Everyone gets a little cranky now and then – including me. You know those days when you just feel like a grump, and you can’t even pinpoint why?
You don’t have to be Oscar the Grouch all day though (unless you want to sulk with your grumpy self). There are some things you can do to boost your mood, which aren’t difficult and can help. Here are some quick tips to chase the blues away quickly. Try them the next time you’re in a bad mood!
1. Smell some citrus.
Bright scents like lemon and orange can quickly lift your mood, leaving you feeling better. Peel an orange or slice a lemon and take a sniff. Or keep essential oils of citrus in your purse that you can take a whiff of.
2. Brew some peppermint tea
A study in the International Journal of Neuroscience showed that the aroma of peppermint boosted mood and cognitive performance in test subjects.
3. Do a good deed
Altruistic acts can immediately boost mood by reducing stress, according to several studies. You can attain the “helper’s high” by volunteering at a local charity or even giving up your seat on the subway to someone who needs it more. Sometimes, I find even just smiling at someone that looks sad makes you- and them- feel better!
4. Give yourself a little treat
Take a warm bath, buy yourself some flowers, call a friend you haven’t talked to in a while, or just sit with your feet up for a few moments. By taking care of yourself, you can reduce stress and lift your mood. One of my favorite things to do is prop my feet up a wall and lay back with one hand on my heart and one hand on my belly.
A 2010 study on mindfulness meditation in Marines heading to Iraq showed that regular meditation practice boosted mood and cognitive capacity. If you’re grouchy, sit down some place quiet, close your eyes, clear your mind, and focus on your breathing for a few moments. This is perhaps the most important tip of all. My Guru, Paramahansa Yogananda, always stressed that you must mediate to maintain evenness of mind and avoid moodiness. You can check out the Kriya yoga meditation techniques.
A brisk walk, a few quick yoga poses or twists, or other vigorous activity releases endorphins that can help you feel better fast. Get away from your desk for a few minutes!
7. Set goals
Having something to look forward to and work towards is a great way to boost your mood in both the short and long-term. Is there something you’ve always wanted to do but just haven’t gotten to yet? Set a goal and create a path of smaller goals to get there. Just putting your feet on the path to accomplishment can quickly lift your mood, and remind you of your unlimited power. That should make you happier!
8. Visualize your happy place
Sounds cheesy, but it can work. If you’re feeling super grouchy, close your eyes for a moment and picture a place that makes you happy. For some this is the beach. For others, it’s a field of flowers. Others may enjoy the mountains or a trip to Disneyland. Whichever you chose, spend a few moments picturing it in all of its glorious sensory detail of sights, sounds, and scents. When you open your eyes, you’re sure to feel better.
Multiple studies have showed that laughter (even forced laughter) can instantly improve the mood. So get out those comedy DVDs, watch a few funny clips on YouTube or just fake a laugh and you’ll quickly find your mood lifting.
10. Play uplifting music.
Listening to music you really love can lift your mood quickly. So find your favorite music and watch your spirits rise.
11. Go outside
A study at the University of Essex demonstrated that even five minutes spent in nature can lift your mood. I always wander outside and conduct as many conference calls as I can outside in the yard- especially since I’m in LA at the moment!
12. Count your blessings
If you’re feeling down, take a few moments to count your blessings. By taking time to be grateful for all you have, it’s easier to set aside small worries. The next time you’re upset, spend a few minutes remembering all of the good things in your life. Annoyed because that guy next to you is a human sweat machine and dripped on your yoga mat? Remind yourself it is a blessing to be healthy enough to practice yoga, and be thankful for your health, your energy, having access to healthy foods and activities…
Dancing combines two mood lifters – physical activity and music. So the next time you feel a little cranky, crank up your MP3 player and get dancing. Sometimes- sometimes!- I like to dance in the shower.
Sit quietly and take some deep, calming breaths. Deep breathing can help oxygen flow into your bloodstream, which can improve energy, decrease stress, and improve mood instantly. Try to draw air into your belly instead of into your chest to get the full effect.
As adults, we often forget to be playful. Playfulness, however, can quickly decrease stress and boost mood. If you’re feeling grouchy, try playing with a pet or child and see if you don’t feel better.
Being creative can boost your mood. You don’t have to paint on a canvas- you can doodle in a notebook at your desk, or put together a creative new way to wear your hair that day or combine several things in your wardrobe. If you’re not feeling particularly creative, then enjoy the creativity of others by browsing an art website or visiting a shop with handmade items.
When is the last time you were on a swing set? Swinging is exhilarating and a lot of fun. It can also boost your mood, and it allows you to spend time outdoors. So the next time you’re grumpy, head to the local park and hop on the swing set. I don’t see a lot of swings all the time, so my substitution here is bouncing on my mini trampoline for a few minutes, which is a lot of fun also!
18. Let the sun shine
Whether you head outside for a few minutes of sun, sit in a sunny window, or just open your curtains to let the outside in, sunlight can quickly repair a case of the doldrums.
Just as faking laughter can improve mood, so can smiling. Even if you don’t feel like it, smile to yourself. You may find you are forcing it a first, but you’ll start to feel better and better the more you do it!
Next time you feel grim, think about the many things you’ve accomplished in your life. Recalling even simple accomplishments like cleaning out a junky closet can help you feel better.
21. Tell someone why you love and appreciate him or her.
Expressing appreciation for another can lighten both your mood and theirs, so send an email or call a friend to let them know just why they matter to you.