When it comes to a negative mood, each of us has our own outlet to release our emotions. Although some ways of relieving sadness are healthier than others, there are certain easy, natural ways to boost your mood that have been scientifically proven to work. Happiness, although affected by our internal chemistry, can also be attainted through the work we put in by way of special tactics that are studied in a field called positive psychology.
"Positive psychology is the branch of psychology which studies how all people can thrive, as opposed to clinical psychology, which seeks to help people with specific pathological disorders," says Michael Kaminowitz, founder of the Welli App, a mental wellness app inspired by positive psychology in an interview with Bustle. Implementing these tactics to make you happy can help improve not only your mood in the moment, but how you're feeling over time.
Eating right, exercising, and practicing meditation are all great, fairly obvious ways to help make yourself feel better overall, but there are some slightly more unsuspecting ways you can help bring yourself up if you're feeling a bit down. Next time you need a little more happiness in your life, try one of the following six scientifically-proven ways to instantly boost your mood.
1. Do A Little Dance
It may sound straight out of a cheesy musical, but breaking out into dance is actually an effective way to not only boost your mood, but to also improve your social skills and self-confidence, according to Psychology Today. Dancing is helpful not only because it is a stress-relieving physical activity, but it also requires focus, which has been compared to mindfulness meditation.
2. Turn On The Lights
For people who tend to get sadder in the colder months, light therapy is a helpful way to keep your mood up. A study published in JAMA Psychiatry found that bright light treatment is effective in reducing depression in people who are both affected by the seasons and people who feel down overall.
3. Take In Some Good Scents
Smell is a powerful sense we can use to tap into our emotions, and aromatherapy is a useful way to regulate mood. Scents such as citrus have been proven to reduce stress and anxiety, according to Prevention, so next time you're feeling under the weather, you can reach for citrus essential oils or other naturally-calming scents such as lavender.
4. Keep A Gratitude Journal
"One of the most proven tools of positive psychology is the gratitude journal," says Kaminowitz. "The simple act of writing down three things that happened that you're grateful for intensifies positive memories and increases positive affect." Studies have found that keeping a gratitude journal even just once a week can help you feel happier and more optimistic.
5. Sing A Little Tune
Like dancing, singing can have a profound impact on your current mood. "Whether you do it in the car, with a friend, in the shower, or at a concert, actively engaging with music instantly boosts your mood," says Music Therapist Kat Fulton, MM, MT-BC, owner of Sound Health Music and founder of MusicTherapyEd.com over email. Belting out some tunes can lower your cortisol levels, reduce anxiety, and improve your overall health and wellbeing — and it still works even if you aren't a great singer!
6. Have A Good Laugh
Letting out a good laugh can help boost your mood, even if you have to force it. "Whether anything is funny or not, when the body is laughing it releases a surge of feel good and healing hormones, similar to what we call a 'runner's high', including endorphin, dopamine, and serotonin," says Laughter Yoga Coach Michele Caskey. "All that is required is sustained and willing laughter."
See? A bad mood really isn't as bad as it can seem when you have easy ways to snap out of it.
Images: Bustle Stock Photo