5 Ways To Improve Your Mood Right Now
We all have those days where it seems like nothing is going right and life just sucks. It can be something as mundane as someone cutting you off in traffic, or more serious issues like illness or family problems. Whether big or small, life’s challenges can affect our attitude in a negative way. And while there is a profound difference between depression and being in a bad mood, there are several ways to lift your spirits in the here and now regardless of what you’re going through.
Take a Walk
The health benefits of exercise are almost endless, and the way it affects your mood is just as important as increasing physical endurance. In addition to reducing the risks of many physical diseases, regular exercise has been found to be very effective in treating some forms of depression and anxiety. The great thing is, you don’t have to knock yourself out at the gym to enjoy the benefits. Getting outside for a long walk, breathing in some fresh air and maybe exploring a different view releases feel-good endorphins into your brain, which helps enhance a general sense of wellbeing.
Call a Friend
Even introverts need human connection in their lives. Building relationships with family, friends and community is an important part of maintaining our mental health, and sometimes just chatting with another person can provide an unexpected boost. Whether you want to vent about things or simply enjoy time with others to get your mind off your troubles, taking time out of your day to talk to the important people in your life can not only help your mood, but often gives a sense of perspective on life’s bigger picture.
Watch a Funny Movie
It turns out that the old saying of laughter being the best medicine is really true. Laughter not only makes you feel good in the moment, it strengthens the immune system, reduces stress and improves both physical and mental health. The act of laughing relieves pain and tension, relaxes muscles and promotes calmness. So don’t feel guilty about zoning out on Netflix, that favorite comedy might actually help you feel better!
Eat Some Chocolate
If you’ve ever wanted an excuse to eat chocolate, here it is. Chocolate, especially the darker varieties, contains nutrients called flavonoids that have many health benefits, one of which is reducing stress and improving mood. Dark chocolate stimulates endorphins and contains serotonin, which works like a natural anti-depressant. When the serotonin in your brain increases, you feel less stress and anxiety. Serotonin tends to get low in women just before they start their menstrual cycle, which might explain why we feel that craving for chocolate at certain times of the month.
Read a Book
There’s nothing like getting lost in another world to take your mind off your own troubles. Studies show that if a person is able to shift their thoughts to other things, it helps ease depression, stress and anxiety. Literature has long been considered a powerfully therapeutic tool in shifting those negative thoughts to something more positive. Reading a book won’t just improve your mood, it can expand your mind, too. Reading increases reasoning skills, enhances empathy and gives us a greater understanding of the world around us. In books we can travel to faraway lands or explore different ideas without ever leaving home.