Brighten up, sunshine! 15 easy steps to a brighter mood
It's just not possible to be happy all the time – in fact, it's not healthy. We all have days where everything is going wrong and we can't seem to shake that bad mood, but there are plenty of things you can do to cultivate a brighter, more positive outlook?
Nobody wants to spend time with Mr or Mrs grumpy, so by boosting your mood, you'll be making your friends and family happier too. A healthier lifestyle can help you to achieve a brighter mood; and that's just the start! Why not try some of our 15 steps to a better mood today, and let us know how you get on?
#1. Ditch the junk food
When your work presentation has gone badly and you feel like you're coming down with a cold, it's tempting to reach for junk food to comfort yourself. Comfort eating is a step on the road towards weight gain and rewarding yourself with food in this way isn't healthy. There's nothing wrong with the occasional treat, but you'll find that eating a healthy lunch actually makes your day better. Choose something protein rich and delicious, such as a tuna or chicken salad or a hearty bowl of Thai soup packed with spices, garlic and ginger, to ward off your cold and you'll feel brighter in no time!
#2. Write down your problems
#3. Get outside
We know there might not be much sun about at this time of year, but there are still a few sunny, frosty mornings in store, even when it's winter. Getting outside in the morning for a run can give your body a vitamin D boost that can help to ward off low mood and it can also regulate your body clock, ensuring you get a better night's sleep later.
#4. Catch up with a friend
If you're snowed under with work and feeling distinctly grumpy, take a break and catch up with a friend. It could be meeting in person for a coffee, or something as simple as a quick chat on the phone. Guaranteed to lift your mood!
#5. Skip the sugar
Sweet treats might give you a temporary boost, but satisfying your sweet tooth will leave you feeling worse in the long run. Processed sugar provides a temporary 'high', causing spikes and drops in your blood sugar which could leave you feeling drained and sleepy (1). Cutting out refined sugar will help avoid mood swings and that 3pm slump. Opt for a high-protein snack instead.
#6. Go for a run
Endorphins really are the key to happiness. Even going for a short run around the block will get your blood pumping and endorphins flowing, which can help you to feel more relaxed and fight off anxiety and depression, boosting your self-esteem and leaving you with a cosy glow. Get your running shoes on and try it – why not download a running app to help you stay motivated too?
#7. Cook up some healthy recipes
If it's cold and grey outside and your friends are all busy, you're probably feeling a bit blue. You've been for a run, caught up on work and are mooching around the house. Why not do some healthy cooking so that you have delicious meals to enjoy throughout the week? Try some of our fab healthy soup recipes or get creative with sweet potato recipes for a vitamin A boost!
#8. Try positive affirmations
Way too many of us have a negative inner voice, you know, that voice that tells you off when you screw up or tells you there's no way you'll ever be ready for that fitness challenge. Try silencing it with positive affirmations and your mood will get brighter, instantly! Simple phrases such as “I am happy”, “I can do this” and “I love myself,” might sound cheesy, but they do work.
#9. Do something that makes you happy
We all need little things that make us happy, and if your week looks something like sleep, eat, work and repeat, it's time to make some changes. After all, no wonder you're in a bad mood if you don't have anything to look forward to! Read a good book, meet up with friends for dinner, catch a movie, head for the gym and work off your stress or just relax at home and binge-watch your favourite TV show. Whatever makes you happy, take some time out each day and do it!
#10. Try natural pain relief
Back, shoulder or neck pain can really impact your life, not to mention your mood. It's hard to be cheery when you're in pain. Alternative medicine, such as visiting a chiropractor or having an aromatherapy massage, can really help, as can exercises for lower back pain or ancient remedies such as acupuncture. When your body is healthy and balanced, you'll feel happier.
#11. Have a little of what you fancy
A balanced diet and regular exercise are key to staying in good health, but there's no denying we all get cravings some of the time. With Christmas right around the corner, enjoy a little of what you fancy and stop feeling guilty about your cheat day. As long as you eat well 90% of the time – that means plenty of wholegrains, fresh fruit and vegetables and enough protein to keep you satisfied, there's no reason why you can't enjoy a treat now and again. Check out some of our healthy dessert ideas if you're looking to satisfy your sweet tooth!
#12. Spend time with animals or children
Nothing beats the blues and lifts your mood faster than animals or children. If you don't have pets (or kids) of your own, try some pet sitting or dog walking, or offer to babysit for a friend or family member. Yes, amusing animal and baby videos on YouTube do work almost as well, but it's far better to enjoy the real thing for an instant mood boost!
#13. Appreciate nature
Living in a big city or urban area is convenient for work but it's easy to let the stress and fast pace of life overwhelm you; for some people it can really affect mood. If you're feeling stressed out and blue, get out of the city for an afternoon (or longer, if work allows) – hire a bike, enjoy a quiet weekend away or just go for a drive and explore somewhere new. Activities such as hiking, mountain biking and rock climbing are all great ways to stay active and appreciate your natural surroundings.
#14. Take a social media break
Facebook, Twitter, instagram – what do our favourite social media sites have in common? Actually, more than you might think. Whilst they're a great way to keep in touch with friends and family, they could also be causing you to become self-obsessed, and your self-esteem can take a serious knock from spending too much time poring over other people's statuses and photos (which don't always give an accurate reflection of their lives). So why not take a social media break? A week or two away from Facebook and Twitter will give you more time to focus on your own life, rather than comparing yourself to others!
#15. Embrace the lighter side of life
If you're feeling a bit down, recognise that you're probably guilty of embracing the doom and gloom a bit. We all get down from time to time, but by connecting with your lighter side, you'll feel happier. Watch some stand-up comedy, invite your friends over for a movie night, go to a funny show or just call up someone who makes you laugh. Laughter is the best medicine!
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