Many ways to improve your mood take hours, days, and even weeks. However, you want to feel better right away!
Before investing your time and money in long-term strategies to improve your mood, think small. Boost your mood right away with these 7 quick tips. You can feel happier right away and use these small victories to gain confidence in yourself. Once you know you really can take action to improve your mood, you’ll be ready for bigger, longer-lasting solutions.
In short, these mood boosters work quickly and give you the energy you need to adopt longer-term solutions. Remember, we’ve provided this list of suggestions for people with occasional bad moods, not clinical depression. If you have a serious mood disorder like depression, please seek the advice of a medical professional right away.
1) Treat Yourself
You don’t have to wait for “Treat Yo Self Day” – just go ahead and get that latte, treat, consumer item, or other impulse buy you’ve denied yourself. Sure, we can’t treat ourselves every day, but these little mood lifters work wonders on down days. At the very least, the short-term elevated mood you get from splurging can give you the energy to try the other suggestions in this article. Besides, experts at the Paris HEC Business School have identified “self-treating” behaviors as a healthy part of psychological self-repair. So, go out and buy yourself a fun little mood lifter and keep moving forward towards your goals!
2) Complete a Small Task
Happiness comes from enjoying the journey, not just the end result. Improve your mood by stepping back from the big, overwhelming items on your to-do list. Scroll down and pick one of those little jobs that never seem important enough to complete – but nag at the back of your mind. Simply organizing a messy area, writing a short email you’ve put off for too long, or addressing one of your pet projects can quickly improve your mood.
3) Enjoy Healthy Mood Boosting Foods and Drinks
Sure, you may occasionally need to treat yourself with something sweet to improve your mood and create emotional momentum. However, according to a University of Iowa researcher, a complicated relationship exists between mood, food, and obesity. We can become addicted to the dopamine hits associated with food and make poor food choices. After indulging in a craving, use some of that happiness and motivation to energize the rest of your day in a healthy way. Instead of another sugary drink, cookie, or bag of chips, go out and get yourself the healthiest meal you can find. Drink water, decaf coffee/tea, or a smoothie to keep yourself from crashing later in the day. To learn more, we recommend reading our article Good Mood Food: The 7 Best Mood Boosting Foods.
4) Stop Worrying
– Mark Twain
When we realize the futility of worrying, we can learn to stay in the present moment. Instead of replaying the past or speculating about our future, we can let go of our attachment to the scenarios we imagine. It only takes a moment to release your negative feelings and breathe easy.
In his #1 New York Times Bestseller The Power of Now, Eckhart Tolle describes how we can gain peace and clarity by accepting and fully entering the present moment. Spend less time in your head and more in your body; when you need to improve your mood, simply take a moment to pay attention to what you can sense in your body and environment, not your worries about the past and the future. With relaxation and awareness, you can stop yourself when you feel your good mood faltering and keep your mood elevated. If you notice anxious feelings already setting in, use our tips on how to calm anxiety to reduce anxiety.
5) Find Fulfillment by Helping Others
People who volunteer at food banks, homeless shelters, animal shelters, and for any other good causes do it for one reason: it makes them feel good about themselves, while improving someone else’s quality of life. A research team led by Case Western University scholars found elderly people benefited greatly from helping others. Donating to charity, aiding people in need, tipping, and formal volunteering all act as natural mood lifters and make people feel more satisfied with life. You’ll be surprised how quickly this helps you get out of a bad mood.
Take a moment and help someone with a task, give them a smile, or share a bit of money. You’ll be amazed by the results – and your new, happy mood!
6) Release Yourself from Judgment
Don’t compare yourself to others; everyone has different emotional, mental, and physical limits. However, don’t get too comfortable in low-energy states of mind and bad moods. Improve your mood by competing with yourself over the long haul. Remind yourself of past accomplishments, even on days that feel unproductive. Notice your gradual improvements over time at the skills you value most. Don’t see the occasional dips in your progress, see yourself from a higher perspective and celebrate your long-term victories.
Remember to check in with your friends and colleagues to maintain a balanced perspective. For example, a University of California, Riverside research team found study participants judged themselves more harshly than their peers and acquaintances did. Get a coffee or step outside for a break when your friends and colleagues do; a little emotional support and a fresh perspective can turn your day around – fast!
7) Exercise and Enjoy Better Sleep
A researcher at the University of South Carolina highlighted exercise’s potential for improving sleep quality. Tire your body out naturally after a long day, release endorphins, and give yourself the peaceful, restorative sleep you deserve. It’s a reliable way to improve your mood!
A team from Finland’s University of Turko pointed out sleep’s ability to restore cognitive function. Without enough time for sleep each night, you can build up a “Sleep debt” that can only end in decreased mood and an eventual crash. With a steady sleep schedule, you can get more done in less time – so don’t indulge in the temptation to work late – at least not on a regular basis.
Moving Beyond the Small Stuff
By following the advice in this article, you can improve your mood quickly and gain the energy you need to engage in longer-term solutions. By learning how to make your day better in these small, concrete ways, you can brighten any gloomy day. You’ll even perk up those around you, leading to a virtuous cycle of positivity. We recommend combining these tips with our most important 3 steps on how to be happy in life. Don’t just read this article and go back to your old habits. Take a small step toward happiness, right away!
- Today Is Treat Yo Self Day, The Best Day Of The Year: https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/treat-yo-self-day-october-13_us_561d4bf8e4b0c5a1ce60ba55
- Small splurges, large benefits: https://www.hec.edu/Knowledge/Marketing/Consumer-Behavior/Small-splurges-large-benefits
- Five Instant Mood Boosters to Try Today: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/in-practice/201707/five-instant-mood-boosters-try-today
- Mood, food, and obesity: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4150387/
- The Power of Now: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/6708.The_Power_of_Now
- Altruism, Helping, and Volunteering: Pathways to Well-Being in Late Life: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3910233/
- Comparing the accuracy of personality judgments by the self and knowledgeable others: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8656321
- Effects of exercise on sleep: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15892929
- Sleep deprivation: Impact on cognitive performance: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2656292/