Spend time with others
Meet up with a friend or family member for a cup of coffee, or a walk in the park. Simply being around a loved one can improve your mood. Talking with them about how you’re feeling allows them to offer support, and gives them the opportunity to show they care. If friends and family are far away, try video calling them for a chat!
Listen to music
Music affects the brain in a similar way to chocolate. And singing along (even if it’s out of tune) causes your brain to create natural mood-booster and pain-killer signals and send them throughout the body.
Similar to singing along, laughing prompts the brain to release chemicals that combat pain and sadness. So, Hulu or Netflix some episodes of your favorite comedy show. A few laughs could do wonders for your mood. Bonus points if the funny videos have pets in them!
Play with your pet
Speaking of funny pet videos, simply spending time with your pet can make you feel better. The hormone oxytocin is released; which encourages feelings of bonding and love between you and another living thing. Your pet’s love and adoration also reinforce positive feelings in you as their owner.
When you volunteer your time and effort, you are helping others. Your body recognizes this and releases endorphins. These endorphins foster feelings of trust, happiness, and a closeness to others. Volunteering has also been shown to raise your levels of self-esteem.
Exercise doesn’t have to mean 3 hours in the gym. Research has found that a 10-minute walk lifts spirits as much as a 45-minute workout does. Individuals who exercise regularly often experience less stress, and cope with their stress better overall. Ask a friend to walk with you.
Spend time outdoors
Taking that walk outside will improve blood pressure and heart rate while reducing muscle tension and stress levels. Double up on the mood boosting powers by bringing your pet on your walk outdoors!
Meditate or pray
Focusing on clearing your mind and being grateful can do wonders for your mood. It’s alright if you get distracted, just keep trying. Meditation and prayer calm you down, especially if you practice them regularly. Try combining mediation and exercise in one with yoga.
Go to bed
Over time, sleep disorders and sleep deprivation can contribute to the symptoms of depression. Insomnia, the most common sleep disorder, has the strongest link to depression. In fact, insomnia is often one of the first symptoms of depression.
Try developing a bedtime routine. For example, your soothing bedtime ritual may be to turn off the TV, take a warm bath, and drink a cup of decaffeinated tea before bed.
You may need some time away from the daily grind in order to really relax. Taking a trip away can help bring the good things in your life into perspective that get lost in the everyday rush.
Did you know that the foods you eat affect how you feel? That’s right – your food choices can not only make you healthier, they can also make you happier! Avocados, berries, coffee, even spinach are all natural mood-boosting foods.
Here is a happy food that may not surprise you – chocolate! Yes, chocolate makes you happy (literally and chemically!) The phenylethlyamine in chocolate makes you feel alert and cheerful. Phenylethlyamine is also known as the “love drug” because it can trigger the same feelings of excitement and contentment as being in love. Chocolate also contains a fat called anadamide which triggers dopamine production, leading to a feeling of intense well-being.