7 Ways to Instantly Boost Your Mood

7 Ways to Instantly Boost Your Mood

If you’re looking for a quick emotional boost, these simple tricks can help.

By Lorraine Allen

This time of year, when the days are short and darkness sets in before dinnertime, it can be hard to remain upbeat. Happily (pardon the pun!), emotions can be triggered by many things, not just sunshine, and we still retain full control of how we feel, no matter what the weather or where we live. Here are seven simple was to improve your mood in a hurry if you’re struggling with the winter blues:

1. Smile! Yup, it’s that’s easy (and silly!). Research shows that even a forced grin releases the same happy chemicals as a “real” smile, and brings joy.

2. Laugh often. This might seem obvious: The more you laugh, the happier you’ll be, but the truth is that most of us don’t put “giggles” on our to-do list. Turns out we should, because laughter brings joy, and better overall physical health, too, studies show. And it doesn’t take much to find something amusing—a silly photo you can frame and put on your desk or by your bed; a book of jokes; a calendar of daily cartoons; or a season’s worth of comedy podcasts you can download and listen to while doing almost anything.

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3. Eat chocolate. Yes, it’s true. This delicious treat, which can be paired up with so many other flavors (peanut butter, strawberry, coffee, salted caramel, or even BACON!), isn’t just pleasing to our tongues. Science suggests cocoa sparks real emotional joy, too, so eat up, but remember that a little goes a long way!

4. Play games. You can get really creative with this, or stick to board games and card games you and your family already love. Whatever you play, taking a break from your daily responsibilities feels like a mini emotional vacation, and is always a great way to improve your mood.

5. Dress up. This fun activity is definitely not just for kids, and you don’t need to be invited to a royal ball to find an excuse to put on something that makes you feel fabulous, and indulge in some first-class personal primping. You can splurge on an extra-nice dinner or get tickets to a show, or just dress up in your finest clothes for a favorite meal at home.


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6. Sing it! Pick a theme song that reminds you of your commitment to be more upbeat, and belt it out, nice and loud. Maybe it’s something from your kids’ repertoire, or something that reminds you of the last vacation you took. Whatever it is, sing it wherever and whenever you need a pick-me-up.

7. Dive into a new hobby. Doing new things refocuses us and engages new parts of our brain, sparking creativity, growth, and contentment. So try out something you’ve never done before. Maybe it’s baking bread from scratch, volunteering at a local animal shelter, taking a ceramics class, playing the drums, or joining an improv comedy group. It really doesn’t matter what it is, as long as you enjoy it and stick to it.

How do you boost your mood when you’re feeling blue?

Lorraine is a freelance parenting and food writer, and she shares her cooking adventures and family recipes at MixPlayEat.com. She lives in New York with her family and one squirrel-obsessed dog.

Image ©iStock.com/kupicoo

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