We all get into a funk now and then, and sometimes we find ourselves in a downright stinky mood. It may not feel possible to ditch a bad mood, but research shows that the thoughts we have and the behaviors we engage in are 40 percent responsible for our level of individual happiness. This means that to a large extent, we can control our mood and decide how happy we want to be.
Here are 10 proven ways to turn around a bad mood, whether it's caused by a flat tire in a rainstorm, an argument with a significant other, or simply waking up on the wrong side of the bed.
1. Pipe in some positive music.
A study by the University of Missouri found that listening to upbeat music improves your mood. Participants in the study improved their mood on the spot by listening to their favorite upbeat tunes while trying to feel happier and doing so on a daily basis improved their overall happiness after two weeks.
2. Move your body.
Exercise is a powerful mood lifter according to Harvard Medical School, which notes that for some people, exercise works as well as medication to reduce symptoms of depression. Regular exercise promotes the release of feel-good brain chemicals, or neurotransmitters, and supports nerve cell growth and connections in the brain.
3. Hug and kiss.
Hugging and kissing, whether romantic or platonic, stimulates the release of oxytocin, a neurotransmitter known as the "love hormone," which has a positive effect on mood. Getting physical with others also reduces stress hormones like cortisol, which can dampen your mood.
4. Express gratitude.
Gratitude can quickly turn a bad mood into a good one. When you're feeling cranky or low, reflect on the things you're thankful for. This shift in attention from the negative to the positive elicits feelings of happiness. It also improves your physical health over time, according to research cited by Harvard Medical School.
Watching a funny cat video or comedy sketch can go a long way toward improving your mood. Research by Stanford University found that laughter increases levels of the neurotransmitter dopamine, which is a potent mood-booster. Laughter also reduces stress, providing a one-two punch against a bad mood.
6. Eat healthy food.
Your diet has an important impact on your mood, according to a large body of research. For example, a diet high in animal proteins limits the production of the mood-lifting neurotransmitter serotonin, while complex carbohydrates and plant proteins increase levels of the happiness-inducing neurotransmitter tryptophan. Strive to eat a mostly plant-based, whole-food diet for the best overall physical and mental health.
Daily meditation can significantly improve your mood for the long-term and lead to feelings of happiness. According to Harvard Medical School, meditation is as effective as antidepressants for reducing depression, and it lowers your stress, improves creativity and intuition, and connects you with your inner self.
8. Reduce clutter.
Research has proven the old adage, "Chaos in the home is chaos in the brain." Clutter can make you feel anxious, and it can fuel feelings of guilt and failure. Getting rid of the clutter is the ideal way to reduce the negative feelings it elicits, but simply putting it into tidy piles can make you feel better in a pinch.
Adequate sleep is essential for maintaining a stable, happy mood. An acute lack of sleep can leave you feeling listless, tired, and cranky for the day, but a chronic lack of sleep can impact your overall mood for the long-term. If you're over 50, you should be getting at least seven hours of sleep each night. If you're having trouble getting enough shut-eye, talk to your health practitioner about what you can do to improve your sleep.
A supplement designed to improve your cognitive function provides your brain with ample amounts of the most important nutrients for memory, mood, and cognition. Thrive Naturals' Super Brain Renew contains the Essential Five nutrients for brain health, including omega-3 fatty acids and N-Acetyl L-Tyrosine, along with powerful antioxidants and brain-boosting minerals.
Lifestyle factors impact your mood in myriad ways, and the bottom line is that simple lifestyle changes and shifts in the way you think can produce better moods and a more positive outlook on life. If your low mood is persistent or reduces your quality of life, however, it's time to talk to a mental health professional about depression. Depression is treatable with or without medication and treating it will improve your outlook, health, and quality of life.
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