I have a confession: I love America’s Funniest Videos.
Stick with me y’all—I know the host’s jokes are incredibly corny, but let’s all just acknowledge the fact that the videos are hilarious. And heartwarming. And make me 100%, real-life, laugh out loud. There’s just something about awkward falls, completely off-the-wall kid comments and grandpa’s teeth falling out mid-toast that reminds me of the lighter side of life, especially when I’m feeling down. A solid ‘funny video belly-laugh’ is legitimate medicine in my household, and anytime my husband and I have seen one too many depressing news headlines, we climb into bed, pull up a little AFV and within a few short minutes the world feels a little bit brighter.
There’s zero shame in finding yourself in a funk every now and then — it happens to us all. The important thing is to find a few proactive things you can do to help lift yourself out of it quickly and turn your mood around.
Scroll on for 9 other tried and true mood boosters that help me out on the regular, preventing my funks from lasting too long and quickly propelling me back to my happier, more joyful self!
1. Journal those feelings!
When you’re feeling down, it’s tempting to want to distract yourself from those negative emotions by scrolling through social media or finding a show on Netflix in hopes of numbing them out. But the truth is, this rarely works to truly lift my spirits. When I finish the binge session, my funk is usually still there. Instead, find a journal you love (or personalize your own with Minted or May Designs) and take a few minutes to write down your thoughts. Allow yourself to truly express your feelings, move through them and get to the bottom of why you’re feeling that way.
Releasing those negative emotions onto the page and closing them away inside your journal having been fully expressed gives your feelings the attention they deserve and frees up your mind from mulling them over the rest of the day. Negative energy now released, your mind is free to approach the rest of your day with positivity! Don’t forget to keep that journal with you in your purse so that you can boost your mood wherever you are.
2. Treat yourself to flowers.
It’s widely known that having plants in your space reduces stress levels and boosts your mood. So, head over to your favorite flower shop or grocery store and pick out some flowers that bring a smile to your face. My personal mood-boosting color palette? Anything yellow or white with a mix of greenery. On a budget? Baby’s breath (a.k.a. Gypsophila) is super affordable, goes a long way, and on its own adds a sweet, whimsical touch to any space. Back at your home or office, take the time to trim your flowers (this process in itself has a therapeutic effect!), break them up into a number of small vases and display them where you’ll see them often. I’m all about a guilt-free purchase that keeps on giving, and flowers are an all-around winner — no buyer’s remorse here!
3. Plan something to look forward to, and put it on your calendar.
Having a fun carrot dangling in my calendar makes a huge difference in my ability to power through the harder moments and days. I’ve realized that my funks are often from getting a little lulled into boredom by the rhythms of normal weekly life responsibilities — work, meal planning, grocery shopping, laundry, dishes, parenting— you know the drill. I stay so busy with the everyday that I can fail to take the time to plan in any fun additions to my calendar to get excited about. Alternatively, the second I have scheduled in a drink out with my husband or a walk around the lake with a friend, my mood is entirely different! Even looking forward to it brings a sense of joyful anticipation.
So, whether it’s happy hour with your girl friends, a date night with your partner, a special outing with your kids, or an exciting vacation in 6 months, plan something fun that you will look forward to, and put it on your calendar. *Note to self: text my gals and get that Downton Abbey movie night on the books, stat!
4. Turn on some fun tunes.
I’m that girl that cannot help but move when a fun beat comes on. I probably unknowingly embarrass myself on the daily in my car at stoplights and in traffic, and I’m ok with it! Why? Because a fun song instantly boosts mood. So, put in those earbuds or crank up your favorite dance song on Spotify, and I dare you not to perk up a bit! Don’t have a dance playlist at the ready? We’ve got you covered — just hit play on our October playlist and get moving.
5. Get out in nature.
Find a spot where you can step outside, breathe some fresh air and have a view of nature. It doesn’t have to be anything special, but there’s something about simply watching leaves rustle, hearing the wind blow, or watching a bee move from flower to flower that slows you down, calms the mind and makes you feel part of a bigger, beautiful picture. Suddenly, those worries feel a little smaller and your mood is lifted. Mother Nature — she’s pretty magical!
6. Put yourself on a 24 hour social media fast.
For 24 hours, do. not. touch. the social media. You can do it! Even the most self-assured of us are susceptible to the negative effects of the online comparison game, so let’s experiment with eliminating any opportunity for it. Pick a start and stop time and notice where the extra time you find in the in-between moments takes you — where your mind goes, what you find yourself wanting to do and how you start to feel. If you’re anything like me, missing those little updates on my friends made me crave social connection, encouraging me to — wait for it — call someone and have a few lovely, truly connecting conversations. And as we all know, true social connections and deep relationships are the ultimate mood booster.
image by hannah zahner
7. Do some deep breathing.
I ran across this little exercise the other day that’s meant primarily to encourage mindfulness in children, but I immediately thought — why not for adults too? I’ve seen it called the Take Five Exercise, 5-Finger Breathing, the “Starfish Practice,” or just plain old hand-tracing breathing, but regardless of the name it’s a fantastic practice that will lift your mood quickly and effectively by flooding your blood with oxygen, calming your thoughts and allowing you to be present where you are. Using your index finger, simply trace around your opposite hand’s fingers slowly as you breathe in and out. On the in-breath, trace up the outside of your pinky finger. On the out-breath, trace down the other side. Repeat for the next four fingers. If you enjoy it, go wild and repeat to your heart’s content!
8. Go on a quick beauty-finding mission.
Give yourself 5 minutes and just one task: find something beautiful. It might be a dainty leaf you see, an adorable laugh you hear, a mesmerizing pattern or shadow on the sidewalk, or an entrancing song you hear. Not only will you find something mood-boosting that you enjoy, but just the act of looking for small glimpses of beauty in your surroundings will give you a happier outlook on the world around you.
9. Tidy one small space.
I believe 100% in the words of Gretchen Rubin — that outer order leads to inner calm. And for me, inner calm absolutely translates to a better mood. So for a quick pick-me-up, choose one small space — maybe it’s your desk or the top drawer of your vanity — and tidy it completely. The satisfaction you’ll feel by completing a small manageable project from start to finish and being able to find things a little more easily will propel you forward with renewed energy.