There are many activities that can help improve your mood and overall mental health. These are simple everyday activities we often ignore or miss out on.
Problems do crop up in our lives from time to time. Perhaps you woke up on the wrong side of the bed, or the stresses of daily life have overwhelmed you. It's common to experience occasional feelings of sadness, so you need a little bit more self-care.
Mood Booster Activities to Improve Mental Health
There is a ton of psychological research to support the idea that hobbies can assist in enhancing mood and health. That could be spending some time in nature, writing down some things you're grateful for, or spending some time reading your favorite book.
On that note, here are six simple activities you can often do to raise and maintain your mood:
Have you talked to a friend for hours together and felt better after letting it all out? Psychologists call this process catharsis. It refers to the process of removing repressed emotions and thoughts, thereby providing relief.
Sometimes acknowledging your negative feelings is the best way to improve your mood. Repressing our feelings might frequently make our lives more stressful and tense. According to research, expressing our difficulties can help these feelings subside. We can release our feelings rather than hold them in, which can help us move forward.
Making a frustration journal can be beneficial. Journaling is frequently utilized in mental health procedures to allow someone to express their emotions without worrying about being judged. Take time to express how you feel if you see that your mood is starting to dwindle. Write down what you believe is making you feel this way, along with the reasons.
2) A Smile a Day Keeps Bad Mood Away
"Grin and bear it," or "smile and carry on," is an expression that has been in use for many years. This is as strange as it may appear, yet it works.
The amygdala, the region of the brain responsible for sensing emotions, is activated by the facial muscles during a grin. A study in the Journal of Experimental Psychology found that smiling can trick our brains into thinking that we are happy.
Our brain releases dopamine and serotonin when we smile, which causes the amygdala to fire, giving the impression that we are joyful. Dopamine can make us happier, and serotonin can reduce our stress levels. If your mood is deteriorating, try smiling for a while, and see how you feel. Smiling, like other activities, helps to boost mood immediately.
3) Comfort Yourself
When you're struggling with bad moods and other problems, it's perfectly normal to seek out the physical and emotional support of the people in your life. You may even be aware that physical contact, such as hugs, can cause your body to release oxytocin and make you feel more connected to your loved ones.
However, what happens when your mood deteriorates in a situation where you are unable to easily access that comfort or can't find activities that comfort you? Perhaps, you suddenly start to feel sad, overwhelmed, or just plain awful at work or in a group of strangers.
In that situation, you're the only one who can help yourself. A comforting embrace seems to be exactly what you need to improve your mood.
4) Do Positive Activities
Research shows that your thoughts about yourself strongly affect how you feel. The best way to boost your mood or change any negative feelings you may have is to counteract them with a positive one.
According to psychologist, Patricia Harteneck, when we perceive ourselves and our lives negatively, we can end up viewing experiences and activities in a way that confirms this notion. Instead, practice using words that promote feelings of self-worth and personal power.
So instead of saying "I was horrible at this task," use positive words and compassion like, "I'll work harder next time and complete this task."
5) Get in Touch with Nature
In the hussle and bussle of daily life, we often tend to forget to get in touch with nature.
We experience awe when we look at our natural surroundings and experience its beauty. One may even claim that awe is an awesome human emotion. A few recent studies have discovered a connection between feeling awe, or the emotion you get when you gaze up at the stars or out across a vast open valley, and being less stressed and more content.
People who just experienced an awe-inspiring experience are also more likely to feel more curious about the world around them and to behave more kindly toward others.
Although it may seem contradictory, helping others is one of the best ways to take care of yourself.
A comprehensive analysis of 40 studies conducted over the past 20 years revealed that volunteering was by far the most significant activity for enhancing psychological health.
According to researchers, participation in volunteer activities was associated with lower rates of depression, higher levels of overall contentment, and a lower likelihood of dying from a physical ailment as a result of mental discomfort.
Although these activities are helpful, make sure to talk to your doctor about any emotions of sadness, stress, or anxiety.
To stabilize their mood, some people may require medication or other therapies. Remember to stay hopeful. Your mood can be improved and your sense of balance maintained by reflecting on pleasant ideas, feelings, and activities.
Janvi Kapur is a counselor with a Master's degree in applied psychology with a specialization in clinical psychology.