Life is full of good days and bad days, and certainly plenty of mediocre days in between — and that’s okay. The whole range of human emotions exists for a reason, say psychologists, otherwise they wouldn’t have survived evolution. So once you’ve had a chance to squeeze something helpful out of a foul mood (maybe the 321st frustrating call with your boss is a sign your job search should start sooner rather than later?), try hitting the reset button with one of these easy strategies.
And remember, since we’re all different, what works for you might be different from the next person. Take some time to figure out your own mood-boosting formula so that you’re equipped for when that time of need inevitably arises.
Phone a friend. Our social network helps us to stay positive, says a recent study which involved asking people who were either alone or with a friend to estimate the steepness of a hill in front of them. Those who were alone viewed the hill as steeper than those who were with a friend. Next time you’re facing a steep hill, figuratively speaking, touch base with a BFF.
Find your jam. Music works its magic almost instantaneously. It’s hard to feel too glum when Bill Withers is singing Lovely Day, right? That’s because it stimulates multiple parts of the brain, but especially the nucleus accumbens, known as the pleasure and reward center.
Go outside. Getting fresh air and seeing a bit of green can naturally lower your levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, say researchers. Just a 20-minute walk outside can help you de-stress.
Suds up. A warm shower can melt away a bad day. It’s believed that when we warm up the temperature of the body, it produces more of the feel-good hormone serotonin. A hot bath may even help you sleep better, too. Win-win.
Get cozy. Gently applied pressure can have a powerfully relaxing effect. A weighted blanket exerts what’s known as “deep pressure stimulation,” which research shows can decrease the activity of the body’s sympathetic nervous system (the system that promotes alertness and responds to stressful stimulation). Like a hug or gentle massage, it can help lower your heart rate.
Tidy up. An organized space is an organized mind. Followers of the Chinese discipline feng shui believe that the arrangement of your home affects how energy flows through your life. Try clearing up clutter to create a more nurturing environment at home or in the office.
Say thanks. Research shows that gratitude can make us happier. Next time you’re feeling out of sorts, sit down to write a thank-you to someone in your life. Chances are this simple gesture will brighten your day and theirs.