Everyone has a routine when they're feeling down in the dumps, whether it's vent to a friend, write in a journal, or cuddle up in bed. Although we all have our individual preferences when it comes to feeling better, there are certain activities that have been proven to boost your mood, not only just for the moment, but also in the long run. Adopting healthy habits when it comes to our mental health can play a big role in fighting off stress, anxiety and depression.
"What we do with our time is important," says psychologist Nicole Martinez Psy.D., LCPC to Bustle over email. "You cannot underestimate the choices you make with your time, and the impact they can have on your mood. If you have the choice to lounge on the couch or get in a work-out, think about which one is going to be better for your mood."
Our actions can play a powerful role in mood regulation, with some activities resulting in released endorphins and boosted serotonin levels. Next time you feel like you need a healthy pick-me-up, try one of the following seven activities that has been proven to help boost your mood.
1. Play With A Pet
Spending time with a pet can help reduce stress, lower your blood pressure, and release the feel-good hormone serotonin. "Animals are not only cute, but they are loving and intuitive," says Martinez. "There is no faster mood enhancer than an active play or a good snuggle with a furry friend."
Doing something good for others is not only good for the community, but it is also good for your state of mind. Studies show that volunteering can lessen your depression and even help us live longer, but it's important to choose something you're passionate about to receive the positive effects.
"Exercise is common and obvious, but the scientific evidence can not be denied," says Martinez. "Exercise produces endorphins and enhances the production of serotonin. Both of these chemicals help with improving your mood."
4. Pucker Up
Kissing stimulates serotonin, oxytocin, and dopamine in the brain, chemicals that all send a rush of pleasure to your body. A quick little make-out sesh can reduce blood pressure, boost your self-esteem, and even fight headaches.
5. Belt A Tune
Never feel self-conscious about singing along to the radio again. Studies have found that both listening to upbeat music and singing on your own can help elevate your mood and help lower stress.
6. Make Some Art
Whether it's painting, drawing, or photography, art can be a therapeutic outlet that can help you deal with your moods. Studies have shown that people become happier when they distract themselves with artwork that helps express their emotions.
7. Take Up Writing
Much research has shown that writing about your personal experience can help improve your mood and boost happiness. Even couples who write together can help improve their marital satisfaction.
Productive for your life and your happiness, it's a win, win.