Bad days. They happen.
It may be guilt, small annoyances, or having too much on your plate (or maybe even not enough on your plate). Bottom line: something frustrating is happening and you feel a serious mood-swing coming on that you just can’t seem to shut down.
We’ve all been there.
The good news is: you don’t have to succumb to these looming lows. There are lots of quick, proactive things you can do to lift your mood when you start to feel yourself getting down.
Here are a few of our favorite tips for lifting a mood in 5 minutes or less.
First thing’s first: have you prayed about it?
You may be thinking this is a super simple principle, but we’re serious.
It’s amazing how quickly moment-by-moment, seemingly small annoyances can build up and fester into a funk that lasts a few days. Prayer—even if it’s just a few sentences—is a time to open up about what’s on your mind and allow God to fill your heart with the wisdom, patience, and understanding that you need to endure. Even in the small stuff.
Time with God is (no doubt) the most effective way to calm your mind and improve your overall outlook on life. Even a few short minutes can be enough to lift your mood and snap you out of a lingering funk.
“Clutter is a reminder of things that you should be getting done, but aren’t.” — Elaine Aron
Because clutter can fuel feelings of failure, spending some time tidying up the chaos around you can have a huge mental payoff. Life hack: you don’t even need to spend hours cleaning; a simple task like stacking some randomly dispersed items into neat piles can give your mood a lift in five minutes flat.
This is a favorite. If you haven’t already watched Amy Cuddy’s TED talk on body language, open the link in a new tab and add it to your watch list.
To give you a very short summary, Cuddy’s research shows that holding a power posture (think: wonder woman) for at least 2 minutes can actually boost your confidence and reduce stress.
Who would have thought that self-confidence and sitting up straight would have such an interesting correlation?
Turn off your electronics
At the very least, log out of your social media accounts. Resist the urge to mindlessly scroll through your newsfeed consuming content that (if we’re being honest with ourselves) doesn’t have a positive effect in life. It’s easy to get in the habit of staring at your screen during your down-time, but this zaps your energy and encourages your inactivity.
So turn ‘em off every once in awhile. Breathe. Get in the habit of treating your mind to solitude.
Smile — *especially* when you don’t feel like it
Yes, it’s a little woo-woo, but there’s some science behind this.
There have been multiple research studies that show that smiling, even when you don’t feel like it, can positively alter how you respond to difficult or stressful situations. You can Google it for the specifics, but basically, smiling signals to the rest of the body that it’s safe to let your guard down, so your heart rate slows and the level at which you perceive stress is decreased.
Pretty cool, huh?
Change up your surroundings
There are many different avenues to explore with this one. Whether it’s getting out and going for a ride, checking out a new coffee shop or walking down the street, a change in environment can be a significant mood lifter. If you’re more of a homebody, consider rearranging a desk or adding a new piece of furniture to your room. The new scenery can help you feel refreshed, giving you the energy needed to climb out of the low.
Hang out with a pet
Should we really spend time fleshing this one out? ‘Cause duh. (Making a serious effort to refrain from posting a series of recently-pinned photos of Lionel And Lilo doing any and everything and being the cutest EVER).
Cook a healthy meal, watch a TEDx talk, do something creative, take a long shower, put on a face mask… you get the idea. Treat yourself.
Connect with others
You may be thinking it’s a little risky to add more people into the bad-mood scenario, but it’s a lot easier to be unhappy if you keep yourself isolated.
That being said, be mindful of the people you choose to put around you; make it a point to connect with other happy people that are quick to speak words of encouragement (so no Debbie Downers allowed). This will give you a significant amount of support as you kick those negative feelings to the curb.
Eliminate the unnecessary
If you feel a bad mood coming on, more times than not, it’s because you’re feeling stressed and overwhelmed—a common trigger for depression symptoms. If this is something you struggle with, make it a point to refrain from taking on more than you can manage. Brain dump everything that’s on your mind, then sort through and prioritize what absolutely has to get done. Figure out what really matters, then cross off anything that can be skipped and/or revisited in a few weeks (or even months).
It’s OK to admit that you can’t do everything at once—because it’s physically impossible. Give yourself permission to accept that truth and then allow yourself to slow down. You’ll get there!
Because of our human makeup, it’s not uncommon for us to get swept up in negative emotions. We’re sensitive creatures after all. So, the next time you start to feel low, don’t beat yourself up; always remember to offer yourself some grace and be reminded of the fact that you’re doing the best you know how. Instead, try using a few of the mood-lifting tips we mentioned in this post to give your spirit a quick boost.
If one doesn’t work, another one will!
If you have friends or family members that tend to get caught up in negative thought loops, please share this post with them. Thank you for reading and joining the conversation!