11 Proven Ways To Turn Around A Bad Day, According To Science

Ever have those days when nothing seems to be going right? You try to fight it off, but before you know what’s happened you’re in the worst mood possible. Luckily there are proven ways to turn around a bad day, and research even agrees that these tactics are valid. Most of the points we’ll get to in this article are really a breeze to do. In fact, many you can do right now at work if the mood is overcoming you.

I know for me if my day starts on a bad note I’ll mentally let it snowball into the “worst day ever.” My mood will get sour very quickly, and every little hiccup in the day becomes another, “Of course that would happen today — I hate everything!” Then, I go on to convince myself that the only way to shake my bad attitude is to sleep it off. Low and behold, I’ve learned this is not true. A lot of research has been done on ways to quickly enhance moods, and I’ve rounded some of the top pieces of insight here for those who, like me, want a quick and easy way to ditch a bad mood when a particular day has got you down. From doing a nice deed for someone else, to petting a puppy, to changing your outfit, I’ve got the scoop here for you on the little tricks that can make you happier right away. Here are 11 proven ways to turn around a bad day, according to science.

1. Buy Your Coworker A Coffee

Let’s start by taking the focus off of you. If you’re sitting around dwelling on how bad of a day you’re having, the thought literally is not leaving your mind, so let’s clear the fog by having you do something nice for someone around you. According to research conducted by Sonja Lyubomirsky, Ph.D., a professor of psychology at Stanford, doing good deeds for others increases our own positive emotions. It doesn’t have to be something huge — simple doing a coffee run and grabbing a cup for a coworker might work to make both you and him/her feel better.

2. Dance, Dance

According to Psychology Today, dancing can serve as a tactic in your arsenal of weapons to boost your mood and help you shake away the bad day you’re having. Why? The outlet said it help you release pent-up feelings you might be having. The outlet spoke to Donna Newman-Bluestein, a dance therapist with the American Dance Therapy Association, who added, “Dancing lifts the body to an open, optimistic posture.” You might not feel it’s incredibly appropriate to bust a move right there at your desk, but the moment you get home, turn on your jam and get down.

3. Go For A Walk

If you’ve got a few minutes to sneak away from your office, take the opportunity to turn your bad day around by going for a quick walk. By getting some physical activity, you’ll get those endorphins going and might find your mood is quickly enhanced. In fact, according to a study reported on by Health, results showed engaging in just 20 minutes of exercise can lead to a noticeable enhancement in your mood — and those benefits to your mood can last up to 12 hours. Major win.

4. Hug It Out

Nothing a little hug can’t fix? You got that right. According to a study published in the Journal of Holistic Nursing physical touching in a friendly manner — e.g., hugging — can lower your stress hormones. If you believe stress is to blame for you terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day, grab a friend and hold on tight.

5. Switch Up The Music

A lot of research has been done of how music affects our moods, but this body of research on binaural beats I find to be particularly interesting (and relevant). As cited by the Centerpointe Research Institute, research has proven that binaural beats (here is an example) can help change our mood from bad to good, in that they help reduce stress and make us feel more optimistic. Next time you’re cranky at the office, search some of those beats instead of your regular tunes.

6. Buy Yourself Some Flowers

Who said flowers need to come from someone special? Why not buy some for yourself. According Harvard research, people’s moods can improve instantly from being around flowers, particularly in the morning. Study participants noted positive effects including lowered anxiety, and enhanced happiness and energy. To curb the bad day, try buying flowers and putting them on your desk. They can make you happy now and be a way to instantly bright up your morning tomorrow, too.

7. Pet A Puppy

I think this University of Missouri-Columbia study might have my favorite results of all time. According to the research, petting a dog for 15 minutes helps to release serotonin, prolactin and oxytocin in our bodies (those are our “feel good” hormones), enhancing our moods right on the spot. The same action also lowers the amount of cortisol being produced by our bodies (that’s the evil stress hormone we dread). Excuse me while I brighten up my day right now and pet my little guy.

8. Turn To Meditation

It’s possible the first thing you think of when you think of reducing stress in your day is meditation. Good for you, because you’re on to something. Not only will meditating today help you turn your current mood around, it could also help you to become better equipped to manage bad days in the future, according to a study out of the University of Washington. The research showed daily meditation helps to improve our ability to multi-task, and helps to improve our long-term focus, in addition to helping us handle those future bad days.

9. Change Into Something Yellow

When you get home the first thing you should do if you’re having a bad day is change into something yellow. I’m totally serious. According to a 2010 study from BMC Medical Research Methodology, happy people are most likely to associate their mood with the color yellow. Researchers concluded that yellow is an optimistic color, possibly because people associate it with sunshine.

10. Soak Up Some Sun

Speaking on sunshine — go get some. According to research from the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, sunlight has the power to boost serotonin in our brains, thereby improving our moods. During that mid-day walk your taking outside — try to stick to sunny areas. Two birds, one stone, zero unhappy ladies.

11. Laugh It Off

Last but certainly not least, a fine way to get yourself out of a terrible mood and turn your day around is to fill it with some laughter. Science is behind me on this one, too. A study from Oxford University showed laughter produces endorphins, making you feel good in no time flat, as reported on by Scientific American. Mayo Clinic noted aside from boosting our mood, laughing can relieve stress and reduce pain.

If you’re fuming about how bad of a day you’re having while reading this, I hope some of these scientifically proven tactics help you to successfully concur those negative emotions. If all else fails, just focus on that puppy-petting point for the rest of the day — it’s definitely working for me.

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