Start with these five methods to boost your mood naturally and defeat negative thinking.
Some days I feel more anxious than others. Feelings alter the way we think, and thoughts can turn negative feelings like depression, anxiety or anger into a positive experience just as easily if we practice self-help exercises (psychological not physical, in this case) to dissolve the issues. Usually there is a trigger that sets things reeling. Certain exercises can facilitate a shift from negative thinking or illogical thoughts to a happier, more balanced feeling.
Realize that life throws us curve balls just to keep us grounded (pardon the pun). Staying positive is not realistic or easy. For every negative emotion (for instance, sadness over the loss of a loved one or friend), there’s both a healthy and a negative version. Here are some useful tips that can make a difference.
1. Have a Laugh
Fun is cheap. If you have forgotten how to have fun, don’t wait for the next wedding or family reunion to laugh it up. Research shows that having fun and laughter decreases levels of the damaging stress hormones cortisol and epinephrine. It also helps to laugh because it supports our immune system and protects us from illness. One minute of laughter boosts your immune system for over 24 hours. I am sure my last cold was short-lived because I made it a point, even when I felt terrible, to watch a funny movie or read an entertaining book. Turn off the news at dinner time or before you go to sleep.
2. Call a Friend
When feeling down, reach out to friends who don’t allow you to dwell on your pain, but also don’t ignore it. Stay away from the “Debbie Downers.” “If we surround ourselves with people who are joyous, hopeful, or make us laugh and live in the moment, that makes us feel much better.” – Helen Grusd, Ph.D, clinical psychologist
3. Say Thanks
You probably have a lot to be thankful for, despite bouts of pain or an injury that may have slowed you down. Focus on gratitude. Perhaps make a list you read out loud to yourself (it helps to hear yourself say the words) every day, and eventually you can memorize it, as it becomes a part of your consciousness and diverts any negative feelings that keep you stuck.
Do Something – Anything
- Go out and shop for your favorite bath scent and take the best bubble bath since you were five years old.
- Start a journal. When you see the words pop from the page it creates a different reality.
- Agree when people might ask you to join them in an activity. Say yes to more things instead of no. Saying no will isolate you more in life.
- Play more, be child-like and I can guarantee the benefits will pay off.
- Don’t cook tonight, have your dinner delivered. Why? Because YOU deserve it!
4. Get Lost in a Song
It’s hard for negative thoughts to occupy the same space in your brain if you’re listening to happy music. A recent study found listening to upbeat music improves moods short term and boosted overall happiness over a two-week period. It can also reduce your level of pain. You’ll find yourself sitting less as you tap your toes to the rhythm of the song. Then, stand up and dance as if no one is looking.
Mood busters only work, like exercise for our body, if you practice regularly and before your mood sinks too low.
5. Go Outside
Those who enjoy spending time outdoors are more likely to like themselves. Be a nature lover. Taking a walk or hike, in addition to relieving depression, it helps distract from negative energy you might be carrying. If you would rather be outside and just pull weeds or plant a new exotic plant, that will work too. It also keeps fitness buffs energized.