Have you ever had those days when your mood feels a little lower than usual? It’s not just Mondays that can get you down. Things like stress, health, money concerns, and even relationships can take a toll on your positive outlook on life. When they do, here are three easy mood-boosting tricks that deliver quick results.
1. Get Outside
Studies show a correlation between lower anxiety levels and walking in nature. Researchers with Harvard Medical School also noted that people who had recently experienced stressful life events like a serious illness, death of a loved one, or unemployment had the greatest mental boost from taking a walk outdoors.
How much time is enough? “Anything from 20 to 30 minutes, three days a week, to regular three-day weekends in the woods is helpful,” says Dr. Jason Strauss, director of geriatric psychiatry at Harvard-affiliated Cambridge Health Alliance. “The point is to make your interactions a part of your normal lifestyle.” For a scenic and interesting hike, visit Hellman Park or sign up for the Hollywood Walking and Hiking Tour.
2. Drink Water
Water is an essential nutrient for your body. Did you know your brain is 80 percent water? Your muscles (including your heart) are 75 percent water, your blood is 83 percent water, and your lungs are 90 percent water. So it makes sense that proper hydration will help your body perform and feel better.
According to a study from the University of Connecticut’s Human Performance Laboratory, even mild dehydration, defined as an approximately 1.5 percent loss in normal fluid volume, can alter your energy level and mood. So drink up! A good rule of thumb for the warmer weather is to divide your weight in half, then drink that amount of water in ounces. For example, if you weigh 180 pounds, you need to drink at least 90 ounces of water every day.
3. Listen to Music
Research shows that music can improve your mood (and quality of sleep) while reducing the risk of depression and anxiety. If you find yourself often playing the mental blues, build a favorite playlist of upbeat tunes for a quick pick-me-up.
Keep in mind, the type of music you choose can affect your mood. “Tracks with a slow tempo, gradual chord progressions and drawn-out notes tend to be calming,” says Daniel Levitin, a professor of psychology who researches the cognitive neuroscience of music at McGill University in Canada. “Chaotic and up-tempo music tends to have the opposite effect.”
Hey, it’s not like singer Eddie Cochran didn’t warn us when he sang, “There ain’t no cure for the summertime blues.” But with these three easy mood-boosters, you can turn that frown around in a snap.