We live in a complex world, and many see the 21st Century as an era of disruption in which powerful forces change how we live and work. Many of us have experienced traumatic times, and our feelings of fear and uncertainty seem to dominate our lives. As a result, our mood and energy levels change so much that we feel like we are on a roller coaster ride every day.
Our anxiety and stress fuel our mood swings and low energy levels. If we don’t take action to deal with this, we may find ourselves in a place where our well-being is threatened.
Here are some tips for effectively boosting moods.
8 Simple and Effective Mood Boosters to Uplift You
The Relaxation Response
Dr. Herbet Benson was a pioneer in Mind Body Medicine and one of the first Western physicians to bring spirituality and healing into medicine. He devoted much of his career to learning how people can counter the stress response by using a combination of approaches that elicit the relaxation response.
These include deep abdominal breathing, focus on a soothing word (such as peace or calm), visualization of tranquil scenes, repetitive prayer, yoga, and tai chi.
According to Dr. Benson, one of the most valuable things we can do in life is to learn deep relaxation — making an effort to spend some time every day quieting our minds to create inner peace and better health.
All of these 8 mood booster strategies center around the philosophy of Dr. Herbet Bendon and the relaxation response – in that these strategies help to create a space for you to reenergize and refuel away from the noise and disruption of life.
1. Exercise and Eat Healthy Food
Getting the blues can happen to anyone, and a little diversion can help you feel more like yourself again. Going for a brisk walk, playing a game of tennis, or doing 30 min gym classes are quick and easy ways to distract yourself from feeling down and can help boost your mood and energy.
Committing to a regular exercise regime, however, is the best way to sustain and effectively manage your mood and energy levels throughout your life. Along with exercise, eating healthy, balanced meals is key to keeping your energy levels up.
Avoid junk food, sweets, and alcohol when you feel down and low in energy. Alcohol is a depressant and can disrupt the balance of chemical messengers in your brain that can directly affect your feelings and moods.
Exercising and eating balanced meals also contribute significantly to good sleeping patterns, which are essential to a healthy and well-balanced life.
Meditating produces brain changes that promote positive emotions and reduce negative emotions, such as fear and anger. It can lower your heart rate, blood pressure, breathing rate, adrenaline, and cortisol levels. Cortisol is a hormone that is released in response to stress.
Committing to regular mediation practices is a great strategy for managing stress and anxiety in your life.
There are many different approaches to mediation, and it may take you a while to find the one approach that works for you. Be prepared to explore and try out a few mediation programs until you find one that resonates with you.
You may want to consider taking up yoga as the first step. Yoga is a great way to introduce you to both meditation and exercise. There are also mediation classes, books, CDs, or apps that can introduce you to mediation practice.
3. Learn to Relax Through Breathing
When we get anxious and stressed, we tend to breathe rapidly and shallowly from our upper lungs. If we do this type of breathing for too long, we can end up hyperventilating – which is scary!
When we are at this stage, our body is in what is called an “Emergency State,” and we can experience uncomfortable physical symptoms during a panic attack.
The good news is that by changing your breathing, you can reverse these symptoms. By shifting your breathing rate and pattern, you can stimulate the body’s parasympathetic nervous system which is the body’s equally powerful and opposite system to the Emergency Response.
There are several other breathing techniques you can use when you are in times of stress or fear.
The Calming Breathe technique is one of the many breathing techniques that can help you when you are low in energy, fearful, confused, or anxious. It can help boost your mood and energy.
This technique takes time to become a natural part of your everyday life. So, be prepared to put in the work because you have more control over your life when you know how to breathe properly!
How to Do the Calming Breathe Technique
- Take a long, slow breath through your nose, first filling your lower lungs, then your upper lungs.
- Hold your breath to the count of “three.”
- Exhale slowly through pursed lips while you relax the muscles in your face, jaw, shoulders, and stomach.
When you are low in energy, and you feel down, the last thing you want to do is go out and socialize with people. It is okay to do this once in a while, but if you get into a pattern of self-isolation, then you are not doing yourself any favor.
