6 Simple Ways To Improve Low Mood
If you have been feeling low and want to improve your mood, you are in luck, as boosting a typical low mood can usually be done quickly.
The first thing to realize about low mood is that it may be due to your reaction to an event – in other words, it is what psychologists call “situational sadness.” Recognize that even if the situation can’t change quickly, your attitude toward it will. Human beings are exceptionally good at “habituating”; that is, accepting setbacks, naturally regaining emotional equilibrium and moving forward. Knowing that this will happen to you can actually help it to happen faster.
Aside from this, there is a variety of quick, simple measures you can take to raise a low mood:
Walk. Often, our negative, repetitive thought-loops can be interrupted simply by a change in scenery combined with gentle exercise. A walk outside accomplishes both.
Listen to music. The American Music Therapy Association cites research indicating that music can help lower blood pressure, improve cardiac efficiency, improve breathing, lower heart rates and relax muscular tension. All of these effects can either accompany or cause improved mood.
Eat some dark chocolate: Several chemical compounds in dark chocolate can improve mood, possibly by raising levels of serotonin and endorphins in the brain. Have an ounce or so of high quality dark chocolate that contains at least 70 percent cocoa solids.
Pet your companion animal: In one study, people were assigned to do stressful tasks such as mental arithmetic problems or submerging a hand in ice water for two minutes. Companion animal owners who did the task with the animals present were more likely to describe these tasks as “challenging” rather than “threatening.” Many studies have confirmed that spending time with companion animals is one of the best, quickest ways to improve your emotional outlook.
Straighten up: Mood and posture affect each other profoundly. Just as a low mood can cause you to slump, making a conscious effort to stand straight with head and neck aligned can improve your mental balance almost immediately. Clinical psychologist and yoga therapist Bo Forbes points out that making this change can deepen breathing, an important aspect of improving mood.
Take a sniff: Scents that have been linked to better mood include vanilla and lemon balm. Use essential oils (available in natural foods stores) in diffusers and breathe in deeply through your nose.
You may find these even more effective if they are done in combination; for example, play some uplifting music as you walk, being conscious of keeping your shoulders back and head held high. This may create a powerful synergistic effect that will have you feeling better in just a few minutes!