Now and then, one needs a pick-me-up. Everyday life can be stressful and random, unexpected events – whether minor or significant – can bring down your emotions, and it’s not always easy to figure out how to improve your mood on bad days.
Well, guess what? It doesn’t take much to help your brain feel a little bit better, and you can do many different kinds of things to improve your emotional state in a pinch. Here are six simple ways to boost your mood to feel better right now.
1. Breathe In Some Nice Scents
Scents are a powerful way to engage your sense of smell to improve your mood. The scents you inhale can change the way you feel. Using essential oil diffusers, perfumes and soaps, scented candles, and even air fresheners in the good smells can provide you with the pick-me-up you need. The most effective scents to try are as follows:
Orange, lemon, and lime are all great citrus scents, and research indicates that they can help relieve anxious thoughts and feelings while improving mood.
The smell of newly cut grass can be good for your mood, giving you stress relief and happiness, according to studies. This may be due to the chemical that freshly cut grass releases, so you may have to find newly mowed grass to test this out!
Famous for its calming effects, lavender has effects on GABA, a kind of hormone that regulates emotion and stress. Studies have found that it has positive effects on feelings of restlessness, agitation, aggression, and anger, thanks to how it affects nervous system responses.
Studies have found that vanilla beings can increase positive thinking, relaxation, and even feelings of joy.
2. Get Attuned To Music
You know that your sense of smell can boost your mood – and your sense of hearing can too! More specifically, though, music is capable of changing your attitude dramatically for more reasons than just the engagement of your ears. There’s a reason many people turn to music to set moods, hype themselves up, or even encourage a good cry. If you want to improve positive thinking with music, here are some ways to do so:
· Listen To A Cheerful Song
Upbeat music is a great way to boost mood. Studies have found that you can feel much happier when you listen to feel-good songs. So when you need a way to perk up, put on some cheerful tunes, or even make a playlist that you have ready to go when you need it!
When you play your cheerful music, dancing along can help bring the mood up even more! Not only is dance a form of exercise, meaning it releases feel-good neurotransmitters like endorphins, but it also enables you to feel freer and more relaxed, according to studies. If dancing isn’t your thing, you can go for a brisk walk while listening to tunes for a similar – though not as strong – result. However, there’s something to be said about learning to let loose and dance, even if it feels silly!
Once again, cheerful music can have even better effects if you sing along to them. Research indicates that positive hormones like oxytocin and endorphins, which make you feel happy and reduce stress, are released when you sing. Singing in groups is one of the best ways to get these benefits, but even just singing alone can help soothe you and bring your mood up.
3. Seek And Be Grateful For Positive Things
Gratitude is often overlooked in life. Everyone’s so busy that it can be tough to stop and appreciate everyday things. This is a mistake for those seeking mood boosts, though! Research finds that expressing gratitude and appreciation – or even just feeling those emotions yourself – can improve your mood and change the structure of your brain for long-term happiness.
Gratitude doesn’t have to be something big and fancy. You can experience and express gratitude for positive things in your life by seeking out the good in the world. You can also:
- Revisit good memories and feelings
- Reflect on life lessons and experience to find silver linings
- List three things every day that you are grateful for
- Thank people more often for what they do
Human beings were never meant to spend their entire lives cooped up in concrete buildings 24/7. Engaging in the world beyond your walls can improve your mood and is just good for your psyche and wellbeing in general. Here are some specific ways to boost mood with the great outdoors:
· Be Amongst Green
Head outdoors and go to a nearby park or any location with some nature in it. Five minutes spent wandering in a lovely green space can be sufficient to boost positive thinking, according to research.
· Go For A Walk to Improve Your Mood
Spending an hour or so strolling in a natural setting can be beneficial to your overall mood. Nature walks have a wonderful way of calming the mind because they decrease activity in the brain’s prefrontal cortex, according to studies. It is this part of the brain that, when overactivated, contributes to feelings of stress, anxiety, and depression.
· Look Out The Window
Can’t go outside at the moment, but need that good mood boost? Expose yourself to sunlight from your window and observe the world outside. Natural light exposure has immeasurable positive benefits for your wellbeing, and basking in the warm sunny glow can help take your mind off your stress for a moment.
· Volunteer For Nature-Related Causes
If you need more excuse to spend time in the great outdoors, you can opt to volunteer for a charity organization that spends time outside often, such as a Wildlife Trust, an animal shelter that needs dog-walkers, or anything similar. You’ll get the mood boost from doing a good deed, the motivation to continue the practice, and the positive thinking from nature exposure all in one!
5. Make Yourself Express Good Mood
Expressing positive feelings can further intensify them, adding to the overall already good mood you’re in. But did you know that expressing positivity when you don’t feel any is actually a fairly reliable way to improve your emotional state?
As it turns out, the human brain often can’t tell the difference between real and acted happiness in itself. So when you display common signs of good emotions, it begins to produce feel-good hormones regardless. It’s a neat trick! Here’s how to use it:
Smiling can be the reason you feel good instead of the other way around. This is because the expression releases feel-good hormones like serotonin, endorphins, and dopamine while also producing neuropeptides, which are crucial in stress management. Research has found that smiling can enhance positive experiences, so faking a smile may actually make you happy!
Laughter is a wonderful way to bring up your positive hormones and reduce stress. It works best when genuine, and fake laughter certainly feels awkward. So you can try watching or reading funny media, trolling the Internet for silly videos, or talking to friends who always make you laugh.
· Seek Good Things In Life
Good things aren’t always obvious. Sometimes, they’re even hidden. Make it a point to find silver linings and notice them. This will change the way you say the world in the long term, but it will still benefit a little mood boost in the short term. There’s something comforting about knowing that, no matter what happens, there is always something positive to be found in it.
6. Interact With Others
People often joke about social interaction being the bane of their existence. While introverts and those with social anxiety can experience difficulty in high levels of social interaction, just a little bit of contact with others can boost mood significantly.
Different people enjoy different levels of social activity, so the trick is knowing how much you personally need to work with. Once you determine that, you can use interaction to help boost mood when you need a little help in your day. Here are some ways to do so:
· Call A Friend
Staying in touch with friends can be a great way to feel socially connected to others. If you’re not able to see them in person, calling each other now and then, whether via simple voice call or video call, can help you feel happier. Do note that it’s the quality of your friendships, not how many friends you have, that makes a difference! So stay in touch with positive people and give them a call to cheer both of you up!
· Chat With A Stranger
Not everyone is happy talking to strangers, but you don’t need to have an in-depth conversation with a fellow commuter on the bus to enjoy the benefits of a chat. A little small talk, a quick “how are you” or “good morning,” a brisk compliment given respectfully, or even a little eye contact and a friendly nod can help give you the positive boost to your day you didn’t realize you needed.
· Hug Someone
Physical touch with others produces feel-good hormones, specifically oxytocin, which is commonly called the cuddle hormone. This can help you feel more secure and safe while promoting mental wellbeing, according to studies. A hug is a fantastic way to give and take warmth while lowering stress. If a hug isn’t available, receiving a pat on the back or engaging in any positive physical touch can provide similar benefits.
· Pet An Animal
If interacting with humans isn’t something you have the energy for today, or if you can’t contact people right now, petting an animal can provide some of those socialization benefits, say studies! Feel-good hormones like oxytocin, serotonin, and prolactin are released when you play with, cuddle, and pet your furry friends, like dogs or cats, and you’ll find that your stress levels are dropping too.
It’s perfectly normal to have ups and downs daily, which is why learning how to make yourself feel better quickly and conveniently can be useful for everyday mood and productivity. Use these little pick-me-ups whenever you need a bit of help perking up!