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Published on September 10, 2020

8 Powerful Mood Boosters to Lift Your Mood And Energy

8 Powerful Mood Boosters to Lift Your Mood And Energy

COVID-19 has bought significant disruption in our lives. For many of us, it has been a traumatic time as the feelings of fear and uncertainty seem to be dominating 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 levels are what fuels our mood swings and low energy levels, and if we don’t take action to deal with this, we will find ourselves in a place where our well-being is under threat.

Here are 8 powerful mood booster strategies that you can apply right now to lift your mood and energy levels.

Following these 8 strategies consistently will help build your resilience and boost your mood and energy. Your ability to navigate your way through the disruption and uncertainty of life will come from a place of strength rather than confusion.

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, having a game of tennis, or doing 30 mins gym class is a quick easy way to distract yourself from feeling a bit down and 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 at all costs when you are feeling down and low in energy.

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Exercising and eating balanced meals also contribute significantly to good sleeping patterns, which are essential to a healthy and well-balanced life.

2. Meditate

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 mediation and exercise. There are also mediation classes, books CD’s, or apps that can introduce you to mediation practice.

3. Learn How 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.

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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 response. This is the body’s equally powerful and opposite system to the Emergency Response and is often called the relaxation response or commonly known as the Calming Response.

There are several other breathing techniques that 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.[1] 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!

The Calming Breathe Technique

  1. Take a long, slow breath in through your nose, first filling your lower lungs then your upper lungs.
  2. Hold your breath to the count of “three.”
  3. Exhale slowly through pursed lips, while you relax the muscles in your face, jaw, shoulders, and stomach.

4. Socialize

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 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.

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If you don’t have someone to spend time with, then take action and go 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.

6. Dance

When you dance to a song you love, you feel happier! This is partly due to the release of endorphins and positive neurotransmitters that 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!

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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 of 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 ca,n knowing that you will have more energy and feel so much happier about your life!

Final Thoughts

When you try these techniques, you will boost your mood and energy levels. Apply these mood booster strategies in your life so you can build your resilience and ability to deal with disruptions and uncertainties that you face in life, especially now that we are living in a world with COVID-19.

More Tips to Boost Your Mood and Energy

Featured photo credit: Max Ilienerwise via unsplash.com

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Kathryn Sandford

Career Resilience Coach passionate about supporting others to grow and thrive in a complex world.

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Last Updated on September 18, 2020

How to Break Free From Negative Thinking for Good

How to Break Free From Negative Thinking for Good

Negative thinking can make us feel as though we are never truly good enough to change our lives. Whether we believe that we are not good looking enough, not smart enough, not funny enough, or something in between, we are always right.

We often tell ourselves the following:

“I’m not good enough to accomplish this.”

“They won’t like me. I’m too ugly to be around them.”

“I won’t ever be able to get out of this situation.”

How we see ourselves dictates how we lead our lives. This simple truth, while it is currently impacting your reality in a negative way, is actually good news. Why?

You can change your thinking, and when you can change your thoughts, you can change your reality.

Put simply, if you start to believe and feel like you are good-looking, intelligent, wealthy, or other things, you begin to see yourself in that light. If you tell yourself that you are capable of achieving greatness, you will eventually get there!

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That said, many find themselves wondering what to do when they get stuck in negative thinking. Are you tired of letting negative thinking run your life? Do you want to take control of how you feel and put yourself out there?

If you want to start writing your own narrative, let’s learn more about negative thought cycles and how you can change your own internal voice.

Where Do Negative Thoughts Come From?

You aren’t going to wake up one day and find that you are suffering from random negative thoughts. Negative thoughts are often a mix of ideas that we develop on our own, as well as ideas that we may have gotten from others.

For example, if you are constantly watching media where individuals are depicted as having thin bodies and perfect skin (and you do not have the same characteristics as those who are traditionally considered to be beautiful), you may come to the conclusion that you are not beautiful or deserving of love.

This is far from the truth, but your own take on how the world works can play into how you feel about yourself.

Equally harmful, the opinions of others can start to affect our self-perception. If several people tell you something negative about yourself, you may begin to take these opinions to heart, telling yourself the same things over time. This self-belief then becomes the model for how you live.

