According to a study done by James E Clark et al in 2018, published in the Journal of Psychological Medicine, certain neurobiological systems have been proposed as the major control of mood and precipitants of mood disorders. The mood is controlled by these neurobiological systems but the exact mechanisms with which these systems control mood remain unclear.
It was also established that mood is liable to change with environmental fluctuations. That is to say that events in your environment, your immediate experiences and the outcomes from your interactions with other people can affect your mood, sometimes depressing it. There are many ways we can look at it but you really do not want to let your mood drag you down every time, do you?
Have you ever noticed that every once in a while, negativity and depression try to overwhelm you? Maybe you've had a bad day in school, a stressful day at work or your boyfriend just broke up with you. These are tragic experiences that have the capability to depress your mood and ruin your whole day.
Protecting your mood
If there is ever anything that can affect your performance and optimism about life the most, it is your mood. Staying positive can enhance your performance in the things you do on a daily basis and on the other have, a depressed mood will sap all your spirit away from you.
It is first important that you deliberately preserve your mood from going low. You need to guard your joy diligently and in this case, your mood. But that is not always as easy a thing to do. One important way you can protect your mood is by carefully controlling what your mind thinks about deeply, or controlling what you accept into it. Morgan Freeman attributed this ability to control your mind as a form of self-control when he once said,
"Self-control is strength. Calmness is mastery. You have to get to a point where your mood doesn't shift based on the insignificant actions of someone else. Don't allow others to control the direction of your life. Don't allow your emotions to overpower your intelligence."
However, very often, the environmental influences that drop our mood can sometimes overwhelm our ability to stay positive. They can totally take away our ability to cope and handle pressure. At these points, these evidence-based methods to lift your mood will come in handy.
Several interventions that promise to lift your mood are available. However, these methods you will see in this article can instantly elevate your mood and give you back your positivity.
10 Ways To Lift Your Mood Instantly
In no particular order, let us see some ways to give your mood an instant boost when you feel down or depressed.
- Look beyond the negativity
- Go out on a stroll
- Declutter and re-organize
- Talk with someone you love
- Inhale relaxing odour perfumes
- Stop thinking about what is past
- Look through your gallery
- Listen to music
- Choose smiles instead
- Practice meditation
- Consider mood-stabilizing drugs
Look Beyond the Negativity
Before now, it used to be a common experience for me to have my day ruined by some people. It is ironic that those who are supposed to cheer you up for most of the day are the ones who tear you down the most. Several times, I have had to regret having conversations with certain people on some days because they ended up destroying my mood for the entire day.
People will always spread their negative energy to others. Maybe they are having a bad mood themselves, but instead of keeping it handling their bad mood or keeping it to themselves, they go on to ruin yours too. This is commonplace but the best way you can instantly lift your mood above their negativity is to always look beyond the negativity.
Do not think about their actions and/or words so much that it begins to hurt you even more. Think about your tasks and plans for the day and allow these thoughts to overcome the negative energy from other people.
Go Out on a Stroll
Sometimes, you may need to distract yourself a little bit. Maybe seeing a new environment will be able to help uplift your mood.
Research has shown that walking helps to relieve stress by releasing neurochemicals in the brain called endorphins that induce a state of relaxation and improve your mood. From the research experiment, meditation, which is another important way to uplift your mood, was paired with taking a walk.
According to the 26-week study that involved 135 volunteers, some groups were instructed to count "one", "two", "one", "two",... for each step, while the other groups did not do any form of meditation. The group that meditated by counting "one" and "two" noticed greater mood uplifting effects.
A similar study published by Meghan K Edwards and Paul D Loprinzi in the Journal of Health Promotion Perspective, it was shown that a 10-minute bout of brisk walking and meditation both improved mood state when compared to an inactive control among young adults. Instead of sitting down to think about the problems, just head out for a quick stroll and direct your focus away from the negativities.
Studies have found that individuals who get more exposure to light tend to have fewer sleep problems and mental health-related problems. There is sufficient evidence that light helps you keep alert and productive for extended periods of the day. If you have been indoors although, going out to get some light can also help you lift your mood substantially.
Declutter and re-organize
When your mood is low, very few things feel interesting to you. Sometimes, even your best activities feel uninteresting to you. However, one of the very few activities that will instantly give you a sense of satisfaction is when you make attempt to re-organise or declutter your surrounding. If for no other reason, this help elevates your mood by giving you the sense of accomplishment and restoration of order into your life.
Arranging your room or your bag, for instance, not only keeps your mind occupied away from the negative energies that depressed your mood in the first place but also help restore your hopes that you can still be productive that day.
According to Elaine Aron, Ph.D., author of "The Highly Sensitive Person",
"clutter is a reminder of things that should be getting done, but aren't," and can give birth to feelings of disappointment, and said that you don't have to spend all your day in decluttering and reorganizing to feel better, as "just the illusion of order is enough to ease the mind."
And when it comes to decluttering and organizing your stuff, it usually boils down to arranging things into tidier stacks and piles that will instantly enhance your mood.
Talk with Someone you Love
Talking with someone you love can be very helpful in lifting your mood when you are down. There is a link between the release of feel-good hormones in the brain and interacting with someone you love. These feel-good hormones, including dopamine and oxytocin, not only relieve stress but can also help improve your mood.
Inhale Relaxing Odour Perfumes
The use of scented flavours to improve mood is known as aromatherapy, and scented perfumes, either of natural or synthetic sources have been classified into two classes based on the effect of the scents on mood – i. Relaxing odours, and ii. Stimulating odours.
