Everyone hits rough spots. You might be sailing along, happy and content and then something out of left field gets you upset. Maybe you stub your toe, get bad news, or spill your coffee on your favorite pants. Little or big, there are times when you need a quick mood booster.
Happiness and contentment are often states that take a while to cultivate. However, there are things you can do to find a quick boost of happiness if you’re having a bad moment. While these things likely won’t fix your problems, they may help you approach them with a greater sense of ease.
If you want to get started improving your mood, here are 5 go-to mood boosters to get happier in a minute or less!
1. Take a Few Deep Breaths
Deep breathing is a great mood booster. It is an efficient way to promote overall well-being. One academic review pointed out that deep breathing can effectively improve the body and mind’s response to physical and mental stress. The same review suggests that the optimal breathing rate may be between 6-10 breaths per minute.
A second study suggested that controlled breathing can improve attention and decrease levels of cortisol, a hormone released when we are stressed.
If you only have one minute, use it to take some deep breaths, aiming for 6-8 in that minute. If you have more time, try extending the deep breathing for 5-10 minutes for even more positive effects.
If you’re in a meeting and are struggling to pay attention, or even if you’re just bored at home, doodling can be a great way to occupy your mind for a few seconds and refocus your efforts. One study suggests that “doodling is a motor act, and when occurring under conditions such as impatience, boredom, and indecision, it seems to alleviate those conditions. This effect recalls other stress-alleviating motor activities such as fidgeting, scratching, and fiddling with different objects”.
Therefore, doodling can help you tune out information that is stressful, and it may also improve memory. According to Sunni Brown, author of the book, The Doodle Revolution, doodling can affect how we process information and solve problems. It can actually help us retain more information than if we just listen.
Doodling is also just fun, as it helps us tap into our inner child, and most of us won’t be able to resist smiling as we’re doodling away. Give this mood booster a try next time you’re bored or lacking focus.
3. Sing out Loud
Karen Carpenter was onto something when she told us to Sing out loud, sing out strong! One study on cancer patients showed that singing effectively reduced stress and cortisol levels and improved overall mood.
It’s impossible to ignore how good you feel after belting out your favorite song. Of course, if you’re looking for a mood booster, try picking an upbeat song, one that makes you feel good every time you hear it.
4. Write a Gratitude List
Gratitude is a great way to make yourself feel good, and it only takes a minute or two. In a study comparing gratitude, hope, optimism, and life satisfaction, “gratitude was determined as the most predictive variable for well-being”.
If you’re able to develop a daily gratitude practice, it will do wonders for your overall mood and stress levels. This form of mood boosting can even help reduce overall rates of depression. However, even just taking a minute to write down 3-5 things that you’re grateful for can help you turn a bad day around. Use this mood booster any time you’re feeling down or hopeless.
Have you ever seen someone who is so angry that they start pounding their feet or even jumping up and down to make their point? Jumping can be a great stress-reliever and mood booster.
Jumping jacks, specifically, increase circulation and pump out endorphins, which will get you feeling good in no time. Furthermore, they increases bone density and oxygen intake, which helps you focus. Jump long enough and you get a cardio workout.
However, if you don’t like jumping jacks or have an injury that makes it impossible, any physical activity will help you get a quick shot of endorphins and act as a mood booster. Choose your favorite exercise and do it as intensely as possible during a few free minutes.
These are just a few quick and easy mood boosters, some you can do discreetly in a group and others that are louder and more active. Next time life is getting you down, choose to take action and help yourself feel happier. You don’t need a lot of money or vacation time, a minute or less will usually do the trick!
More Tips on Increasing Happiness
- 11 Simple Ways To Create Your Own Happiness
- 5 Ways To Bring Happiness and Fulfillment Into Your Life
- 20 Productive Hobbies That Will Make You Smarter and Happier
Featured photo credit: Fabien via flickr.com
|Medium: BREATHING WORKOUT BENEFITS
|Breathe: The physiological effects of slow breathing in the healthy human
|Frontiers in Psychology: The Effect of Diaphragmatic Breathing on Attention, Negative Affect and Stress in Healthy Adults
|The Lancet: Doodling and the default network of the brain
|Ecancer Medical Science: Singing modulates mood, stress, cortisol, cytokine and neuropeptide activity in cancer patients and carers
|Eurasian Journal of Educational Research: Gratitude, Hope, Optimism and Life Satisfaction as Predictors of Psychological Well-Being