More often than not, the reality is that individuals who lack confidence and self-esteem are going to develop negative thought patterns.

This does not mean that confident people do not face internal crises of their own. After all, everyone is prone to experiencing a negative thought here and there. However, those who are self-aware and confident are able to bounce back from these thoughts and return to their truth.

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Those who do not think highly of themselves, on the other hand, are going to keep believing the negative thoughts that come into their mind. The issue? These negative thoughts turn into a repetitive cycle that becomes harder to break over time.

When you tell yourself something for months or years at a time, it can be difficult to transform that internal dialogue into something more positive and realistic. But is it possible? Absolutely!

The Importance of Quitting Negative Thinking

Beyond low-self esteem, there may be mental health-related causes behind your negative thought patterns, like depression. One of the major symptoms of depression is, you guessed it, negative thoughts. Depression can make us feel unworthy of love and life, even if we have everything we could wish for[1].

You may be struggling with anxiety disorders instead, which can paint uncertain visions of the future and leave you anticipating the worst long before the moment has arrived. Some people have anxiety about the present or will return to past moments where they felt as though they failed, which affects their feelings about who they are or who they will be[2].

Having mental health issues can make your situation more complex, but it is important to know that these types of health issues are highly treatable, especially with the assistance of a mental health professional. You are deserving of self-love, and getting help is the first, most important step of your journey!

How to Break the Cycle of Negative Thinking

In order to overcome your negative thought process, you are going to need two things: self-awareness and a willingness to love yourself. Once you are armed with these two tools, take a look below to learn more about how you can break free of the cycle of negative thinking.

1. Become Aware of the Thoughts That Are Affecting You

Negative thoughts are hard to catch because they have a tendency to become a part of who we are. These thoughts build our belief system and go unchallenged, even when they pop up daily.

All change begins with awareness. Whatever it is that you believe about yourself, take the time to pay attention to your own dialogue.

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What are you saying to yourself on a regular basis? How does it make you feel? Is any of it true?

 

When these thoughts are brought to your attention, you begin to notice just how often you are saying these things to yourself. Once you’ve cultivated awareness around these thoughts, you can begin to develop the change that you want.

2. Learn to Accept Them as They Come (and Move on)

A lot of people believe that you have to completely remove negative thinking patterns from your life in order to be happy. Not only is this not possible, but it’s also not true. You are going to experience negative thoughts regardless. It’s what you decide to do with these thoughts that matters.

Next time a negative thought comes into your mind, treat it like a passing car. Acknowledge it and let it pass you by. Don’t try to wave the driver over to you or continue thinking about once it has passed. Just let it go.

Giving power to your thoughts allows them to have control over you. You can’t stop a negative thought from entering your mind, but you always have the power to let it go!

3. Challenge Your Negative Thoughts

Our own beliefs play on a loop, telling us certain things over and over again. While it’s important to let go, it is also important to get to the root of these issues and figure out where they are coming from.

Let’s imagine that you are telling yourself you are stupid throughout the day. If you notice this pattern, ask yourself: Does this have any basis in reality? Am I really stupid or am I telling myself this unnecessarily? Is there any evidence to support this[3]?

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Challenge negative thinking by asking questions.

    Challenging your negative thoughts will help you realize that they are highly-exaggerated and untrue. This gives you the opportunity to transform these negative thoughts into positive ones that resonate with you.

    4. Replace These Thoughts with Kinder, More Realistic Alternatives

    Anything that is broken must be replaced. The broken record playing on a loop within you can easily be changed to a tune that you can actually sing to.

    Whenever a negative thought comes up, take the time to stop yourself and think of something positive to put in its place. If you find yourself saying, “I can’t do this,” try telling yourself that you are more than capable instead.

    Keep in mind, however, that you need to tell yourself things that you truly believe. If you start telling yourself things that don’t resonate with you and encounter a situation that proves your belief wrong, you may do more harm than good!

    Bottom Line

    Changing the way you think is a rigorous but rewarding process that will change your outlook on life. If you find yourself struggling with negative thinking, learn more about where they come from and how you can stop them for good with the guide above!

    More on How to Stop Negative Thinking

    Featured photo credit: Max Ilienerwise via unsplash.com

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