Whether it’s stress from a looming work deadline, relationship troubles, or even the weather, a variety of factors take a toll on our mood.
It’s not uncommon to experience what some call “the blues.”
This can last for a day or two, or it can persist for several weeks.
Fortunately, you don’t just have to wait for it to go away. Here are a few things that you can do to boost yourself.
Get Some Exercise
While exercise is likely one of the last things you want to do when you’re feeling down in the dumps, it’s actually one of the fastest ways to lift your mood. Even five minutes of activity can help you feel better about yourself and your life. Not only can exercise distract you from your troubles, but it also gets your blood pumping and sends a flood of endorphins – feel-good chemicals – to your brain.
And keep in mind that exercise to improve your mood doesn’t have to be anything formal – take a walk, dance around your living room, go to a fitness class…Whatever type of exercise you’ll enjoy doing is the right one for you.
Spend Time with Others
It may be tempting to isolate yourself and indulge in a pity party or binge-watching session to deal with your blue mood, but this can actually cause more harm than good. As a rule, people are social creatures, and you need to interact with other people. Make sure you still make time for friends and family.
Schedule a phone call or video chat with a friend, plan a social outing ahead of time, host or attend a game night. Find things you have in common with others and do those things together. This may not solve your problems, but it will keep you from wallowing, which can prolong your struggles.
Tweak Your Diet
The saying “you are what you eat” may not be literal, but the food that you put in your body can have an impact on you. Consuming a lot of simple sugars can put you on a roller coaster of energy, making it harder to work consistently.
Certain “downers” like alcohol can also have a negative impact on your mood. Instead, try to eat balanced meals so you have the energy to tackle your day and you don’t experience energy crashes.
Use Comforting Scents
Our sense of smell ties pretty closely to our emotions, so using scents that you associate with good things can help you feel better as well. Try diffusing an essential oil or dabbing it on your wrists and temples so you can smell it as you go about your day. Oils such as spikenard and ylang ylang have been historically used to promote relaxation, so these may be a good oil to start with.
Recognize the Good
Retraining your brain to focus on the good can help you beat back a bad mood by redirecting your focus from your struggles to the things that are going well. Take time at the start of the day to jot down five things you are grateful for as the day starts. As you go throughout your day, every time you have a negative thought, think of something positive to counteract. It may take a little time, but soon you will start to see more good than bad in your life.
It’s normal to feel down once in a while and even to struggle to get your mood back up. But you don’t have to resort to chemical health products. Use these tips to improve your mood naturally, and you’ll likely be surprised how quickly things start looking up.