Education & Career Trends: 6 mood boosters that don’t cost a thing

5 min read

Edition: September 1st, 2021
Curated by the Knowledge Team of ICS Career GPS

Most bad moods tend to lift before too long, and there’s plenty you can do to send them on their way. (Image Source:
  • Excerpts from article by Crystal Raypole, published on Healthline

Minor disappointments and frustrations can derail your daily activities and leave you grumpy, miserable and disinterested in the things you need or want to take care of. While you realise when you require a little support to make it through the day smoothly, you may be less sure about exactly what you should be doing to feel better.

Emotional distress doesn’t have to be extreme to make identifying solutions difficult. However, a bad mood left to simmer often boils over, leaving you feeling worse.

Here are 6 easy ways to lift your spirits on a tough day:

1. Take a walk in nature

  • A short wander through the nearest park, or any other green space, can do a lot to bust a low mood.
  • A brisk 10-minute walk can increase blood flow to your brain and energise you, easing feelings of fatigue and sluggishness. 
  • Walking can also help lower the level of stress hormones in your body and prompt the release of endorphins, hormones that can ease stress, pain and discomfort. 
  • Spending just 10 or 15 minutes in the sun can also trigger the production of serotonin, along with more endorphins, making for a hefty dose of mood-improving chemicals.
  • Nature can boost feelings of happiness and reduce stress, but it can also help improve your ability to focus.

2. Laugh off the stress 

Laughing, especially with others, can help relieve tension. It also increases group bonding.

Laughter works on an individual level, too. If you’re feeling a little anxious or stressed about something, a dose of humour can leave you in a lighter frame of mind. 

Here are some ideas to get your regular supply of humour:

  • Watch funny videos
  • Look up comedy writers and read a humorous book
  • Go online and watch some stand-up comedy
  • Call up a friend with a good sense of humour

3. Do aromatherapy – right at home!

Your sense of smell can communicate directly with your amygdala, a part of the brain that helps regulate emotions.

That’s why scents that trigger positive or nostalgic memories often help relieve tension and anxiety. This explains why things that smell good can make you feel good. 

You might already have some mood-boosting fragrances around your home or office already. Here are some ideas: 

  • Have a favourite scented soap or lotion? Take a moment to mindfully wash your hands or give your arms and shoulders a quick scented rub. 
  • Feeling low because you miss someone you love? Smell something that reminds you of them. 
  • Take a short walk to smell the flowers in your graden. 
  • Head to the kitchen to catch a scent of vanilla, cinnamon, coffee, chocolate or a citrus fruit. 
  • Make a cup of peppermint or chamomile tea. You can also pour boiled water over lemon, inhale the steam.

Any scent you find appealing or soothing could have a positive impact on your mood. 

4. Energise yourself with music

A cheerful, upbeat melody infuses you with new energy.

You tap your foot to the music as you return your attention to your task with new enthusiasm, singing under your breath.

Music therapy offers plenty of benefits, such as: 

  • Better mood and emotion regulation abilities
  • Lower stress and anxiety 
  • Healthier brain function, including improved memory recall
  • Sharper focus

5. Make someone’s day better with an act of kindness

Maybe you feel trapped or stuck because you can’t do anything to change your current situation for the moment.

Instead of getting caught up in a downward spiral of worry and stress, try focusing your energy on someone else instead. 

Doing something nice for another person could make their day a little better, potentially improving your mood, in turn.

Knowing that you’ve made someone happy can leave you in a more positive frame of mind. Here are some ideas:

  • Ask a co-worker if they need any help
  • Do a chore and help out a family member
  • Give your pet a treat
  • Leave a detailed positive review for one of your favourite shops or restaurants

6. Connect with a loved one

Whether you’ve just made it through a long and draining day or have a stressful event looming over you, a quick message of love and support can go a long way toward lifting your spirits.

Even a 5-minute chat can raise your spirits and help you shake off a gloomy mood, nervousness or worry, and other emotional stressors. 

Loved ones can:

  • listen as you vent your frustrations 
  • offer encouraging words
  • make you laugh
  • remind you that you always have their support

Know when you need professional help: Most bad moods tend to lift before too long, and there’s plenty you can do to send them on their way. A low mood that persists however, could suggest something a little more serious. When you notice lingering changes in your mood and well-being, and strategies like the ones above seem to have little effect, talking to a therapist is always a good next step.

(Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in the article mentioned above are those of the author(s). They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of ICS Career GPS or its staff.)

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