Blog Short #37: 12 Things You Can Do to Lift Your Mood
Welcome to Monday Blog Shorts – ideas to make even Monday a good day! Every Monday I share a short article with you about a strategy you can use, or new facts or info that informs you, or a new idea that inspires you . My wish is to give you something to think about in the week ahead. Let’s dig in!
Here’s my list of twelve things you can do to lift your mood when you feel low, or just sort of blah.
- Do something that has meaning and purpose for you. It could be learning something new like trying a new recipe or watching a tutorial or researching a topic on Google. Or it could be more introspective like thinking seriously about what gives your life meaning, and setting up some new goals to work toward. Maybe you’d like to learn a new skill that would provide a better job. Or put some new energy into a relationship to deepen it. Or pursue something that has spiritual significance for you. Whatever it is, just pondering what gives you purpose and meaning can be uplifting and open your life back up.
- Stop watching or reading the news for a full week. Keep in mind that all news broadcasters, regardless of their biases, report news that sells. This means they select which stories to run, and how to present them. Research has shown that people gravitate more toward sensational or negative news, and broadcasters know this. A steady diet of that kind of news narrows your view of the world, and can leave you feeling depleted, depressed, and anxious.
- Chat with a partner or friend about something interesting, and something you’re enthusiastic about. Put your phone away and just chat. One of my favorite activities is sitting in the living room with my husband and having a glass of wine while talking about subjects we both love. It’s stimulating, keeps your mind active, and it’s a lotta fun. You could go out for coffee, hang at the house, or take a walk and talk. Do what appeals most to you.
- Read something inspirational. Reading is a great way to absorb your mind for a little while and give yourself an emotional respite. Words or stories that inspire you can loosen up your subconscious and bring a fresh approach to problem-solving, or help you see things from a different viewpoint.
- Take a walk while listening to music or a podcast. Walking, especially outside, is a great way to lift your mood. Music can make it fun as well as absorb you in a different headspace for a while. A podcast about a subject you like is mentally diverting, and has the added benefit of entertaining or teaching you something at the same time. Or, you can simply walk quietly and let nature soothe your emotions.
- Make a list of 5 things you can do to reduce your stress load. Step off the stress treadmill for a moment and take some time to regroup, think, and evaluate what you’re doing. Come up with five ideas to reduce your stress load. That might mean eliminating activities you really don’t have time for or that don’t offer you much, or maybe delegating some things instead of doing everything yourself. Or it might mean having a long overdue talk with a partner or family member to resolve an issue that’s stressing you. Taking a big picture view of what’s causing you stress, and making some plans for strategic changes will help you feel better.
- Eat a really healthy meal. You can cook it yourself, or order something out, but make sure it’s a clean, low-fat, meal with a good portion of veggies. You can extend this to a diet plan aimed at improving your overall health.
- Make a gratitude list. Write ten things you’re grateful for. As you begin listing things, you’ll turn your mind toward positive experiences you’ve had. When you’re in a bad mood, you automatically focus on things that have gone wrong. One thought leads to another and to another and pretty soon you’ve painted a bleak picture of your life. You then react to that picture as though it’s always been this way and always will be. Gratitude helps keep things in balance so that you don’t get stuck in a repetitive narration of your negative life story.
- Take a nap or go to bed early. If you’re sleep deprived, eight full hours of sleep will greatly help your mood. Also do your best to regulate your sleep schedule so that you sleep 7 1/2 to 8 hours most nights, and preferably between the hours of 11PM and 7AM, or in as close proximity as possible. Those hours are naturally aligned with our circadian rhythms.
- Drink a full 16-ounce glass of water. Many of us are dehydrated and don’t know it. Maybe not to the extreme (you would feel that), but enough to douse your energy. When in doubt, drink water. It can energize you, equalize your mood, and clear your mind.
- Take a drive. This is one of my favorites. Sometimes just driving a little ways out of town shifts your perspective. It opens up your mind, even if you’re stuck on a problem. Just seeing different scenery, and being away from the house and where you live can feel relieving and give you a lift. It expands your world a bit.
- Declutter and organize your space. It always feels good to clean up your space. It can be just a closet or your home office or the kitchen cabinets, or maybe just pick up everything in your living room and put it away. Decluttering your space has the effect of decluttering your mind. The mere act of doing it organizes you mentally, and lifts your mood.
Just a quick note about food and alcohol.
Junk food or too much alcohol can play havoc with your mood. You may not realize or know that, and not consider it when you’re in a slump. Even a mild hangover can lower your blood sugar enough that you feel depressed. Junk food spikes your blood sugar quickly which gives you a quick pick-me-up, but is later followed by a feeling of sluggishness and a mood plunge. Done repetitively, more serious health problems can occur as well as chronic mood problems.
People often don’t realize that a bad diet greatly contributes to their anxiety and mood swings. Keep it in mind!
That’s all for today. If you’d like to put your two cents in, please leave a comment below or feel free to email me.
As always, I hope you have a great week!
All my best,