How to Improve Your Mood

Have you ever noticed that some people seem to be in a perpetual state of good humor while others go along in life living under a black cloud of despair? There are many explanations for why people have the attitude towards life that they do. Some would say it’s the environment where they were raised. Others may blame life circumstances that worked against them. Still others may just believe they were born that way.

In spite of the many obstacles and setbacks you may face in the course of daily living, it is possible to face your life head-on and improve your mood. You may not be able to control what happens to you or around you, but you can definitely control your reaction to those events.


1. If you want to take control of your life and your mood, get up and do something. Movement equates to purpose and having somewhere to go gives you something to do. If nothing else, movement will give you a change of scenery and give you something to focus on other than your own dismal thoughts.

2. If you have a pet, play with him. If not, consider getting a cat or a dog. Pets are notoriously happy creatures. Dogs tend to love their human companions unconditionally and are usually more than willing to hang out with you on a walk or during a game of fetch. Cats may be a bit more persnickety but their presence can still be comforting.

3. Choose positive, upbeat friends whenever possible. Good moods can be contagious. If you don’t have to listen to someone else expound on their miseries, you will be less likely to focus on your own. Happy people will point out the high points of life even when you can’t see them for yourself.

4. Pay attention to your diet. Getting your proper amount of vitamins and minerals will help you feel better physically. Feeling healthy gives you the energy to fully participate in life. It won’t hurt to start your day with a cup of coffee along with a nutrient-rich breakfast to boost your mood.

5. A clear living space is closely akin to having a clear mind. De-clutter your environment or at least some small part of it. It can feel good to donate stuff you no longer use to someone who needs what you don’t want.

6. Surround yourself with beauty. This can be in the form of flowers, favorite artwork or pictures of loved ones or happy memories. Remembering what makes you smile can bring that smile back when you’re down.

7. Establish a clear-cut goal and start to work towards it. It can be as simple as deciding to get together with friends and texting the invitation or as complex as deciding to pursue a new degree and signing up for classes. Having something to look forward to, no matter how large or small, keeps you involved with the flow of your life.

8. Practice gratitude each day. Sure, there may be things in your life right now that don’t excite you but, as long as you’re breathing, you always have some reason to be grateful. Keep those thoughts front and center as you go about your day.

9. Take care of your appearance. Dress up or down to fit your mood and comfort level. Present your best self to the world. You never know when your day can change for the better. It’s best to be prepared.

10. Laughter, as is often said, is the best medicine. Laugh at a good joke, at yourself or at nothing in particular. Laughter can fuel that inner spark that renews your spirit.

11. Exercise goes along with the other personal attention activities you enjoy. Just as you want to eat right for a healthy, alert body, you need to exercise your body to produce a healthy, alert mind and mental outlook.

12. Get adequate sleep every night. Exhaustion can have a negative impact on your outlook and overall mood. Even serious problems can take on a new look when you’re well rested. Your ability to reason and make decisions will improve when you’re not struggling to stay awake.

13. Talk to someone if you find yourself dwelling on depressing thoughts too much. A compassionate friend can help or, if your fears and concerns drag you down too much, consider seeking professional help. Life is too short and too filled with interesting things to see and do to spend your time feeling sad and worthless. Venting can be a good thing.

14. Get over yourself and do something for someone else. Volunteering for a worthwhile cause will help others and help you get out of the doldrums. Many times, volunteer work will benefit you even more than those you are helping.

15. Seek your spiritual side. This can be through your own philosophical leanings. Keep inspirational phrases or sayings where you can refer to them often. Connecting with your spiritual side helps you realize that you are a part of something bigger than yourself.

16. Learn to let go. If you can accept that everything doesn’t have to go according to your particular agenda, you will be better able to cope with life as it plays out. Being a control freak can easily lead to disappointment and mood swings.

17. Bring a little music into your life. Energized, upbeat music can encourage, delight or relax you. It can take you outside of yourself and into a larger, more inspiring world.
18. Treat yourself to some special attention. A massage, a new outfit or a new book by your favorite author can provide a short term boost in your mood. Don’t feel guilty about taking care of your own wants and needs.

19. Stop dwelling on the past or fretting about the future. Learning to live more in the present limits the number of things you can worry about at any given time. You can’t change the past so you might as well let it go. The future will be here soon enough. You can wait to deal with it when it arrives.

20. Do something you’ve never done before. If you have to devote your energy to your new undertaking, you have less time to think about your feelings or mood issues.

Everyone suffers from a shift in their mood from time to time. Usually, the mood will pass on its own or with a small effort to change something in your life at any given time. If it doesn’t, it’s important to seek professional help. No one should have to suffer from a sad mood or, at the extreme, depression. There are always ways to cope and learn to improve your mood.

Photo by Allef Vinicius.

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