5 ways to improve your mood. Quickly.
Despite what we would be led to believe, feelings are not just for chicks. No one wants to feel bored, down, sad, moody, angry, depressed – whatever you want to call it – all the time. And although some of these suggestions may not seem revolutionary, you’d be surprised to find how what you’re not doing is affecting your mood.
1) Pick up the phone. Or blackberry, iphone, droid, keyboard, smoke signal, whatever. Getting in touch with others is easier than it has ever been. When we’re not feeling our best, communication with others (friends, family, partners, coworkers) is usually the first to go. We think it feels better to be alone or removed, but even a small amount of contact with someone (for any reason – how ‘bout those Knicks?) can help to lift mood (ours and maybe someone else’s, too).
2) Get moving. A doctor friend once told me “If I could give my patients a magic pill to improve their everything about their health, appearance, and mood, I’d put exercise in a capsule.” And this is 1000% the case for mood. Nothing will relax you, lift your spirits, raise self-esteem, and get you motivated like exercise – once you get out and do it (no one’s claiming it’s easy to get off the couch). But even if it’s just 15-30 minutes of cardio (i.e., getting off the subway 2 stops early, walking to the third closes starbucks, etc.) or 100 crunches before bed, your mood will feel the effects. It’s a simple equation: more endorphins in your brain = happier you.
3) Get back in touch with your meat. Remember the simple equation above? Guess what else releases endorphins? Yep, you guessed it: orgasm. So whether you’re digging through old piles of porn (OK, let’s get real, clicking through files on your hidden folders on your back-up hard drive), calling that old faithful booty call, or arranging a date night with your better half (which efficiently covers suggestions #1 and #3), get your D some attention!
4) Think positive. There’s a reason the self-help industry is a multi-million dollar one and therapists spend a lot of time working with people on eliminating negative and harmful thinking patterns: it works. When you find yourself moody, pissed off, cranky, etc., chances are you’ve got some nasty thoughts floating around in your head (“my boss must’ve passed me over for that project because I suck at my job;” “I’ve got an inner tube around my waist, no wonder I didn’t get any numbers last night”). Replacing those thoughts with more positive ones (“maybe my boss gave the project to someone else since I got the last one;” “I should go work out, I’d probably feel better” – see #2) will absolutely help your mood – as long as your positive thoughts are realistic and believable (sorry, you’re never going to convince yourself or anyone else that you’re Bill Gates).
5) Take care of yourself. Think women are the only ones who feel worse when they’re all disheveled in sweatpants, unshowered with dirty hair and no makeup? Wrong! Not that you need to be wearing makeup or getting your hair did (unless that’s what makes you feel good – in which case go with it), but taking care of yourself will improve your mood. Whether it’s a good shave, a haircut, a clean shirt, a manicure, or a great yoga class, doing something that you enjoy and makes you feel good (smart, handsome, powerful, independent, etc.) is an instant upper –even better if you can make a habit out of it.