11 Surprising Ways To Break A Bad Mood & Start Feeling Happier

At times, we might notice a low point in our moods, and sometimes the reasoning cannot be explained. Whatever the cause, a bad mood can drain us of energy and make us feel tired, dulled and unproductive. Thus, it's important to break out of a bad mood fast and start to feel happier as soon as possible.

As a certified health coach, I work with clients on getting in touch with their feelings and mood states and learning how to get out of a rut and start feeling happier and more positive. We often discuss how showing gratitude and being appreciative of the little things (and big things!) in life can make us have a sunnier outlook and feel more satisfied in our place in the world. By thinking of moments, people, and material items that can bring us joy, especially in moments where we are feeling down, we will be better able to kill a bad mood and gain a new perspective quickly. By using these eleven tips to start feeling peppier and more energized during our lower moments, we will be able to not let a dampened mood spoil our whole day ahead and be better able to lift ourselves up.

1. Eat Some Carbs

Complex carbs, not the refined kind found in white flour products and processed goods, can provide energy and properties known to enhance our moods. "Eating carbohydrates, preferably 100% whole grains, with protein-rich foods may boost the amount of tryptophan in your brain," says Keri Gans, MS, RDN, CDN, a spokesperson for America's Better Sandwich, over email with Bustle. "Tryptophan is then converted into serotonin, also known as the 'feel-good' hormone," she adds.

2. Do A Little Dance

Whenever I feel upset, I turn on some high-energy music and break out a few dance moves. Dancing is great for the soul, and it can be very liberating to just move around freely and have some fun. Create a "happy" playlist for yourself, and turn to it whenever you are feeling low. If you are at work, close your door or head to a quiet area for a few moments to enjoy yourself without judgment.

3. Think Of Something Funny From The Past

We all have silly moments from the past. Conjure up one when you're feeling blue, and let it instantly revive you. If you feel as though you won't be able to come up with one in a short amount of time, write down a list of funny moments from the past that can make you laugh and smile and feel connected to the world around you.

4. Take A Nap

Often times a bad mood can result from lack of sleep, so if you notice your mood becoming irritable and your energy levels draining, it might be wise to take a quick fifteen or twenty minute power nap to feel refreshed enough to get back to work but not too much where your sleep cycle might be thrown off. Head home in the middle of the day (if you can), or take a quick nap in an office lounge or private office.

5. Surround Yourself With Beauty

"Take a minute to look around you. See if you can find 5 things that are aesthetically appealing or beautiful," advises Chicago-based licensed marriage and family counselor, Erika Fay, LMFT, over email with Bustle. "Maybe it is a huge tree that you have never really looked at before or a gorgeous sunrise. When you stop to notice and look for beautiful things, you will find them," she adds.

6. Connect With Your Thoughts

Ask yourself directly to express your thoughts. "Our minds often run without really paying attention to what messages they are focusing on. Take some time to be aware of what you are thinking," advises Fay. "How do these thoughts make you feel? Our brains are actually wired for negative bias, so being mindful of our thoughts and making a conscious effort to redirect them is important," she continues.

7. Keep A Gratitude List Or Journal

"Each morning or night, make a list of 5-10 things that you are grateful for. It can be simple things like having a cozy bed or running water. If you start to keep an eye out each day for things to add to your list, you will shift your focus and your mood will follow suit," recommends Fay. By having a list on handy, you'll be able to instantly break free from a negative mood and start feeling happier.

8. Eat Dark Chocolate

Due to its flavanol content and ability to boost serotonin, the "feel good" hormone, levels in our bodies, dark chocolate makes for a terrific snack to make us feel brighter and more relaxed. Experts suggest that dark chocolate can lower rates of depression and make us feel more positive. However, be mindful of portions. Sticking with one or two squares of a dark chocolate bar is ideal.

9. Get Some Fresh Air

Not only will fresh air bring oxygen into our lungs to rejuvenate us, but the sunlight exposure increases levels of vitamin D in our bodies, which can make us feel happier and healthier. Vitamin D helps reduce risk of depression and eases symptoms, so getting adequate sunshine each day, as well as taking a vitamin D supplement, could help. Plus, walking boosts circulation in the body, which can give us more energy as well.

10. Give Yourself A Hug

While it might sound strange, simply hugging yourself will increase oxytocin, the "intimate or love" hormone, and allow us to feel more connected, appreciated and happier. If you are around a partner or friend, feel free to share the love by giving each other a warm embrace, but if you are alone, don't be afraid to show some self-appreciation and enjoy that warm, cuddly sensation.

11. Give Someone A Compliment

Giving someone a compliment, especially when you're in a bad mood, will bring joy to both you and the one receiving the kindness. Not only will you brighten their moods, but you will enhance your own in turn. Studies show that giving people compliments can make us feel good about ourselves and our place in the world, so next time you're upset, spread some generosity and flash a wide, happy smile.

No matter the cause of your bad mood, doing something that distracts you from the negativity at hand will help you bust out of the rut and bring more pep into your energy levels and mood. Whether you want to interact with others or feel more positive on your own, do what works for you for that instant relief and new outlook.

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