Everyone gets a little down sometimes; it's a normal part of human existence. Maybe you didn't get enough sleep last night, or maybe the coffee machine malfunctioned this morning. Perhaps you totally bombed out on a presentation at work, or your car decided to stop working at the worst possible time. Or, the weather is dreary and you just want to go back to bed. Whatever the case may be, if you need a little pick-me-up, below are eight quick fixes you can use to help you "un-grouchify" yourself and brighten your mood, naturally!
This may seem ridiculously simple, but psychologists overwhelmingly agree that smiling can have an immediate positive effect on your mood. Your body actually releases endorphins (feel-good hormones) when you flash those pearly whites, even when you're forcing yourself to do it. The trick is to smile when you don't feel like smiling, and then the good feelings will follow. First it's motion, and then emotion.
2. Stop and Smell the Flowers--Literally.
Scores of studies have shown that flowers are a highly effective mood-booster. According to one study conducted by Harvard University and Massachusetts General Hospital, participants confirmed feeling happier, more positive, and more energetic after looking at a bouquet of flowers first thing in the morning. The study also revealed that just being in the presence of flowers and plants can produce a number of fascinating physiological and psychological responses, including reduced anxiety, improved positive mood, and even more creative thinking. Why not bring a bouquet home and crank up the flower power?
3. Get Moving.
Exercise is a natural mood-booster. Whether you decide to go for a walk or sweat it out in the gym, the very act of getting your body moving will trigger the release of feel-good hormones known as endorphins into your system. These complex chemicals actually reduce the body's perception of pain and bring about a sense of euphoria and well-being. So if you want to stay on a natural high, get those muscles in motion!
4. Eat A Well-Balanced Meal.
Countless studies have shown that eating junk food can put a real damper on your mood. When you think about it, it only makes sense: If you're eating garbage, you're going to feel like garbage. Instead of reaching for high-calorie, sugar-laden foods with nearly zero nutritional value, go for some nutrient-rich fare instead. Choose high-quality proteins such as lean chicken or salmon, and put plenty of color on your plate via fresh fruits and vegetables. Dietary changes actually alter the chemical and physiological structure of your brain, which in turn can alter your behavior. So to keep your mood bright, feed your body right! Check out these meal planning tips
5. Put On Some Feel-Good Music
Putting on some positive, uplifting music can turn your grey skies blue in short order. Note the words "positive" and "uplifting"--this means that you'll probably need to steer clear of any gloomy breakup songs, emo-heavy ballads, or death metal.
6. Count Your Blessings.
This is an oldie but goodie. Gratefulness can have a profound impact on your mood, and it can serve as a sobering reminder of just how much you have to be thankful for. Yeah, your car may need to be repaired, but at least you have a car! Take some time to think about all of the blessings in your life. Write them down and refer to them often; it will help you gain some much-needed perspective when you're feeling down.
7. Spend Time with a Furry Friend.
Hanging out with a pet can produce several "pawsitive" effects. Research suggests pet owners tend to have higher self-esteem and a better overall sense of well-being than their petless counterparts. Other studies assert that pet ownership can even lower your blood pressure and reduce cholesterol levels. Any way you slice it, spending time playing with a furry friend can lift your spirits and infuse your day with lightheartedness. Don't have a pet? Visit with a friend or neighbor who does, or volunteer at your local animal shelter!
8. Do Something Good for Someone Else.
Many times our mood can be sour because all we're focused on is ourselves. There are all kinds of people with all kinds of needs around you, and doing something good to meet even one person's need can make all the difference in how you feel. Whether it's giving someone an encouraging word or paying for a friend's lunch, those small but significant acts of kindness can completely change your perspective and elevate your mood.
You might feel a little low right now, but you don't have to stay low. Put the above quick fixes into practice, and tell that dark cloud over your head to move on!