Woken up feeling a little blue?
Don’t just write it oﬀ as a bad day and stay glum.
Try one of our 12 innovative mood boosters and turn that frown upside-down instead.
1. Sit Up Straight
The better your posture the easier you’ll find it to think of something that makes you happy. When you’re slumped forward it takes twice as much brainpower to access happy memories, says Professor Erik Peper from San Francisco State University.
2. Look up
“When you’re feeling powerless you look down and shrink, but when you’re feeling empowered and positive your posture expands and you lookup. Creating that posture has the same eﬀect, so arrange your world so you regularly look up – put joyful images high on the wall, and when you’resitting put a pillow under your lower back as it naturally helps you tilt your posture upwards,” says Professor Peper.
3. Jump in the air
This is the trick business mentor Renee Mayne suggests to clients who can’t quite shake themselves out of a funk. “Sit and think about what’s causing your mood. Once you’ve come up with the answer, jump up into the air like you’ve just won the lottery. Repeat this three times. As you do this you’ll shift your energy so whatever’s causing your mood won’t have the same impact on you – either it’ll disappear, or you’ll come up with a way to solve the problem,” she says.
4. Put a string in your step
The bouncier your walk, the more positively you think. “People who walk in a happy way recall fewer negative words than those moving in a more depressed style,” says researcher Johannes Michalak from the University of Witten/Herdecke in Germany. Try swinging your arms and looking around you as you stride.
5. Treat yourself to a vanilla yoghurt
Women who eat full-fat yogurt regularly are less prone to bad moods as it’s believed healthy bacteria and fats it contains actually help modulate emotions. For a bigger boost, however, make yours vanilla flavored. Dutch researchers found this is the flavor most likely to boost mood, possibly because we associate the scent of vanilla with happy memories like eating ice-creams on the beach.
6. Get your eyes tested
When our vision is compromised– even moderately – we’re more likely to suﬀer low mood and depression. It’s not known exactly why this is, but researcher ProfessorJugnoo Rahi from London’s University College Hospital says it’s possible that even slightly poor vision might make doing things we enjoy like reading, or that keep us independent like driving, harder– and this impacts our happiness.
“If you think your eyesight is changing, do seek medical attention – there might be something you can do to help stop things getting worse and it having further eﬀects on your health,” advises Professor Rahi.
7. Eat a Chilli
“This is something I do when I need a quick mood fix,” says Sydney-based motivational speaker Nicole T Harcourt. “I actually keep a few little red hot chillies in my handbag at all times. They release the same endorphin as exercise but it’s easier than trying to run somewhere in heels, which I often wear.”
8. Use a diary
Scheduling activities in a diary creates such a positive mood boost, doctors in the US have been trialing it as a treatment against mild depression and found it works just as well as some more expensive forms of therapy.
The theory is that when we’re feeling down, we tend to put oﬀ doing activities that might make us feel better, like exercise, or we might even avoid things we’d normally enjoy which then creates more sad feelings.
“Experiencing more, or more varied, activities can definitely lift mood,” says study author Professor David Richards from the University of Exeter.
9. Change your password
Using a life-affirming password, known as ‘positive pass-wording’ is such a trend in the US there are even books and websites looking at how to choose the right phrase for you! The theory is that typing a password that makes you feel happy each day can naturally boost mood.
“It’s got to feel believable to you though or it will be met with resistance by your mind and it won’t work,” says life coach Alex Kingsmill. She suggests using words like ‘choose’– for example, ‘Ichoosehappy’ rather than ‘Iamhappy’ – so everything feels more doable.
10. Say thanks to your pillow
It’s well known that being grateful for all you have in life creates a more positive mindset, but sometimes, especially if you’re feeling particularly down, it can be hard to get started.
“So I suggest people start by scanning their room and expressing gratitude for inanimate objects. You might say, ‘I’m grateful for the pillow that stopped my neck aching in bed last night’ or ‘I’m grateful for the ceiling that means the rain doesn’t touch me’. Start with the simple things, then, as you train your gratitude muscles you can start looking for positives deeper in your life,” says business coach Irena Bee.
11. Find someone in a good mood
Happiness is catching.The sweat produced by happy people contains chemicals thought to infuse others around them with a similar feeling, say researchers. “Happy people also see possibilities in life rather than focusing on problems and if you hang out with them this mentality transfers to you,” says motivational speaker Dr Dain Heer.
12. Stand on one leg for a minute
“When you do this you have to focus and be calm and this brings your attention to the present moment, which is well known to reduce stress and boost mood,” says Kingsmill. She also suggests you use this mental reset as what she refers to as a “choice point” – a moment when you decide to stop thinking in a grumpy way and instead focus on thinking positively.
“A lot of mental attitude comes from a conscious choice as to how we see things,” she explains. From this moment on, therefore, make the choice to think happy thoughts.