Wouldn’t it be fantastic if everybody was in a good mood all the time? But all sorts of things like insomnia, too much coffee, a nagging doubt or an unresolved argument seems to play havoc with your mood. But there are surprising things that can affect your mood too. Read on to discover if they can help you understand your mood meter.
1. Sleep in total darkness – you will love it
Did you know your wake sleep cycle can be disrupted if you are not sleeping in total darkness? Studies show light pollution coming from neighboring houses, street lighting, and poorly made curtains plus the absence of shutters, can affect sleep quality negatively. It may also be a precursor for depression. Here are some tips to make sure you can sleep in total darkness:
- Cover up digital clocks and any appliances with a LED
- Forget about night lights
- Use blackout curtains over your window
- Consider using a face-mask if you can’t block light pollution
- Don’t fall asleep with the light or TV on, if possible
Not just your mood but your overall health can improve. Poor sleep quality has been linked to heart disease, diabetes, aging and mental disorders. This was revealed in the book by T.S. Wiley, called “Lights Out: Sleep, Sugar and Survival.”
2. Your posture reveals everything about you
When I was a kid, I remember the words of the song by Val Doonican which went like this: “Walk tall, walk straight and / Look the world right in the eye / She said ‘Son, be a proud man’ / And hold your head up high.” Sound advice and I still remember those words today and I am nearly 70 years of age! Watch the video if you want to see what I grew up on.
Was Val Doonican’s songwriter on to something? Well, he was, because when you walk confidently and hold your spine correctly, you are immediately conveying to yourself and others around you that you are confident, optimistic and self-assured. I have never met anybody who slouched or sat hunched at his or her desk who was nothing less than miserable, pessimistic and a loser.
Are there any studies to show this is really the case? Professor Erik Peper at San Francisco State University asked over 100 students to note their energy levels when they slouched down a corridor. They were then asked to skip down the corridor. Of course, they noted in the questionnaires afterwards, they had decreased energy levels when slouching. Now, the next time you attend a job interview, tell the world with your posture you are the right person for the job. You can thank me later!
3. The weather affects your mood… and the stock market
We all know we feel much happier, healthier and more confident on a sunny day. There are countless studies to show we are essentially a meteoropathic species.
But did you know the sunshine can affect the stock market too? Traders are more bullish and more likely to take calculated risks on a sunny day. This is the result of a study which took 15 years to complete and studied the effects of the weather on stock exchanges in 26 countries!
4. Don’t wear black, please!
I live in Italy and the most popular color in fashion at the moment is black! Absolutely funereal in a sunny country. But it is associated with an elegant lifestyle, such as ‘black tie’ and ‘black limousine.’ The only relief for me is when I see Indian women in the street with their lovely, brightly-colored saris.
Color affects our mood and there are sound anthropological reasons for this. Our ancestors regarded red as a color of danger in that it represented danger from fire but also heat and energy. Even now, our hearts beat faster when we see red and naturally it has become the color for emergency services, anger and stop signs.
Our language is full of colors as well. Reflect on these examples:
- I am really browned off
- This is a golden opportunity
- He is green with envy
- She was as white as a sheet
- Like a red rag to a bull
- He has a yellow streak
- He was the black sheep of the family
The psychology of color is a fascinating area and used extensively in marketing. There are many anecdotal references and studies subjective in nature. More rigorous scientific studies are needed here. But, if changing your outfit to a brighter color lifts your mood, go for it.
5. Use social media sparingly
Have you updated your Facebook today? If you have, you are probably feeling better. Facebook can help reduce loneliness, boost friendship and increase self-esteem. How many times have we laughed at a funny video posted on our Facebook page!
The bad news is when Facebook and other social media start to take over they may result in depression, break up marriages and may be a contributory cause of eating disorders.
“Everything in moderation, including moderation.” Oscar Wilde
6. Money makes the world go round
Is money the root of all evil? Money can’t buy happiness. Lottery winners are not happier than the rest of us and often encounter endless problems with managing their money and relationships.
Research now shows when we start to donate to charity and help the needy with cash, we are much happier than when we might spend that money on ourselves. This was described in a recent TED talk by Michael Norton, a Harvard business professor. The other side of the coin is when people get into debt and suffer from depression, they sometimes commit suicide.
The secret is to realize money only temporarily leads to pleasure. The most important thing is to learn how to manage our finances wisely.
“I cannot think of a more personally rewarding and appropriate use of wealth than to give while one is living—to personally devote oneself to meaningful efforts to improve the human condition.” Chuck Feeney
What things really affect your mood? Let us hear about them in the comments below.
Featured photo credit: If you want a rainbow/Jessica Keating Photography via flickr.com