According to research, 40 adults were given 3 minutes of aromatherapy using two aromas, lavender (considered a relaxing odour) or rosemary (considered a stimulating odour). Participants were given simple math before and after the therapy and it was found that those with a relaxing odour had a better mood and were able to solve the math more accurately than those who had a stimulating scent.
EEG (Electroencephalogram) was also used to analyse brain activity following the aromatherapy and those with lavender showed increased beta wave power indicating a more relaxed state and better mood.
Other examples of relaxing fragrances that can improve your mood include cinnamon, vanilla, jasmine, citrus (e.g lemon), ylang-ylang, clary sage, sea breeze, etc.
Stop Thinking About What is Past
Just like the point on looking beyond the negativity, you should also stop thinking about what is past. Sometimes, we feel down when we might have reacted in certain ways or say things we shouldn't say because someone made us react this way. The real depression comes when the other person handles the matter in a way that makes you feel even more guilty for your actions. This can seriously depress your mood for the entire day.
Irrespective of what happened, you must learn to forgive yourself for any action you may have taken that is depressing you. No wonder they say, "do not cry over spilt milk." As far as you are concerned, your actions or inactions within the last 5 minutes are bygones. Spilt milk cannot be restored, so there is absolutely nothing you can do to change the past, rather, you should be bold enough to let go of the nearest past 5 minutes ago.
Look Through Your Gallery
One fateful day, I interrogated a friend who was taking pictures with his smart phone that "why was he so obsessed with taking pictures?", then he replied "this is how I register this memory, so that when I look at this picture in a few years' time, I will remember how exactly today was".
Pictures carry some beautiful memories that can cheer you up when you need them the most. Now that you are having a bad mood, why not swipe through your old pictures in your gallery? You will be surprised how well this can lift your mood instantly.
Listen to a Music
According to a survey conducted by Sarah Hennessy et al, during the COVID-19 pandemic on people with depressive and anxiety symptoms, it was shown that listening to music can help improve mood, discharge negative emotions and help to regulate depressive mood by making those at risk of, or who already had depression to feel better, especially during the pandemic.
Music can instantly boost your mood when you are feeling down. Another beautiful thing is that music is even nearer to us now than ever before, in our smart phones, iPods, portable multimedia devices, etc.
Choose Smiles Instead
They say some of the best things in life are free. This is often very true. You may have come across the conventional statement that it takes 43 muscles to frown and only 17 muscles to smile. Regardles of the numbers indicated, which may be different from what is anatomically expressed, the core message is that it takes more effort to frown than to smile.
Happiness is what makes us smile but how about stating that the reverse is also true? Smiling can make you happy and elevate your mood.This is because smiling can trigger the synthesis and release of endorphins which have been shown to elevate mood.
Also, according to Dr. Isha Gupta, a neurologist from IGEA Brain and Spine, smiling spurs a chemical reaction in the brain, releasing certain hormones including dopamine and serotonin. "Dopamine increases our feelings of happiness. Serotonin release is associated with reduced stress. Low levels of serotonin and dopamine are associated with depression", says Dr. Gupta. Hence, increased release is associated with mood elevation.
I already stated the usefulness of meditation in lifting your mood when I talked about how taking a walk can do that too. In the balance between flight-and-fright (anxiety) and quiescence (depressed mood), meditation helps to shift this balance in favour of relaxation. It also helps to focus your energy away from your worries. This has an overall beneficial effect on your mood.
Yoga is a form of meditation. A study done by Catherine Woodyard, published in the International Journal of Yoga showed that consistent yoga improves depression and can lead to significant increases in serotonin levels (associated with mood-lifting) coupled with decreases in the levels of monamine oxidase (associated with mood depression), an enzyme that breaks down neurotransmitters and cortisol. Meditation is thus a sure way you can give your mood an instant lift when you feel down.
Consider Mood-stabilizing Drugs
Medications and drugs are always the last resort for most psycho-medical problems including mood changes. This is because of the potential side effects of some medications/drugs, especially when used for a prolonged period.
Also, because of the immediate relief that some of these drugs can produce, many people tend to depend on them so much that it becomes extremely difficult to stop their use. However, if none of the available alternatives works in your case, you may consider scaling it up to using drugs.
A typical mood-stabilizing drug is lithium. However, some anti-convulsants drugs that help to prevent and reduce convulsion have also been shown to help in stabilizing mood. Examples include carbamazepine, divalproex and lamotrigine. Anti-depressants can also be helpful in elevating your mood when you are down.
A recent study in the Washington State University explained that cannabis is also effective in combating anxiety, depression and stress. Although there is not enough scientific evidence to support the effectiveness of cannabis for mood disorders, many users have verified these claims.
If you are living in Canada, west coast cannabis offers a variety of cannabis products to help lift your mood instantly when you are feeling low.
Summing it up
Several environmental factors can depress your mood. It could be the words or actions of people around you but it is important that you first guard yourself against any negativity that may affect your mood.
Sometimes, no matter how hard you try to protect your mood, the stress or environmental trigger may overwhelm your coping capability and pull you into a state of depressed mood. In these cases, you will need some extra ways to instantly lift your mood.
If you are feeling low and in need of some immediate motivation, the evidence-based methods discussed in this post will help you lift your mood instantly. There are pieces of scientific evidence to prove the efficiency of these methods in lifting your mood when you feel down.
Thank you for reading.