Sometimes, we fall off the wrong side of the bed in the morning and, without obvious reason, find ourselves in a bad mood. When your feeling down, try one of these 10 scientifically proven ways to instantly inject some happy into your mood with healing, lasting effects.
1. Let the Light In
Sunlight triggers the release of serotonin and other mood enhancing chemicals in your brain. Serotonin is a hormone that makes us feel happy and calm. In ultraviolet light, endorphins are released, which can cause feelings of euphoria. Even sitting in sunlight filtered through a window can have a drastic effect on your state of mind. So, throw back those curtains and open those blinds. Or, even better, go outside. Let light chase away those blues.
2. Sing a Happy Song
Listening to music you enjoy increases your body's production of dopamine, a chemical that regulates emotions. Music has even been shown to reduce pain. The positive effects of music are enhanced when you participate in some way. Singing along to an upbeat tune boosts your spirits and the effects last long after the song has finished.
3. Express Yourself
Self-expression is vital to creating and maintaining a healthy self. Expressing your thoughts and ideas not only helps you understand yourself but allows you to connect with others in powerful new ways. Find a pen and paper and express yourself. Draw, doodle, or journal. If pen and paper isn't enough, go ahead: grab a pillow and scream! Find a way to express what you are feeling and you will feel better.
4. Do Something Different
It's true: variety is the spice of life. Even the things we enjoy doing the most will lose their appeal if we do them the same way every day. If you're in a rut, it's time to blaze a new trail. Doing something different today will lift your spirits. Look for changes you can make to your daily routines. Wear an outfit you would never wear or take a different route to the office.
Put on a happy face. Fake it until you make it. While being happy makes us smile, studies show that smiling can make us happy and has a profound effect on the body. Nineteenth century scientists like Charles Darwin knew about the intrinsic connection between showing signs of an emotion and the experience of the emotion. Recent research shows that outward expressions can drive emotions. There is plenty of evidence that, yes, pretending to be happy can make you happy.
Even a fake laugh can improve your health and your mood. Laughter is often called the "key to happiness." It eases pain and reduces stress. Watch something that makes you laugh, hard. And fake it, if you have to.
Clutter is costly It costs us time, money, and peace of mind. On the other hand, cleaning and having a clean house makes us feel good. To beat the blues, take some time to transform that desk from a junk mail war-zone to an organized surface that works for you. De-clutter and clean up. Rearrange a closet, drawer or bookshelf. Look for stuff you can get rid of and recycle it or throw it out.
8. Take a Shower
Researchers have reported that a hot shower induces a feeling of well-being and reduces pain. Other reports document how cold showers stimulate weight loss and boost the immune system. Either way, enjoying a long shower is a sure-fire way to happiness.
9. Share a Meal
Fostering social connections makes us happier and physically healthier. Studies from esteemed researchers like this one from Harvard show that good relationships are key to a happy life and protect your brain from decline. Eating together makes people feel good. According to the Mental Health Foundation, sharing meals, especially during regularly scheduled mealtimes, creates a feeling of contentment.
10. Decide to Be Happy
Yup, turn it on like a switch. Let the light shine on your happy smile and go spread joy to the world! Psychologists say happiness is a choice. In fact, just trying to be happy actually increases your happiness. That's good news; that means a little bit goes a long way. Even better news is that choosing to be happy is a habit that gets easier over time. You will be amazed by the results if you try. Tell yourself, "I am happy. I'm going to do ____ today because it makes me happy."
Do not use this article, or information from this article or website as a replacement for the medical or psychiatric care of a licensed medical professional.