15 quick mood boosters that work

Cheerful senior woman sitting at beach

Feeling down in the dumps? Cheer yourself up with our 15 tips to improve your mood... without the need for alcohol or chocolate!

1. Lose yourself in something
Learn karate, paint a masterpiece, write a poem, read or watch a thriller on TV – it doesn't matter what. Just do something that requires your full concentration. Taking your mind off whatever is bringing you down will help improve your mood.

2. Have a laugh
Laughing releases stress-busting chemicals, lowers your blood pressure and gives your body a good workout. Watch a funny movie, phone a friend or see a comedy show. Pull a face in the mirror and try to make fun of yourself.

3. De-clutter
It's easy to feel negative and over-burdened when you're surrounded by chaos. Clear out your junk and give the house a good clean. Re-organise your paperwork and tidy your desk at work. A clean and ordered environment will help you feel more positive and in control.

4. Let go of the past
You can't change what happened in the past but you can begin to move on. Write a letter to someone who has hurt you. If you get upset allow yourself to cry; if you feel angry, beat the pillows. Just let go. You can post the letter or destroy it – it's up to you. Next time that person comes into your mind tell yourself to let it go and turn your thoughts to something positive.

5. Set smaller goals
Accept that you can't change everything at once. Choose one thing, whether it's losing weight, finding work or meeting someone special and set yourself small, achievable goals. Do one thing each day that moves you closer to achieving that goal.

6. Make plans for the future
Plan an evening out with friends, book a pampering beauty treatment or buy tickets to a show. Having something to look forward to, whether it's a big holiday or a small outing, can make you feel better about the present.

7. Get moving
Go for a walk and get some fresh air. Green trees, birds and blue skies are nature's mood boosters. Studies show that a brisk 20-minute walk can reduce the production of stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline by as much as 45 percent and improve your mood for an hour afterwards. If the weather is bad put on some loud music, close the curtains and have a boogie.

8. Take yourself away
Visualise your perfect place where you feel happy and secure. It could be a long sandy beach or a pure white room. Use all of your senses to take you there. Breathe deeply and simply enjoy being somewhere else.

9. Eat yourself happy
Eat small regular meals throughout the day to help regulate your blood sugar and stop your energy levels dipping. Good mood foods include turkey, fatty fish such as mackerel and salmon and broccoli. Munching a high-protein snack (such as a handful of Brazil nuts) mid-afternoon will help avoid an energy dip.

10. Play with a pet
Stroking a cat or dog has been proven to lower stress levels in humans. Don't have a pet? Volunteer as a walker at your local animal home or walk a friend's dog. Just don't be sad when you have to return your furry friend at the end of the day!

11. Clear your head with peppermint
Feeling drowsy or run down? Try sniffing some peppermint. Studies show that the scent can increase the brain's production of alpha waves, electrical impulses that can produce a happier mood, in a matter of minutes.

12. Stay hydrated
If you feel thirsty, then you're already dehydrated. Keep your fluid levels topped up by sipping water throughout the day. Even mild dehydration can make you feel weak, dizzy and confused.

13. Water therapy
A warm bubble bath can be soothing, but if you're in need of a quick pick-me-up have a hot shower. Show gels scented with citrus, such as grapefruit, orange or lemon, are particularly energising.

14. Breathe out stress
Taking a few deep breaths can help your body release and will energise you. Try taking a deep breath and holding for a count of four. Hold for a moment and then exhale deeply to the count of four. Repeat several times.

15. Try yoga
If you want to feel uplifted or instantly alert, try yoga. Search for poses on YouTube (such as the Warrior pose) or simply have a good stretch. Bending over to touch your toes will send a rush of blood to the brain, making you feel awake and alert.

Have you tried any of the above? Leave a comment below...

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