How to Improve Your Mood: 4 Simple Ways

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A good start to your day can set your mood for the rest of the day and lead to a great day in general.

The top ways to have that solid, great morning – to start your day off the “right” way:

  • Social: Meet a friend for coffee or turn off the morning news and talk with your family.
  • Energetic: Walking the dog or gardening is always a great way to start the morning.
  • Productive: Getting errands, cleaning or work done relieves stress and tension (and anxiety) for the rest of the days.

Sometimes a morning like this is not possible due to sleep, weather or just being “off”.

This doesn’t mean that your day is “done” or destined to be negative. Don’t give up on today – it’s not over yet!

There’s only so much time so try to make the best out of it.

Here are a few easy and simple tips to turn a dreadful day to a positive one.

1. Gratitude Meditation – Be Thankful for the Simple Things

Gratitude is a daily exercise that can be extremely beneficial for mental health.

The simplest exercises are usually the best medicine and this is one of my favorites.

I sit in silence, complete silence, for about 2 minutes. For extra focus, often times, I turn off the lights as well. This helps me to focus on turning off the negative thoughts.

I tell myself, “It’s ok to not feel well right now, but what can I be grateful for in my life.”

Just this simple line is like a ray of sunshine. I almost always have the same list of simple items:

  • My kids
  • My family
  • Our house
  • Having enough food to eat

This simple exercise flips the mindset from negative to positive and it’s easy to continue the positive train of thought.

Take one of the simple positive ideas about your life and expand to more positive thoughts of gratitude. Such as look around your house and be thankful for having heat and a warm house to come home to, a nice bed to sleep in at night, food for yourself and your family.

Making those small, everyday items that you take for granted every day makes me realize just how grateful I am for my life.

Take time each and every day to appreciate the simple, often over-looked items in your life and appreciate those things every day.

Keeping a daily, usually morning gratitude journal and repeat gratitude for life. Daily gratitude has been shown to change the neural pathways and rewire your brain’s structure, making you a happier and healthier person all round.

Research conducted by scientists from the University of Los Angeles has revealed that the simple act of being thankful (on a daily basis) for what you have in life can have a long-lasting and positive effect of multiple areas in the brain.

This is due to the fact that the feeling of gratitude results in synchronized activation throughout the brain and, when viewed on an MRI scan of the head, it lights up areas in the brain that process emotions. The neural pathways and the hypothalamus are stimulated which has almost the same result as taking an anti-depressant.

Furthermore, meditating on your gratitude has been shown to boost serotonin (a neurotransmitter) levels in the brain and also encourages it to produce more dopamine.

2. Focus on Progression in Life, Ditch Perfection

Negative self-talk is often times the culprit for negativity in our lives. By focusing on progression towards goals and small steps or milestones, this helps change that negative mindset to positive.

Perfection is difficult to deal with and by changing the way we talk to ourselves we can focus on the positive things in life.

Unfortunately, we are our harshest critic, and perfectionism can hold you back from so much in life. You do NOT need to be perfect to do something; just try it.

Stop being so hard on yourself and simply try your best everyday- it’s the only thing you can really do!

Striving for perfection is a positive attribute but it should not be obsessed about as this can lead to excessive stress levels, a loss of creativity, fatigue, low self-esteem and never feeling happy with your life.

Many perfectionists also procrastinate, waiting for the perfect circumstances to arise before they feel able to tackle a task. When they eventually do work on a project, they often find that they can simply not complete it as their efforts have not been good enough. Ironically, this results in a task being incomplete, late or sub-standard- the very thing you were trying to avoid in the first place!

Once you have learned that putting in your best effort is more than enough, you will no longer avoid working and your productivity and quality of your work will improve.

3. Act Like You Want to Feel and Stop Feeling Sorry for Yourself

Psychologists have for many years known that feelings (in and of themselves) are not the enemy. It is what one chooses to do with these feelings that can have either a positive or negative outcome.

For example, you might be feeling angry about an incident in your office but it is entirely up to you whether or not you lose your temper, act in an unprofessional manner due to your emotions or wait for the anger to subside until you are able to think about the situation logically, rationally and objectively before responding.

The same goes for our mood. No one wants to feel depressed but if we decide that we want to feel happier and better about ourselves, we can change our mindset into a more positive one. This may not take away the depression completely, but it can certainly go a long way to helping us feel less sad.

Feeling sorry for yourself makes you into a victim but if you choose to be an overcomer, you empower yourself into being a happier and more balanced person. 

Related: Sometimes The Season Isn’t So Bright: How To Cope With Holiday Depression

4. Get Moving

Exercise is a great mood buster – physiologically and mentally. Not only does working out increase the level of endorphins (the “feel good” hormones) in the body, but it also helps you to cope better with stress and sleep better.

In fact, research has shown that exercising on a regular basis can be just as, or even more, effective than taking an anti-depressant. This is because working out stimulates the hippocampus to regulate our mood more effectively.

REFERENCES:

  1. https://www.helpguide.org/articles/healthy-living/the-mental-health-benefits-of-exercise.htm
  2. https://thriveglobal.com/stories/how-gratitude-actually-changes-your-brain-and-is-good-for-business/
  3. https://www.consciouslifestylemag.com/benefits-of-gratitude-research/
  4. https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/new-thoughts-about-gratitude-charity-and-our-brains/2018/12/21/238986e6-f808-11e8-8d64-4e79db33382f_story.html
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