When you’re feeling down, it’s natural to want to curl up on your couch and do nothing but binge Netflix while drowning your sorrows in a pint of Ben and Jerry’s. However, doing so can leave you feeling worse about yourself.
Instead, why not engage in something that boosts your endorphins and stimulates positive neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine? Here are nine activities that can boost your mood.
Dancing is an incredible form of cardiovascular exercise that you can do anytime and anywhere. All you have to do is connect your cellphone to your external speakers and have a party in your living room.
Dancing might do more than burn calories and promote endorphin flow. It could reduce your chances of developing dementia. Research published in the New England Journal of Medicine compared several forms of mental and physical activity and found that regular dance resulted in a 76% reduction in Alzheimer’s risk. The combination of physical movement with following the steps increases neuroplasticity.
One of the best forms of exercise you can do to improve your mood is going for a hike. Physical activity increases endorphin flow. Plus, research shows that spending time in nature also helps improve your mood.
You could also reduce your chances of getting sick. Researchers investigated those who spent overnight trips to the forest and found an increased number of natural killer cells, immune cells vital to fighting disease. The chemicals plants emit for defense stimulate the human immune response — a perk during a pandemic year.
When was the last time you lost yourself in a good book? Relaxing with the right material can boost your mood.
However, you want to stay away from social media and the news, both of which can increase anxiety with grim reports of world events. Likewise, you don’t want to choose anything dark. Instead, inspire yourself with an uplifting read that encourages you to take that next positive step.
Taking your kids to the park has multiple mood-boosting benefits. One, you’ll spend time with family, increasing oxytocin production. This so-called cuddle chemical helps you feel peaceful and relaxed.
You’ll also enjoy the fresh air and the mood boost that comes with getting out in the sunshine. Finally, you’ll enjoy an endorphin boost if you get out and play with your littles instead of sitting on the bench.
Many of the activities on this list feature physical movement because it gets your feel-good endorphins flowing to make you feel better almost instantly. What happens, though, if movement brings pain?
Why not take your workout into the water? The buoyancy supports up to 90% of your body weight, taking the pressure off your joints if you have conditions like arthritis. Plus, the density provides added resistance, helping you to work your muscles.
Loneliness is far more than an unpleasant and uncomfortable emotion. It can increase your risk of dying young, regardless of the cause given on the death certificate. Human beings are social creatures who crave connection.
Why not pick up the phone and call that old college roommate you haven’t talked with in ages? You’ll both appreciate the opportunity to catch up, and you’ll come away from the phone with a smile.
What, exactly, do endorphins do that improve your mood so much? These chemicals act on your brain’s opioid receptors, decreasing pain and producing a mild euphoria. However, you can’t end up with a harmful addiction since your body makes them independently.
Walking is one of the fastest, free ways to stimulate endorphin flow. All you need to do is lace up your sneakers. For even greater mood-boosting benefits, take along a friend or family member and sneak in some socialization.
People have long known that food can improve your mood — why else do folks indulge in comfort classics like chicken soup?
You can improve your mood by indulging in a healthy snack. Some of the best ones to reach for are nuts and seeds. These foods contain high levels of minerals like magnesium, selenium and zinc, all of which play vital roles in mental health. Magnesium alone can help treat major depression when an underlying deficiency drives the disorder.
Sometimes, you get in a black mood because of stress. One of the best ways to unwind is with a hot bath.
For even more relaxation, add a few spoonfuls of Epsom salts to your water. The magnesium helps ease muscle tension, alleviating aches and pains while helping you say “aah.”
It’s natural to want to withdraw when you feel low. Instead, try one of these nine activities that can boost your mood.