6 Small Life Changes That Can Boost Your Mood
How many times during the week or even during the day do you find yourself in a bad mood? You may be surprised to realize that you find yourself in a slumped mood rather frequently. Sure, it’s because life is stressful and complicated, but shouldn’t we all get over this fact and accept it? Yes — but there are also little things that we can do to speed this acceptance process along.
It’s time to stop blaming “Mondays” or a ” heavy workload,” and begin to pinpoint specific parts of our lives that might be contributing to the bad moods we get into. If your mood is really getting the best of you, it’s time to start making small changes to your daily regimen that can help you see the brighter side of things.
Try and remember this one thought as you seek to change little things in your life: All the time that you spend miserable or in a bad mood is time that you’ll never be able to get back. On that note, here are six things you can try to lift your spirits.
1. Don’t hit the snooze
Hitting your snooze button in the morning can actually ruin your day. When you wake to your alarm and decide to go back to sleep by hitting the snooze, your body thinks “false alarm” — you didn’t need to get up in the first place. Once the alarm goes off a second time, Rafael Pelayo, MD, a sleep specialist at the Stanford University Sleep Medicine Center, says in a Huffington Post article that your body and brain are taken by surprise, leaving you groggy and with a fuzzy-head feeling called “sleep inertia.”
The more you hit the snooze, the more confused your brain and body get. It asks: Are you asleep or awake? The answer to that question is that you’ll probably feel more out of it for a while. Research has found that this type of sleep inertia can persist for up to two to four hours after last hitting the snooze and can leave you in a bad mood and feeling tired. It could also cause you to run late, which adds even more stress to your life.
2. Make your bed
By not hitting your snooze button you actually have the time to do this. Making your bed in the morning is considered a “keystone habit” that supersedes all your other good habits, and it’ll leave you feeling ready to take on the day. It sets the tone for your productivity for the rest of the day.
According to an article published in Apartment Therapy that references the work of Charles Duhigg, who explains in his book The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life And Business, that “making your bed every morning is correlated with better productivity and stronger skills at sticking with a budget,” and it can even lead to happier days ahead.
3. Go for a run, even it’s just a short one (bonus points if it’s in the morning)
To get the blood flowing and the oxygen circulating in your body, all while boosting your mood, go for a run. There’s a reason why there’s something called a runner’s high. There aren’t too many unhappy runners out there. A mere 30 minutes of walking (or running!) on a treadmill can do wonders for your mood, and can even lift the spirits of someone dealing with a major depressive disorder, according to a 2006 study published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise.
What’s more, running can increase the levels of neurotransmitters such as epinephrine, serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine, which all influence your energy levels and are responsible for making you feel good after a work out, says Pete McCall an ACE-certified Personal Trainer (ACE-CPT). Additionally, try some of these tips from Runner’s World to mold yourself not only into a morning runner but a happier person.
4. Go on a social media cleanse
Remember the days when you weren’t attached to your phone? ‘Twas a magical time indeed. Sometimes you just need to unplug, breathe, and reboot. You may not realize this but excessive social media usage can actually leave you feeling depressed. Leaving us knowing too much about other’s perceived happiness and accomplishments puts us in a horrible mood. A new study out of the University of Michigan observed that the more college-aged adults used Facebook, the worse they felt. The study, which was published in the journal PLOS One, found that their Facebook use led to declines in moment-to-moment happiness and overall life satisfaction.
5. Eat a little healthier (to start, at least)
When you’re feeling stressed, the first thing you want to reach for is some comfort food. Eating deep-dish pizza might make you feel temporarily better, but that feeling is sure to not last long. Unsurprisingly though, an unhealthy diet can lead to a grumpier you. Typical types of comfort foods will only make you happy for so long, until they lead to the inevitable blood-sugar crash, which will leave you with additional irritability. When you’re feeling down, the real “comfort foods” are the ones that are actually more nutritious, and can boost your mood as opposed to suppressing them.
There are plenty of tasty food options that exist to help boost your mood and give you the needed energy to perform better in all facets of your life. “Food choices that you make every day influence your brain’s ability to grow and heal,” says Drew Ramsey, MD, co-author of The Happiness Diet to Health. “The foundation of good mental health is good wholesome food.” For example, foods and drinks, like coffee if consumed in moderation, are linked to decreased levels of depression, and consumption of good fats, such as those containing omega-3 fatty acids that can be found in fish like salmon, are associated with lower anxiety levels. Try adding spinach to your meals for an extra boost, which provides more of the B vitamin folate per ounce. “Higher concentrations of folate in the blood are linked to a decrease in negative mood, clinical depression and fuzzy thinking,” Ramsey adds.
6. Jazz it up
Although listening to feel-good music is always a must, there is something in particular about jazz music that improves your mood more so than any other type of music. Listening to jazz music has been linked to lowering stress and blood pressure by causing blood vessels to expand by up to 30%. According to an infographic provided by Top Masters in Healthcare Administration, jazz listeners are on average 25% less depressed than non-jazz listeners. Whether you’re sitting at your desk or listening to music in the car on the way to and from work, turn up the jazz. Here’s a list of the most influential jazz artists to get your started and add to your playlist.