We all have days where we feel grumpy or a little blue. It’s important to know the tricks for how to boost your mood. The next time you’re having an off day or need a little pick-me-up, here are some of my favourite evidence-based ways to get that bounce back in your step:
1) Exercise every day
Exercising for 30 minutes, three times a week has become outdated. While any exercise is good exercise, it’s more impactful to get moving, any way you can, every single day. Even just a brisk, short walk will energise you, help you sleep better and improve your mood.
A University of Vermont study found that riding a stationary bicycle for just 20 minutes in the morning boosted mood and improved the ability to handle stress for a full 12 hours afterwards. The people who had exercised also reported less tension, anger, fatigue and symptoms of depression. For just twenty minutes of activity, that’s a major return on your investment!
2) Be grateful
Numerous studies have shown an association between gratitude practices and well-being. Every night, right before I fall asleep, I do the ‘What Went Well’ exercise created by the father of positive psychology, Dr. Martin Seligman. I think of three things that ‘went well’ that day, reliving them in my mind and feeling the related good feelings. I also say a prayer of thanks for the things I’m grateful for. One of my coaching clients adds to this by writing in a journal. She notes one thing she is proud of having done that day, and one thing that she is looking forward to the next day. Create a gratitude ritual that works for you and it will add richness and joy to your life.
3) Get enough sleep
If you’re moody and irritable and routinely get less than seven hours sleep, there is a strong possibility that lack of sleep is the cause of your grumpiness. The less sleep you get, the more likely you are to feel stressed, sad, angry or exhausted. Getting enough sleep should be a top priority. You will be delighted by how much better you and your life feel.
4) Keep your blood sugar steady
To feel good throughout the day, make it a practice to never let yourself get too hungry. Also avoid meals and snacks made from refined flours or sugary foods. Simple sugars and carbohydrates (like white flour and white sugar) cause your blood sugar to quickly spike and then crash, dragging your mood down in the process.
5) Eat foods that nourish your brain
Fatty fish like salmon, rich in omega-3 fatty acids, promote a healthy brain and better mood. I eat lots of fish and additionally take a wild salmon oil supplement. Eating a Mediterranean diet rich in fish, olive oil, legumes, vegetables and high-fibre grains is known to be wonderful for brain health. Additionally, it is associated with reduced rates of low mood and depression.
A final word: if you have been frequently experiencing a low mood, be sure to see your doctor. These tips are all useful for boosting mood but they are not designed to replace the care of a physician or psychologist.
What do you do to boost your mood? Let us know in the comments!