According to happy women everywhere, the key to a joyous life is being active, staying involved and not letting life’s little bugaboos get you down. That’s not to say there won’t be days you wish you’d stayed in bed – after all, even those with the sunniest outlooks experience occasional clouds and thunderstorms. It’s how you ride them out that matters.
Listen to your heart
A low mood might mean you’re tired, hungry, not feeling fab or otherwise irritated with the world in general. But moods are important messages, so it’s worth giving them reflection and perspective to determine what they might be trying to tell you. For example, recurring funks associated with work, or certain people, could be your cue for a sea change. Persistent bad or sad moods that refuse to lift may need further investigation and the aid of your GP. While it’s not always a simple fix, the following tips can all still help – so give them a try!
1 Run it out of town
Lace up your shoes, head outside and clock up a few kays! Aside from the physical benefits, the endorphins released during exercise make it an easy way to shift your mood into a brighter gear. Throw in fresh air and sunshine, and your body will love the benefits. If you’re not a runner, feel free to walk, bike or tai chi instead.
2 Burn it up
Certain scents are known mood-lifters and can help restore calm. Try burning a quality candle or essential oils of lavender, lemon, orange, cinnamon, vanilla, rosemary, jasmine or peppermint.
3 Spend time with your peeps
It’s not about the money, honey. Experts say the number one predictor of happiness is how much time we spend with people who love and understand us. If you’re feeling blah, phone a friend – better yet, arrange a meet and greet for talk therapy.
4 Be less social
Not in the real world, but online. There’s nothing like clicking through social media snapshots of other people’s apparently fabulous lives to trigger ‘less than’ feelings. Log the heck off occasionally.
5 Grab a bite
Are you famished? True hunger will put you in a bad mood, fast (aka hangry). Turns out, when your blood sugar is low, your body produces the stress hormone adrenaline. Cue grumpy. To short-circuit it, eat something nutritious. If you can’t prepare a full healthy meal, grab a handful of almonds, a banana or even a peanut butter sandwich. Then eat chocolate (refer to number 8)!
6 Shush your ‘not good enough’ voice
Low moods can happen when we convince ourselves we’re ‘less than’ – especially when comparing ourselves to others. Silence this mean little voice. You are enough, you do have enough, you are beautiful enough. Run your own race and remember, comparison is a lying, good-for-nothing thief of joy.
7 Forty-plus and laughing!
Nothing lifts the spirit like a good belly laugh, enough to pee your pants. Just make sure you’ve got yourself covered (you know what we mean). Tune in to your favourite comedy radio station, podcast or TV show. Up the ante by scheduling a night out with your mates at a local comedy club. And if it takes YouTubing cat videos for 10 minutes on your lunch break, then don’t feel guilty for a second.
8 Eat the (dark) chocolate!
How can you be in a crummy mood while savouring a melty mouthful of delectability? Lift your blues with a square or two of your favourite dark chocolate treat. It’ll satisfy those sweet cravings and give you a healthy antioxidant fix at the same time.
9 Fill a vase
A Harvard University study found that people who keep cut flowers in their homes feel happier, more energised and less anxious.
10 Practise kindness in the face of bad behaviour
It’s a fact of life: people can behave poorly. Maybe they’re short tempered, cut you off in traffic, push in front at the supermarket or don’t say thank you. Reframe your annoyance by reminding yourself you don’t know their story. Their need might be greater than yours today. Even if it isn’t true, thinking so will help you.
11 Lend a helping hand
When was the last time you went to the aid of a friend or family member or even a total stranger? Responding to the needs of others with compassion can take you out of a negative headspace.
12 Embrace gratitude and optimism
Celebrate the good in your life, from the tiniest things to the biggest deals, by starting a daily gratitude journal or photo log. Or just list the good things to yourself before you go to bed or when you wake. Visit 365grateful.com for lovely inspiration.
13 Breathe, meditate, find the closest escape hatch
The old ‘take a deep breath and count to 10’ method really does work to reduce frustration in a challenging moment. If you can’t completely remove yourself from a mood-blackening situation, a few minutes behind a locked bathroom door works too.
14 Splurge on a life experience
Those Louboutin heels may be stunning, but there’s nothing like a priceless life experience for creating memories you’ll cherish forever. When you’re tempted to buy your way out of a mood, busy yourself with planning a special event or holiday instead.
15 Check your levels
A range of important nutrients have a powerful effect on mood – you may be running low on vitamin D or magnesium, for instance. A simple blood test with your healthcare professional could have you back on happy street in no time, so speak up and don’t be afraid to seek help.