Having a bad day? When things don’t go your way, it’s tempting to grab a pint of Ben & Jerry’s, start an hours long Netflix binge, and wallow in self-pity. However, time is your most valuable resource. Don’t waste it with negative thoughts! There are ways to get happy when you’re upset.
Instead, try one of these 10 things to do when you feel sad:
1. Listen to uplifting music
Whether it’s a break up or a bad grade, there’s a song out there to match every emotion. While it’s common to turn to music that mirrors your mood, when you’re feeling down, it’s actually better to do the opposite. You don’t get over someone by listening to depressing love songs or forget about a negative situation by playing songs with a pessimistic outlook.
Instead, create a playlist of positive, uplifting music to turn to when you need a mood-boost. Songs like Andy Grammar’s “Keep Your Head Up” or One Republic’s “Good Life” are great songs to add to that playlist!
Exercising is often the last thing you want to do when you’re depressed, but it’s scientifically proven to boost your mood. Not only is it good for your health, but physical activity triggers the release of endorphins in the brain which can have mood-boosting effects for up to 12 hours afterwards.
Exercise can be as simple as taking a walk or doing some meditative stretching, but also covers more intense activities, like running or kickboxing. The important thing is to get up and get moving!
3. Talk about it
When you’re faced with a problem or challenge, it’s common to want to put off dealing with it, but this only prolongs your negative feelings.
Sometimes it takes saying things out loud and gaining the perspective of others to put a situation into context. It’s probably not as bad as you think, and even if it is, knowing that you have a friend who supports you will go a long way in making you feel better.
4. Eat dark chocolate
Trade in the fattening and stomach ache-inducing cookie dough for a healthier but equally delicious alternative – dark chocolate.
The health benefits of this sweet treat are numerous. It’s packed with fiber, iron, and magnesium, plus it’s also brimming with antioxidants, which stimulate the production of pleasure-inducing endorphins, and serotonin, which acts as an anti-depressant.
5. Smile (Especially when you don’t feel like it)
Forcing yourself to smile, no matter how upset or distraught you are, is scientifically proven to make you feel happier.
For the most effective results, practice the “Duchenne smile,” where the corners of the mouth are curled upwards and the muscles around the eye are also contracted, and hold this expression for at least 30 seconds. You might feel ridiculous at first, but it works!
6. Play with animals
They aren’t called “man’s best friend” for nothing! If you have a furry friend at home, show them some extra love when you’re down in the dumps.
Studies show that petting a dog for only 15 minutes triggers the release of prolactin, oxytocin, and serotonin, all of which are mood-boosting hormones. Studies have also shown similar results through interaction with other animals, too.
7. Express yourself
Find your inner Picasso and create a painting, write in a journal, get lost in a good book or redecorate. Channeling your creativity is a healthy way to deal with negative emotions.
Laughter, like smiling, is also a great way to boost your mood. Go to a site like Buzzfeed or The Onion for blog posts that will have you lol’ing or YouTube your favorite comedian. I know can always count on Ellen when I need a quick pick-me-up.
9. Surround yourself with positive people
The way that others act is infectious.
Don’t make a bad mood worse by surrounding yourself with negative people. Instead, surround yourself with people who have positive outlooks when it comes to their own lives and who can help you get yours back on track.
10. Rewire the way that you think
This tip is perhaps the most important. When I was younger, my stepmom used to always tell me, “Happiness is a choice,” and she couldn’t have been more correct. It sounds too simple to be true, but it is – you, in fact, hold the key to your own happiness.
When you find yourself beginning to think negatively, recognize it and stop the chain of pessimistic thoughts. Instead, look for the bright side of the situation. So you didn’t get the internship you wanted? Well at least you now have more practice in writing cover letters, and the interview experience will leave you better prepared for your next application! There is always something to be learned from every failure or bad experience.
What do you think?
What do you do when you’re in need of a quick mood boost? Leave any questions, comments, or suggestions below!