It’s a dreary time of year, all cold and grey. It’s hard to get motivated to get out of the house. But staying cooped up isn’t doing much for you either. If you’ve got the Winter Blues, you’re going to want to improve your mood.
Feeling stressed, run-down or blue? These tips will give you a nearly instant mood boost.
Listen to upbeat music.
Research from the University of Missouri has found that people can indeed make themselves happier, and it is even easier when accompanied by upbeat music. So turn on those tunes, get into the beat and lose yourself in the music, at least for a little while.
Eat happy foods.
Serotonin in the brain is believed to regulate anxiety, happiness and our mood in general. Eating foods that are high in serotonin can therefore help improve your mood. If you could use a boost in serotonin levels, reach for walnuts, kiwi, bananas, sour cherries, pineapple, tomatoes or plums.
Go for a walk.
Never underestimate the power of a walk. It gets the blood flowing, puts the mind in a meditative state, and isn’t demanding on your body. Ten minutes minimum will help ease stress and get you re-focused. However, thirty minutes would do wonders for your mood and overall well-being.
Sweat it out.
Sometimes you need more than a walk to get rid of your frustration. A run, kickboxing class, or other high impact workout can always be counted on to increase those feel-good endorphins.
Clutter has the ability to overwhelm us, it also serves as a reminder of things that need to be done, but aren’t. If you have the time, go on an organizing spree, but if not, the simple act of arranging things in neater stacks and piles can offer an instant mood boost.
Make someone’s day.
Random acts of kindness don’t just improve a stranger’s day, they can lift yours up as well. The satisfaction we receive from knowing we did something nice is so uplifting. It can be as simple as paying for the coffee of the person behind you in line to volunteering at a soup kitchen to donating blood.
Have a cup of tea.
Modest caffeine intake can decrease the risk of depression by more than 50 percent. Choose your favourite herbal tea and take 10 minutes to clear your mind. Simply enjoy the hot goodness in the mug and let the warmth warm your mood.
Have a laugh.
Laughter is the best medicine – it’s a popular saying for a reason. Laughter increases dopamine in our brains, elevating mood levels. Further, it increases oxygen in our bodies which cools down the stress response system. So pull up those funny videos, get silly with friends or indulge in a good comedy. You will find yourself feeling more relaxed and positive.
Recent research has found that regular mindfulness exercises can actually change the structure of the brain in a way that promotes a sense of well-being. Simple and effective? Sign us up!
Play with a pet.
This may be our favourite mood boosting tip yet! Studies have found that when non-pet owners played with a dog for just a few minutes a day, blood levels of the brain chemicals serotonin and oxytocin, which are both mood elevators, rose. And if you are a pet owner, you don’t have to go far to reap the same benefits!
Let us know if you have any other tips to improve your mood, naturally!