Being isolated leads to loneliness, and that fuels your feelings of sadness. Spending time with others helps boost our mood. Humans are wired to be social, and when we are with others, we are distracted away from thinking about ourselves.
If you are feeling low, make an effort to contact a friend or family member who you like and who has positive energy. Get out of the house and arrange to meet them for a coffee or pick up the phone, message them, or video call them. Commit to taking action to contact or socialize with someone every time you are feeling down.
If you don’t have someone to spend time with, then take action and join a group or find a hobby or take a class. This is where you have to be accountable. You have the power to choose what you can do to lift your energy and mood levels.
Make a decision, and take one step to get out of the house and connect with people in some way.
5. Find Purpose and Meaning
Not having clarity in life or knowing what you want can contribute to low energy levels and feeling down. Having a purpose, meaning, and clarity in life improves your mood, reduces stress, and keeps you mentally sharp.
In the book Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff… and It’s All Small Stuff, Richard Carlson shows simple strategies you can use to stop blowing things out of proportion, to stop worrying about things that might happen (but probably won’t), to stop obsessing about things you can’t change and things that just don’t matter, and start living!
Richard Carlson has written a series of books on the same topic, and the main message in all his books is that when you have meaning in your life, it gives you the ability to focus on the things in life that matter -– not the things in life that are dragging your down.
When you dance to a song you love, you feel happier! This is partly due to the release of endorphins and positive neurotransmitters you experience when you dance, especially when you dance to a song you love.
So, when you are feeling low in energy and a bit down, put on your favorite dancing song and let yourself go and dance! It’s guaranteed that you will feel so much better!
7. Sniff a Lemon or Essential Oils
Your sense of smell is connected to your emotional state, and lemons are said to be mood boosters! Studies have also shown that essential oils such as lavender and basil can help reduce stress and negativity. Peppermint is an essential oil that boosts energy and relieves stress, and so does vanilla and cinnamon.
When you are under stress or low in energy, rub a scented lotion with a few drops of essential oils into your hands and breathe in. If you have trouble sleeping, put in your pillowcase a cloth with a few drops of lavender. The lavender will calm you down and help you drift off to sleep.
8. Cuddle a Pet or Hug Someone Special to You
Research has shown that stroking, cuddling, or even gazing into the eyes of a pet leads to a rise in oxytocin levels. Oxytocin is the “love hormone” that is also released during hugs, sex, or breastfeeding. It reduces stress and anxiety levels while increasing feelings of relaxation, trust, and bonding.
The more cuddles you have with your pet and the more you hug people, the better you will feel. So, go out and cuddle and hug as much as you can,n knowing that you will have more energy and feel much happier about your life!
Consistently applying these strategies in your life not only improves your mood and energy levels but also builds your resilience and your ability to confidently manage the disruptions and uncertainties that you will face in life.
Don't have time for the full article? Read this.
Staying healthy physically, mentally, and spiritually are all contributing factors to boosting moods and energy.
Smelling essential oils or lemon can help boost moods; lavender and basil have proven to reduce stress and negativity.
Having clarity in life and meaning can help uplift your mood. This helps to provide a direction in life.
Socializing and finding a community can make you feel good since humans are social beings; cuddling pets and hugging loved ones have also proven to make people feel better due to the released oxytocin.
Featured photo credit: Max Ilienerwise via unsplash.com
|Benson-Henry Institute: Dr. Herbert Benson
|Mental Health Foundation: Alcohol and mental health
|National Library of Medicine: Effects of mindfulness meditation on serum cortisol of medical students
|Canyon Vista: Activating the Parasympathetic Nervous System to Decrease Stress and Anxiety
|Anxieties: Breathing Problems During Anxiety, and How to Fix them
|Tapa: Science Confirms that Dancing Makes You Happy!
|The Healthy: 10 Mood-Lifting Essential Oils That Are Instant Pick-Me-Ups
|One Health Organization: