Being happy is the end goal for everyone, but life is no fairytale which means it can be incredibly hard to actually feel genuinely okay. It’s normal to have bad days, but if you’re finding that your mood is dipping, there are some things you can do to help.
Exercise on a regular basis
Exercise is often prescribed by doctors and medical professionals to deal with a number of health conditions, including mental health ones. It can be hard to wrap your head around how going for a jog or doing a HIIT workout can improve your mood, but it’s entirely true and completely based on fact.
When you work out, your brain releases endorphins.
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As well as boosting your mood, they work to reduce inflammation in the brain which can minimize feelings of pain. This is because endorphins cause a reaction within your body that mimics the effects of morphine. This, compared with an increase in energy following exercise, is what leads most people to feel accomplished and happy after a workout. Runners call it a ‘runners high’, but it isn’t just unique to running.
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The endorphins released during a workout have been shown to reduce feelings of anxiety and depression, as well as lowering stress levels and increasing self-esteem. These all are things that can boost your mood naturally. It is worth noting that exercise isn’t a fix for mental health issues, but it can certainly help to reduce the symptoms for a lot of people.
Get enough sleep
Sleep is incredibly important to our health. Adults need a minimum of eight hours sleep a night. Any less than this and there’s every chance a multitude of health issues could crop up as a result of sleep deprivation. What’s alarming is that a lot of adults report getting less than eight hours sleep a night, and with this in mind, it’s clear to see why a lot of people feel bogged down.
When you don’t get enough sleep, your brain and body don’t have a chance to properly rest. This is what causes us to feel tired. Most people have a shorter temper and are more irritable when they’re tired, which is only natural. People who are sleep deprived may also feel more removed from reality and struggle to concentrate, not to mention feeling less happy and having less positive moods.
This can increase bad emotions like anger and sadness and contribute to mood disorders like depression and anxiety. To help you avoid such feelings – and the physical side effects of lack of sleep, too – work on implementing a proper sleep routine. There are several tips and tricks you can take note of to do this, including avoiding screens for an hour before bed, and making sure you’re not eating or drinking two hours before bed (except water).
When you sleep better, you feel better!
Do good deeds for others
You’d be surprised at the impact doing a good deed for someone else can have on your own mood. You might think it’s only beneficial for the person you’re helping, but this isn’t the case. There is a misconception that humans are hardwired to be selfish. Whilst they certainly can be and frequently exhibit such behaviors, humans are not designed to be selfish. We are social animals with an inherent need to be around others, and with this comes the desire to help.
This is why emotional charity appeals showing the most needy members of society often provoke feelings of sympathy and sadness, encouraging us to make a donation to try and help those who need it. If you’ve ever made a charitable donation or done a good deed for someone else, there is a good chance you’ve experienced a warm, fuzzy feeling in your stomach.
This feeling isn’t coincidental; it’s a reaction to positive endorphins being released in your brain when you do something good for someone else. When you do a good deed, your brain will release dopamine and serotonin which make you feel happy, content, and positive. Good deeds can also boost your self-esteem, reduce feelings of loneliness, encourage you to take better care of yourself, and reduce negative feelings on the whole.
With this in mind, one of the best ways to boost your mood naturally is to engage in selfless acts. Whether you pay it forward at the coffee shop, donate to charity, or volunteer one day a week, it could well boost your mood and help someone in need.
As mentioned earlier, humans are social animals. Whilst many of us enjoy being alone, no one likes being lonely. This is why it’s so important to socialize regularly, even if that involved one conversation a day with a dear friend or a family member.
It’s important to only surround yourself with people who bring you joy and happiness, otherwise this could have the adverse effect on your mood and start to bring you down instead. It might be hard to cut people off who aren’t conducive to your mental wellbeing, but it’s entirely worth it.
When you have a circle around you that you’re happy with, it’s important that you make an effort to socialize regularly, even if it’s just for a coffee date once a month. This will keep your social relationships going and make you feel more supported, resulting in a boosted mood without you having to actually work for it.
Take weekly do-nothing days
We live in a society where a lot of people brag about working over 40 hours a week and spending all their free time doing things for other people and being busy. Despite what people might say, this isn’t a sustainable way to live and will eventually lead to a burnout – both physical and mental.
Taking one day a week to do nothing isn’t bad; it’s actually the opposite! There are, of course, those of us who prefer to be busy, but everyone needs to take a step back enjoy a day (or at the very least an afternoon), inside the house doing nothing. This could mean taking time to work on personal hobbies at home, or it could mean watching films for hours on end.
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Whatever it is, taking time to relax and recharge is a very simply yet effective way to boost your mood naturally.
The tips above are not one-stop solutions to being happy, but they can certainly help when you’re feeling a bit low and unhappy. Try them out and see if they help you!