Research in neuroscience has told us that it only takes 60 seconds to change your mood, to course-correct your feelings of stress to success to feel calm and collected. Changing a “bad” mood into a good one with mood-regulating behaviour can also help raise energy levels, reduce tension, and manage stress.
Feeling low and a little (always) pressed for time? Here are some tricks that you already have up your sleeve to help boost your mood.
A paper from the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology showed that the most common categories that have a positive effect on mood are “affiliate communications (call, talk to, or be with someone), cognitive self-control (giving yourself a pep-talk), and analysis reflection (trying to determine why the change in mood occurred)”.
Today, exercise still tops the charts as the best way to combat looming doom and gloom but when we have shorter periods available to us, we can use one of these 9 strategies to lift our spirits in just a few moments.
Smell some citrus
Lemons and oranges are well known for their Vitamin C properties but when sniffed for their scent the fruit, a scented fragrance or room spray can help boost your energy and alertness. Coupled with a positive affirmation such as “What could I do?” can help to keep perspective about the things you can control.
Let out a laugh at work
Working in teams means there will be moments when everyone must come together. Some of these meetings can either leave you feeling lifted or a little overwhelmed or more confused than you were before you met. When tensions arise, it is a great time to make use of a “joke break” to bring calm to tough situations. Share a joke you might have on hand or ask Google. It helps foster camaraderie and provides a mental break.
Before getting out of bed in the morning boost your mood with a positive affirmation. When you open your eyes to each new day say to yourself ‘Today will be a great day!’ or something similar. By doing this you call to attention all the things big and small that can go right during your day, making the other things a little less wrong.
Stop negativity with gratitude
The second a negative thought begins to creep into your mind, take a moment to consciously interrupt those thoughts and instead focus on being grateful. Start with the things you have in your life, like books, people you love, your pet, a favourite place, your favourite meal. Then think about the things you get to enjoy, a deep breath, sunshine, touch, and taste. Even if it takes a few minutes there is always at least one thing to be grateful for and even that is enough.
Show me the funny
The internet is full of funny and cute videos of everything from smiling toddlers to talented pets. Laughter is the best medicine and when your mood is off, watching a funny video or two helps to reset your state of mind. Share them with others and have a whole room filled with laughter, spreading joy increases it, so show them off.
Be kind to yourself
When you are being too hard on yourself, as we often are, words of self-compassion immediately boost your mood. Tell yourself that ‘It’s Okay. You are Okay. It is normal to feel angry/frustrated/upset. These feelings are valid. You have got this!’.
Take a walk
Walk away from everything that causes you grief or brings you stress. A quick walk outside puts you in touch with your natural surroundings while also getting your blood to circulate. Taking in what is around in your environment can ground you in the present, giving you a sense of calm and peace.
Turn up the volume
Play your favourite songs! This is always a great way to get you smiling and can bring to mind happy memories and positive emotions. Your happiness can be spread to others so if you have an opportunity to play your music out loud, turn up the volume!
It takes only a moment to send someone a kind message but that effort can make the world of difference. A loving text, email, or even a short voice note lets a person know that they have crossed your mind and that you care which is always something you can feel good about.
Overall, whenever you feel low remember that a little goes a long way – and then some.