There are countless daily factors that influence our moods, such as diet, physical activity, sleep, weather, social interactions, financial stability, menstrual cycles, stress, social media use, etc. While there is a plethora of them, knowing them makes it easier to establish healthy and easy habits to uplift our moods more frequently. Below, we will discuss some tips on how to improve your mood.
We do not have to make big changes to feel better and happier. Research has proven that completing a task, no matter how small, can boost one’s mood.
Here are some small changes that you can incorporate into your daily routine that can instantly lift your mood.
How to Improve Your Mood
1. Helping Others
It is a scientifically proven fact that the act of helping boosts happiness and makes you feel good about yourself. It can be as small as a kind word, a precious gift for a loved one, or even an act of charity.
Helping others release two mood-boosting hormones — oxytocin (the love hormone) and dopamine (the feel-good hormone). Studies have shown that oxytocin may be beneficial for people with depression or anxiety whereas low levels of dopamine may cause specific symptoms associated with depression.
2. Drinking Plenty of Water
Did you know that being dehydrated can affect your mood? About 60 percent of our bodies are made up of water, and so when your body is dehydrated, its natural balance is disrupted. This affects physical, mental, and emotional health.
Dehydration also affects the dopamine and serotonin balance in the brain to contribute to low energy, anxiety, nervousness, and depression. Hence, one of the easiest and fastest ways to improve your mood is to simply drink a glass of water. The recommended amount of water varies from individual to individual but six to eight glasses of water a day are recommended on a general basis.
Experts say that laughter is the best medicine. This is true because laughter has benefits that transcend mood and trigger healthy physical and emotional changes in the body. It strengthens the immune system, boosts mood, and diminishes pain.
Laughter can alter dopamine and serotonin activity and mitigates the effects of stress. It decreases serum levels of cortisol, epinephrine, and the growth hormone, all of which trigger the reversal of the stress response. For these reasons, the medical community uses laughter therapy to treat stress and depression.
You can make yourself and others laugh by watching some funny videos or podcasts or engaging in fun activities to boost your mental health, immunity, and a lot more.
4. Meditation and Exercise
Meditation is great for stress management and can even be done to boost happiness. Mindfulness-based interventions have shown to have positive effects on emotional well-being. Research proves that meditation is beneficial in improving one’s mood and helping to stay focused on thoughts and behaviors.
Likewise, exercise is known to have a positive impact on depression and anxiety as it boosts the levels of the feel-good hormones such as dopamine, adrenaline, serotonin, and endorphins. In short, regular exercise and meditation relieve stress, improve memory, and boost the overall mood.
5. Spending Time Outdoors
A study in 2015 compared the brain activity of people who walked for 90 minutes in urban and natural settings, and it was found that people who took walks in nature had lower activity in the prefrontal cortex — the part of the brain that is overactive during depression, anxiety, and stress.
Furthermore, a Japanese study showed that a walk in the woods can alleviate acute emotions such as hostility, depression, and boredom. Therefore, it is advisable to spend at least 90 minutes outdoors as it is linked to improving mood and productivity.
6. Check Your Self-talk
Reflection and talking to oneself is perhaps one of the most important tips to improve your mood. We sometimes say negative things to ourselves that prevent us from coping well with the stress. Negative self-talk like “I’m hopeless”, “why should I even bother?”, or “I’ll never get all this work done”, can worsen our moods. The constant negative talk can make it difficult to break out of.
As self-talk can affect your mental health, it is important to indulge in constructive self-talk. Positive self-talk improves self-esteem, stress management, and well-being and also reduces the symptoms of depression, anxiety, and stress.
These are some of the many scientifically proven ways to improve mood. Others include getting quality sleep, a healthy diet, spending quality time with your loved ones, and taking a break from social media.