Photo by Fuu J on Unsplash
Guest post written by Nyxie’s Nook
Not all of us can be a ball of sunshine all the time. I’ve yet to meet anyone who doesn’t experience the occasional bad day, and that’s perfectly natural! For some of us a dip in mood is a frequent occurrence, while for others it could be during hormonal changes or particularly stressful occurrences. No matter where you fall on the spectrum, it’s impossible to be happy and cheerful all the time.
Some of us don’t have the privilege of hiding indoors on days when our mood is at its lowest. There are times when we have to grin and bear it, especially if we work in customer service. On those days in particular there are various small things you can do to boost your mood. Even if it’s just for a little while.
But how does mood work, and how can mood boosters help?
All feelings are chemical interactions that take place within the body, particularly the brain. While the science still isn’t overly clear, several studies have shown that neurotransmitters have a substantial influence on our mental health. The following are just some of the main neurotransmitters and their role within the body.
Also known as the ‘reward’ hormone. Dopamine is that little feeling of joy that you get from a grade well earned, or beating that final boss in a video game. Too much dopamine, however, can lead to hyperactivity, while too little leads to a decrease in energy levels. It’s the driving force behind our motivation, pushing us to keep going even when times get tough.
The ‘happy’ hormone, serotonin causes feelings of, well, happiness!
This little devil is the ‘stress‘ hormone and is essential to our everyday life. Too much of it is linked to increasing levels of depression and anxiety and can cause all sorts of physical issues within the body.
8 Ways To Instantly Boost Your Mood:
1. Get some natural daylight
Get outside, go for a walk or even simply draw back the curtains. Natural light has so many benefits for our mood that it’s difficult to know where to start. Sunlight triggers our bodies to produce serotonin which naturally acts as a mood lifter and even helps you focus.
It also helps the body produce vitamin D, wards off season depression and improves sleep, all of which give you the added ‘umph’ you need.
2. Random acts of kindness
Nothing makes you feel better than paying it forward. And better yet? You’re also making someone else feel good! Being kind, even in the smallest way, boosts our feelings of empathy, gratitude and can help reduce feelings of anxiety and depression. Dopamine plays a big part here and you’re left with a rewarding feeling.
There are so many ways you can be kind, some of which cost nothing at all! Can you think of any?
3. Laugh and smile. Even when you don’t feel like it
I know it sounds strange, but even the act of smiling or laughing can make us feel better. While it may be fake at first, laughing is known for being infectious. Soon you’ll be gripping your sides and doubling over. And if someone else joins in it’s almost impossible to stop!
But how can you laugh or smile when you don’t feel like it? You could watch a funny video online, listen to a comedic podcast or socialise with one of your funniest friends or colleagues.
Photo by Elijah Hiett on Unsplash
4. Drink up!
Remember to stay hydrated. Drinking water frequently not only aids us physically but mentally too. Even the smallest variance in your water consumption can have a big impact on your mood. Make sure to have a glass of water with every meal, add flavour to make it more appeasing, or even buy yourself a flask so you can have water with you at all times. But be warned, if you’re not used to drinking water your body will feel compelled to drag you to the bathroom far more than you’re used to. The more you drink water, the more your body will become accustomed, so don’t stop!
5. Try some affirmations
Affirmations are often considered to be simple and easy to remember phrases used to help change a person’s inner voice. By using affirmations over time we’re able to slowly change our outlook on life and they’ve even been thought to improve our confidence, happiness, positivity and mood.
Some might think of affirmations as no more than words or ‘wishful thinking.’ However, as creatures of habit, we also tend to think in a certain way, whether it be predominantly positive or negative. These thoughts can influence our mood, behaviour, and even our ability to handle adversity. By using affirmations to gradually change our thoughts, we’re able to learn to be more positive and receptive to positive things.
6. Write your feelings down
When I feel angry, frustrated, sad or any overwhelming feeling, I turn to writing. Whether it’s on a computer or in a book, I always feel better getting my feelings out. Even the happy ones! Writing is an amazing way to work through what you’re feeling, and can be an excellent way to uplift your mood.
Don’t try to write something structured, instead practice freewriting and allow yourself to write whatever comes into your head. Bad grammar, incorrect spellings and all! Who knows, you might even have a story on your hands?
Photo by Camilo Contreras on Unsplash
7. Listen to some feel good music
There’s nothing I love more than a good playlist. I have one for every occasion, including one to help boost my mood when I’m feeling low. There are several cases showing how music impacts our mood and can be used as a tool to combat depression and anxiety. Upbeat, fast paced and ‘uplifting’ music works best when we’re trying to feel better and more energetic.
Music has even been used as therapy for various mood disorders and neurological conditions such as Parkinson’s disease and dementia.
If you use any of the major music streaming services you can always put together your very own mood boosting playlist. Or search for someone else’s!
8. Lower your caffeine intake
Who’s guilty of six or seven coffee’s a day? Me! Who also complains that she can’t sleep and feels horrible? Me! But after researching for this article I’ve come to realise that it’s my excessive caffeine levels that are the biggest culprit for my low moods and sleep disorder. Who would have known?
Excessive caffeine consumption leads to increased levels of anxiety and a constant state of nervousness. These, in turn, negatively impact your mood. Not to mention your sleeping pattern.
But don’t go cold turkey just yet. You don’t have to avoid caffeine, you just have to manage it on a daily basis. Instead of reaching for coffee first thing in the morning, drink some water. After that limit the amount of caffeine you drink throughout the day and make a sensible cut off point.
Remember that caffeine can be found in other drinks other than coffee such as tea and soft drinks. So it’s smart to keep an eye on those too.