Change Your Mood, Change Your Outlook
Have you ever noticed how some days just feel … perfect?
You wake up in a good mood. Your breakfast tastes a little better than usual. Your coffee is at just the right temperature and warms you from the inside out.
Your spouse seems extra sweet. You call your kids and enjoy catching up with their lives.
No matter what you do, it just seems to go right.
The Power of a Good Mood
The science shows that when you’re in a good mood, you are more likely to feel good about what’s going on around you. And you’re going to be happier with the people you encounter. When you’re in a good mood, you’re more likely to notice and remember the good things and more likely to forget or ignore the bad things.
When you’re in a bad mood, you tend to focus in on small details—especially those things that you find annoying or upsetting. But when you’re in a good mood, your visual range actually expands. You take in the bigger picture and find more to be happy about.
Your mood doesn’t just affect your perceptions. It also affects your performance. In one study, scientists found that people in a good mood were more successful at performing analytical tasks than people in a sour mood.
Your good mood truly can help your day to go better in a real and measurable way.
Here’s the really great news. You don’t have to wait for a good mood to find you. You can create it. It’s easy and there are many different ways to go about it.
12 Ways to Take Control of Your Mood
Many different things affect your mood. In most cases, you can improve your mood just by changing something about your immediate circumstances. Next time you find yourself in a less-than-ideal mood, try one of these 12 easy ways to give yourself an instant lift.
1. Keep an inspiration notebook: You have to lay a little groundwork for this one, but it’s really kind of fun. In a notebook or a computer document, collect inspiring quotes, pictures that make you smile, or nice things that people have said to you. When you’re feeling down, just flip open your notebook for an instant boost.
2. List five things you’re grateful for: When things just aren’t going right and you find yourself snapping at everyone around you and annoyed with just about everything, pause and list off five things you’re grateful for. Anything from being grateful for running water to being grateful for good health to being grateful that the snow melted before you had to shovel it. Just counting off a few of your blessings will improve your mood.
3. Get physical: Your mood is closely linked to your physiology. Something as small as changing your posture can give you a mental life. Going for a walk or a run can reset your mood entirely and turn a bad day into a good one. Any physical activity is good, but sex is especially good. So if you have a chance, trying improving your mood by getting in the mood.
4. Lose yourself in a hobby: For a particularly stubborn bad mood, take some time to do something you enjoy like baking, woodworking, or playing golf to chase away those blues.
5. Stand in the sun: If it’s a sunny day out, just go stand out in the sunlight for a few minutes. Close your eyes, lift your face to the sun, and bask in its warmth. Sunlight can affect your production of hormones, which have a big impact on how you feel.
6. Change your scene: Sometimes the blues come from feeling like you’re in a rut. If that’s the case, a change of scene might be enough to shake off the doldrums. Go for a walk in the park, take a book to a coffee shop, or even schedule a weekend getaway.
7. Unplug: Along the same lines, you can shake up your routine by unplugging from all your electronics for a day. Instead of Facebook, email, and TV, try good conversation, a board game, or a good book.
8. Music: Listening to the right kind of music can bring about a swift change in your mood. You know what you like. So put on some of whatever that is, turn up the volume, and enjoy.
9. Help someone: Giving a friend or neighbor a hand with something is a great pick-me-up. Not only does it make you feel good about yourself for helping others … it also puts you in contact with a friend and that in itself is a good mood elevator.
10. Grab your photo album: Take a walk down memory lane. Grab your favorite photo album and think back on all the happy moments you’ve enjoyed and who you’ve enjoyed them with. This one might make you feel a little nostalgic, but that’s better than just plain sad.
11. Phone a friend: Call someone you care about and who cares about you. Spend a few minutes catching up. Pick someone who usually makes you laugh. Sometimes sad feelings stem from loneliness and a quick call may be all you need to put yourself on track to a brighter mood.
12. Get creative: Tapping into your creative spirit can also give you an immediate life. Whether you enjoy writing poetry, painting or drawing, building model ships, or playing a musical instrument, activities like these can help you capture a good mood.
The next time you find yourself in a bad mood, don’t resign yourself to it. Take control, try one of these 12 strategies, and enjoy the good move you deserve.