Bad moods are inevitable and it can sometimes feel like there’s nothing we can do to feel better however, there are plenty of ways to bust a bad mood…
Here are 20 ways that you can cheer yourself up the next time you are feeling down.
- Be kind to yourself. You don’t have to be hard on yourself for being human. We all feel blue sometimes and beating yourself up for it only makes things worse. There is nothing wrong with you because you are feeling down. Even if you make a mistake, you are only going to become wiser for it. The fact that you are down because of a mistake means you learned a valuable lesson and that you’ve grown from it. Congratulations, it’s a good thing.
- Keep track of your thoughts. It’s very common that our “negative thinking train” is the very cause of our bad or sad moods. Once you pick up on one negative thought, many tend to flow in formation. (Same goes for the positive ones!) What are you focusing on? Can you give it a positive spin? Rather than being down because it’s raining, you may consider how nice and green the grass will be or how all the cute wild animals now have a temporary water source to drink and splash around in because of it. If it’s too hard to give it a positive spin, remember that difficult situations can teach us many lessons to be thankful for down the road. Think of past lessons you are grateful for today.
- Know that it is temporary. Of course it’s hard to bust a mood if you are going through a difficult time, however, staying down will not benefit you or anyone around you. If you are going through a hard time, try to remember that it is temporary. As my own Grandmother used to tell me, “This too shall pass.” and they always do. “Everything is going to be O.K.” You survived up until this point and you will continue to do so. Hang in there and know brighter days are ahead. It might even be today.
- Create a “feel-good folder or album” on your phone or in a folder. That way, the next time you feel down, you can remind yourself of your accomplishments, compliments others have given you, or view your favorite pictures or listen to your favorite up-beat, happy songs… Whatever makes you feel good, put in there, and then pull them out!
- Smile! This is a hard one when you are feeling angry or sad, but one that works nonetheless. The act itself seems to activate happiness centers in the brain according to researcher James Laird, PhD. By forcing a smile for a few moments, you may be surprised at the results. It could trigger some happy memories associated with the expression. You can also pretend that you are already happy. Yup… that’s a thing. According to Christopher Peterson, PhD, a professor at the University of Michigan, “We become how we act.” By pretending that we are happy, our brains will likely begin to believe it. Believe it or not.
- Find something to laugh at. Watch funny videos, movies or read funny articles or quotes. Not only does it distract us from focusing on our negative thoughts, but laughing increases our feel-good hormones. It has been proven that people who laugh often are healthier too as it also boosts our immune system. Laugh away people! Even laugh at yourself. Go ahead… make some funny faces. Why not?
- Play and cuddle with your pet. One of my favorites! Studies have proven that petting an animal for 15 minutes releases all the feel-good hormones mentioned above and also lowers the stress hormone cortisol. Now that’s a pretty cool “trick”!
- Let the sun shine through. Michael Terman, PhD, the director of the Center for Light Treatment and Biological Rhythms at Columbia University Medical Center states, “Brightening your bedroom when you wake up helps you feel happier all day.” Not only that, but just being out in the sun, as opposed to a dim or dark room, can raise your mood. Open up your shades and let the sun shine in.
- Hug someone or put your arm around them. The human touch is known to release uplifting endorphins like serotonin and reduces blood pressure and heart rate. Plus it’s fun. Just go hug someone! You may have some tears if you have to release some painful emotions, but that’s a good thing and you will feel better afterwards. Crying is also beneficial. Check out The Joy of Crying here!!
- Get creative. Participants in a Boston College study became happier after they created their own pieces of art that expressed their negative emotions. Writing in a journal had the same positive effect. If you love writing or drawing, consider making a new work of art to release your negative emotions.
- Listen to uplifting music or sing your heart out. The University of Manchester discovered that the organ in the inner ear that responds to singing sounds, is connected to a part of the brain that registers pleasure. Our brains are incredible! Go sing in the shower or alone in your car if you’d like. Heck, sing right where you are, just not in class… and don’t listen to sad music associated with your exes as it can obviously cause the opposite effect and trigger sad memories.
- Get enough sleep. Some experts agree that maintaining a steady sleeping schedule can help boost your mood. Take a nap if you need to. Once you wake up, your brain is refreshed and you can begin again. Try to focus on something positive the moment you rise. Make it a habit to wake up and instantly say, “It’s a good day!” Then start focusing your thoughts right away on all the things you are grateful for. Make your own “Positive Thought Train.”
- Don’t drink or take drugs. Especially when you are down. If you are already feeling blue, you definitely should NOT be taking “downers” to lower you even further. They make a true mess of our brain chemistry. You may think that they serve as a temporary solution, but the after effects are much worse and you don’t want to get caught up in that cycle. It’s a downhill battle that even the strongest willed have a hard time rising out of.
- Talk to friends or family. It may not be easy but friends and family can provide emotional support by serving as sounding boards. Even if they don’t understand, simply venting your thoughts and emotions will make you feel better. If you feel as though you have no one to talk to, find a teacher, your boss, a guidance counselor, or even a pet you can cuddle up to at the same time.
- Surround yourself with happy people. Isolation can feel beneficial, but being with others can hike your mood tremendously. Find the happiest people you know and invite yourself over or give them a call so they can rub off on you. Avoid complainers as they will only keep you down or lower you further.
- Exercise. Research shows that working out can boost your mood for up to 12 hours afterwards. In one study, patients who worked out regularly on a stationary bike or treadmill for 12 weeks, also reduced their depression symptoms by almost 50%. Exercise isn’t just for building muscles and dissolving fat. It generates natural feel-good chemicals for the brain. If you don’t like to exercise, consider just a short 20-30 minute brisk walk every day to keep those feel-good chemicals flowing.
- Get outside and be with nature. Not only will a good walk outside lift your feel-good chemicals and therefore your mood, but it really does cause you to feel connected with the world in a very special way. It gives you a different perspective. This happens to be my personal favorite way to start my day and if I happen to be feeling a bit down or confused about something, it helps me to clear my mind and sort out my thoughts. Check out The Cost of Time Spent in Nature here.
- Change the color of your room. OK, this one may not go over well with your parents, but even a few bright posters or pictures in your room could help you stay more positive if your room is currently surrounded by dull or dark colors. Just as the brightness of the sun can raise a mood, color can play a part in changing our moods. The color blue has been known to calm people which is why they use it in institutions, however, the colors yellow and green have been known to evoke happy feelings.
- Get busy. Get out of your house and do something fun, run errands, do chores, go visit someone, study, do anything. This will help take your mind off of feeling blue and once you are out and about, your mind will focus on something else and take it from there.
- Do something nice for someone else. Studies show that one small kind act can trigger those feel-good chemicals in your brain and give you an extra boost that could change the direction of your whole day. This final one is also one of my favorites as it not only makes you feel good, but it can cause a ripple effect. The person you impact can very well pay it forward.
About the Author: Michelle C. Ustaszeski-Hutchinson, B.S., CLC, CMHt. is the Founder and Executive Editor of The Teen Mentor, LLC, based in Coopersburg, Pennsylvania. She is a Personal Development Expert and The Faciliator of Wisdom. As co-author of 101 Great Ways to Improve Your Life, Michelle teamed with some of the top motivational gurus such as Zig Ziglar, Brian Tracy, Jim Rohn, Denis Waitley, and Joe Vitale in order to offer a compilation of self-improvement teachings. She has been quoted as a “Master of Success” among some of the worlds most famous thinkers and published in numerous books and on thousands of websites around the world. Read More…