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Are you feeling blue or stressed? You can’t always change the external circumstances bringing you down. However, you can choose healthy activities that science shows are effective in improving your state of mind by a small change to improve your mood.
The right hobbies can safeguard your mental health and keep you from backsliding into unhealthy coping mechanisms — like hitting the bottle. Here are nine activities to improve your mood quickly.
1. Take a Break
Sometimes, your emotions can overwhelm you. You might be tempted to behave rashly, saying things you later regret or even rage-quitting a job.
However, such actions can lead to unintended consequences that leave you in an even worse predicament than you started. Now you have more stress to manage.
It’s perfectly OK to normalize taking a break in any situation — even workplace ones. You don’t always have to announce your mental check-out. Taking a few deep breaths while staring out the window can help you centre yourself.
Going for a short, brisk walk somewhere away from all the stressors surrounding you is even better if you can manage it.
2. Phone a Friend
Human beings are innately social creatures. We look to other people for comfort — but modern life often leaves us feeling isolated. You might not want to confide your problems to colleagues even if you returned to the office.
If you have someone you trust, like a BFF or partner, why not give them a call? Sometimes, simply processing your emotions with someone you feel uninhibited speaking with can improve your mood.
3. Go for a Walk
Walking is a fabulous way to improve your mood if stress is what ails you. It gives your body’s innate fight-or-flight response an outlet.
Getting your body moving helps reduce the levels of hormones like cortisol that can make you behave irrationally.
You don’t necessarily need to go far. A brisk walk around the block might do the trick.
4. Practice Yoga
Yoga is the ultimate mind-body exercise. While you breathe, you turn your awareness inward. The gentle movement calms your body by releasing endorphins, natural opioid-like chemicals that improve your state of mind.
You don’t have to go on a retreat or even join a studio to get the benefits. You can find plenty of free yoga workouts on YouTube in every length, variety and style.
5. Listen to Comedy
Laughter can sometimes be the best medicine. If you have a few minutes, tune into one of your comedy favourites and chuckle your way to a better mood.
You can use this trick in the workplace. Keep a stash of funny memes on your computer that you can turn to for a smile when the hectic pace of office life turns your mood sour.
Dancing is another way to feel great, so when your favourite jam comes on, pretend no one is watching. If you’re at home, why not get the kids involved and have a dance-off in your living room?
This activity does more than just put a smile back on your face. It’s proven to be better than several other activities at preventing Alzheimer’s disease.
7. Play With Your Pets to improve your mood
Pets offer unconditional love. They’ll never judge you for crying in their fur. Spending a few minutes petting your dog or cat can make you feel comforted in your darkest hour.
It might even lower your blood pressure if anxiety has you going off the rails.
8. Draw or Paint
Humans were made to express themselves, but sometimes, it causes more problems than it solves. For example, confessing to a dark mood at work could leave you labelled the office Negative Nancy. This perception could prevent you from getting a much-needed raise or promotion.
Drawing or painting offers a safe outlet for your emotions. You can evoke powerful feelings in abstract ways, letting anyone who views your work see your passion while keeping your innermost thoughts private.
You don’t have to have any talent — the simple act of filling in an adult colouring book can restore a sense of calm.
Freewriting is another excellent way to regulate your emotions and improve your mood. You can voice the feelings that won’t let you think clearly without jeopardizing anything — like your job.
The trick is to write on paper that you can crumple or rip and destroy. Another idea is typing into a blank document. Whatever you do, avoid pouring out your thoughts in an email.
The instant nature of electronic communication makes it too tempting to send off something you should have kept to yourself.
Improve Your Mood Quickly With These Activities
It’s natural to feel down now and then — but you can do something about it. Try one of these nine activities to improve your mood quickly.