releases dopamine and serotonin, making us believe we are happy. Serotonin eases our stress levels and dopamine can increase our happiness. Smiles are a great way to boost your mood, even fake ones. If you are feeling your mood sink, try smiling for a few minutes and see how you feel.
8. Take 10 Deep Breaths
Mental Health News: Resources For Dealing With Depression
Deep breathing is a tried-and-true way to calm the mind and improve our mental wellbeing. Deep breathing helps the body regulate depression, anxiety, stress, and fatigue. It also helps individuals increase their state of mindfulness. Mindfulness encourages the development of positive feelings, reduces stress, and increases our sense of awareness. There are several mindfulness meditations that focus on deep breathing.
According to the Center for Healthy Minds, people with higher levels of awareness have higher levels of positive emotions and wellbeing. The exercise they recommend for gaining mindfulness is to close your eyes and take 10 deep breaths. As you count each breath, notice how you feel as you breathe. This will help increase your sense of awareness and improve your mood.
9. Connect With Friends
Mental Health News: Resources For Dealing With Anxiety
When it comes to improving our mood, social connections are important. Our relationships with those around us often affect our mood. In times of stress there is no better way to feel better than to connect with your friends. By having the support of those around us we will feel secure in our decisions and feel better in our day-to-day lives.
According to Mental Health America, the key difference between happy people and very happy people was having good relationships with those around them. It has been found that isolation leads to health risks such as high blood pressure levels and shorter lifespans. Because we are social creatures, we need these positive relationships in our lives in order to feel happier.
Mental Health News: Spring Cleaning for Your Mental Health
Throughout the world, dancing is often associated with positive memories and social gatherings. The term “dancing for joy” exists for a reason, dancing is a proven way to improve mental health. Dancing is a form of exercise. It’s a fun activity that increases our blood circulation and gets our muscles moving. Just like the other aerobic exercises mentioned earlier, it releases endorphins which increase the production of dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin. All these chemicals are essential in regulating our moods and in helping us feel happy.
Hanna Poikonen of the Cognitive Brain Research Unit at the University of Helsinki, found that dance and other expressive forms of therapy help lessen mental fluctuations before the full onset of depression. Other studies have seen similar effects, where movement therapy decreased levels of depression in individuals. Dancing is just as effective as journaling, meditating, exercising, and more. Allow yourself to be silly for a few moments and dance, you will be surprised at how uplifting it can be for your mood.
If you are feeling down, try some of these activities and remember that the Jefferson Center’s Colorado Spirit team is here for you for all your mental health needs. Offering free and confidential support, we can help you with counseling tips and strategies to cope successfully and referrals to additional mental health resources. Call us if you need to talk at 720-731-4689.
If you or someone you know is in a crisis, please contact Jefferson Center at 303-425-0300 or by calling the crisis line at 844-493-8255. The 24/7 crisis walk-in center and withdrawal management program is open at 4643 Wadsworth Blvd, Wheat Ridge, CO 80033.