We all need a little pick-me-up sometimes. You know those days: when closing your eyes for a nap is preferable to just about everything else, or when everyone and everything seems out to annoy you? We all have days like that. But how do you respond to a bad mood? Pop a pill or pour a glass of wine? Maybe just fall into bed and escape into dreamland? You wouldn’t be the only one. There are, however, better ways to boost your mood, and we’ve listed 15 of them below.
Get a Good Night’s Sleep.
Getting a good night’s sleep allows you to wake up healthy and refreshed the next morning. An adult should get 6-8 hours of sleep per night. Anything less can certainly bring down your mood in a very short time. To ensure you’re sleeping well, make simple changes to your nighttime routine: no electronics 30 minutes before bed; make your sleep environment as dark as possible, and relegate any restless pets to a spot on the floor.
Reminisce with Old Photos.
It may be hard to believe, but there’s a way to boost your mood that is even more effective than eating chocolate. Scientists at Open University in the United Kingdom conducted a study that concluded that looking at old photos made people feel happier than eating chocolate, enjoying an alcoholic drink, or watching television. Interestingly, the alcohol and television caused only about a 1% increase in mood, while the old photographs increased the test subjects’ moods by a whopping 11%. To boost your mood, post some photos at eye-level in places you frequent: your office space; on your nightstand, or even above the kitchen sink.
Say a Little Prayer.
According to the Journal of Economic Psychology, those who regularly attend religious services are happier than those who don’t. The Journal asserts that, “Faith and prayer, regardless of religion, satisfy a basic need to feel part of something bigger than ourselves.” But don’t worry if faith or praying isn’t for you. Any kind of spiritual practice — including meditating or attending a restorative yoga class — has been proven to be a mood booster.
Eat More Fruit.
Not only is fruit good for your body, it’s also good for your mind. Fruits such as bananas, cherries, pineapple, kiwi, plums, and tomatoes are naturally high in serotonin, a chemical that has been proven to stimulate the human brain into a good mood. No wonder people with depression are often instructed to include more of these fruits into their diets! Another good natural chemical to add to your diet is tryptophan. A natural mood booster, tryptophan is commonly found in foods like chicken and turkey, cottage cheese, eggs, beans, and nuts.
Take a Walk.
There is a solid link between those who frequently stay indoors and neurodevelopmental disorders and depression. Sunlight naturally increases the production of vitamin D in the human body, a vitamin that is necessary for the body’s central nervous system to work properly. When you’re feeling down, naturally lift your spirits by taking a walk. Listen to the sounds of nature, reflect on a recent success, and enjoy the sunshine.
Journal the Good Stuff.
Keeping a positivity journal is a favorite tool of psychologists looking to help their patients naturally boost their moods. Every evening before bed, write down three things about your day that went well. There is no need to write a novel each night, but briefly reflecting upon the good parts of your day will ultimately help to train your brain to see the positives.
Play With Your Dog.
There’s a reason dogs are known as man’s best friend. When you’re feeling low, initiate a game of fetch with your favorite fur friend, take her for a walk, or at the very least, get down on the ground and give her a good pet. Countless studies have shown that spending just 10 minutes a day in close contact with a dog is good for our mood — and our soul.
Drink Less Alcohol.
Pouring a drink after a difficult day is so common it’s practically cliché. Though it’s meant to make us feel better, little do most of us realize that alcohol is a depressant. A night of drinking often leads to a low mood the next day, which in turn leads to another drink come evening — see the problem? Next time you’re hoping to boost your mood with a glass of wine, skip it and go for something else. We guarantee you’ll notice a difference.
And on that note, another great natural way to boost your mood is to drink water. Lots of it! Purified water contains various minerals that help to clean your blood of toxins, including from those toxins in your brain. Drinking water with lemon, especially in the afternoon, has been repeatedly proven to boost both mood and energy.
Do a Good Deed.
Being helpful is something all humans naturally crave, and is a great way to boost your mood and self-esteem, according to a study published in the Journal of Social Service Research. Volunteer at your local animal shelter, donate blood, or help an elderly neighbor rake his leaves — the list of potential good deeds is practically endless.
Various studies have shown that if we force ourselves to smile, we’ll begin to feel better. Look in the mirror and make yourself grin. Fake it ’til you make it, as they say. When you’re out and about, go a little bit further and make yourself smile at the people you see.
Just to be clear, we’re not suggesting you have sex with just anybody in order to boost your mood (as that can actually have the opposite effect). But if you’re in a committed relationship, spending some intimate time with your partner is a great way to lift your spirits.
According to Dr. Elaine Aron, our moods are boosted when we create order — or even just the illusion of it. Spend some time clearing out the clutter that has accumulated in your closet, kitchen, or office. Throw away or donate those things taking up too much space, then go over the area with a duster. According to Dr. Aron, even shuffling a few papers so things appear neater can go a long way to lifting your spirits.
Rearrange Your Furniture.
You know that feeling of excitement you get while traveling in a new place, or even just taking a different route to work? You feel that boost because it’s something new! A change in environment! But since you’re not likely going to be able to travel any time you feel a little depressed, initiate those same feelings by rearranging the furniture in your house. Even a move as simple as placing the sofa against the opposite wall is enough to switch up your brain and boost your mood.
Go Buy or Pick Some Flowers.
Can you believe something as simple as flowers can boost your mood naturally? Various studies have proven that taking a few minutes to look at and smell flowers not only brings about more feelings of happiness, but also makes us more productive. So next time you’re at the grocery store, pick up some fresh flowers to place on your kitchen table and feel your mood boost instantly.