12 Simple Ways to Boost Your Mood

Occasionally feeling sad, cranky, upset and distraught is a fact of life. Maybe you’re tired, stressed or just hungry. No matter the reason for your foul mood, here are twelve simple ways to improve your attitude and get you on your way to feeling like yourself again.

1. Make a gratitude list.

There is always something to be grateful for, even when you feel your worst. Focusing on what you’re thankful for —even the smallest things— can turn your mood around and change your perspective.

2. Compliment others.

Giving a genuine compliment can boost positivity and confidence for the recipient and the person who gave it as well. Find something nice to say about the people around you. They’ll appreciate it, and you’ll feel better too.

3. Know your limits.

We live in an age that glorifies multitasking and being endlessly busy. But taking on too many responsibilities at once can leave you feeling defeated, overwhelmed and even self-critical. Instead, try to reduce your stress by taking a step back, taking on fewer tasks and prioritizing your responsibilities.

4. Tackle the little goals.

It’s essential to set both long-term and short-term goals. But when those big goals feel too daunting, step back and check off a smaller goal first. Organizing a junk drawer, folding that laundry still sitting in the dyer or working on a small project can help enhance your mood and sense of accomplishment.

5. Do things you typically enjoy.

When you’re feeling down or a little blue, do what you typically enjoy, even if it doesn’t sound appealing at the moment. Watch your favorite movie or read your favorite book, play board games from your childhood or some other hobby you usually take pleasure in. Participating in activities that you have found enjoyable in the past can take your mind off of what’s bothering you now and lift your spirit.

6. Give a helping hand.

People who volunteer often feel happier and more satisfied with life. In a study led by Case Western University, researchers found that older adults benefited greatly from volunteering and helping others. Volunteering at an animal shelter, a food bank, hospitals or donating to charity are all excellent ways to get out of a funk and improve the quality of someone else’s life.

7. Keep judgments in check.

Comparing yourself to others is a waste of time and energy. Everyone has different mental, emotional and physical limits, and judging yourself and others won’t do anyone any good. Release judgments, focus on forgiveness and put an end to the “compare and despair” cycle.

8. Avoid negative people.

Distancing yourself from negative or toxic people isn’t always easy, especially if they are family or close friends. But negativity is contagious and may be contributing to your sour moods and pessimistic outlook.

9. Move your body.

Exercise has numerous health benefits, but it can also improve your mental and emotional well-being. A study performed by researchers at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health found that physical activity can help reduce your chances of being depressed by as much as 26 percent. Already feeling down? Exercise boosts production of endorphin and serotonin, also known as “feel good” neurotransmitters.

10. Get out of the house.

This might seem obvious, but consider the last time you didn’t feel well. Chances are you stayed curled up in bed or firmly planted on the couch for days. While rest and relaxation are important, getting out the house, even just to run to the store or go for a short walk, can work wonders for shaking a lousy mood.

11. Make sleep a priority.

Sleep disturbances, whether due to long nights working, caring for children or elderly parents or any other reason, can seriously affect your health. Adequate sleep can help restore cognitive function and improve your overall outlook on life. So if you’re feeling moody or anxious, resist the urge to stay up late and practice good sleep hygiene.

12. Treat yourself.

A treat isn’t really a “treat” if you do it every day, but occasionally indulging in a small impulse purchase, a restorative massage or other indulgences can help improve your mood and is an integral part of self-care.

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