We all experience bouts of stress, anger, and sadness. Some of us experience these bouts weekly or even daily. I have composed a list of six fun ways you can bring those negative feelings down and improve mood easily starting today. These methods are all evidence-based and designed to be convenient for hectic lifestyles.
1) Engage in quick strength-training moves:
- 60 second wall sit
- 3 sets of 20 tricep dips on chair
- 3 sets of 10 alternating lunges
- 10 push ups
Quick strength training workouts are known to be mood and energy lifters. Short bursts of strength training increase feel-good neurotransmitters in the brain such as dopamine, serotonin, as well as endorphins.
2) Watch a stand-up comedy set online. Laughing is proven to release endorphins (feel good stress-relieving chemicals in the brain).
3) Eat hot peppers-take a small bag of hot yellow peppers to work. Down them with your lunch or eat baked chips with salsa for a snack. You can also sprinkle cayenne powder in water to get the effect. I like mine with lemon. The capsaicin in chili peppers is proven to release endorphins which lifts mood.
4) Sip on tea with a small square of dark chocolate. Chocolate increases feelings of pleasure by releasing endorphins in the brain. Low energy is often a result of low mood. Eating chocolate can result in an antidepressant effect. The caffeine in chocolate and tea boosts the feel-good neurotransmitters dopamine, serotonin, and acetylcholine with an added bonus of increase in energy.
5) Use Natural Sounds. Playing natural sounds such as flowing water in the office boosts moods and improves cognitive abilities according to a new study. It has been shown to be a successful masking signal especially in the work environment (when listening to co-workers talk is irritating or stressful). Listen to flowing water in a mountain stream for a quick mood boost and decrease in stress.
6) Take a Mindful Shower. What do you do in the shower? I’ll tell you what I do…I focus on the moment and I am truly present. When you are engaging in a mindful activity, you experience the moment fully without judgment. Mindfulness is the art of paying attention to your experiences. The practice of mindfulness allows you to develop an inner calmness and non-reactivity.The following are simple steps you can take to be mindful in the shower:
- Begin from the moment you step into the shower
- Be mindful of the temperature of the floor and the feel of the water against your feet as you step into the shower
- Notice how the pressure of the water feels on your body
- Notice the smell and feel of the soap
- Breathe in the steam slowly and exhale slowly
- Do some light stretching as you feel the water hitting your body
These pleasurable methods for decreasing stress can be utilized and implemented daily. The result…decreased stress and anxiety and a lifted mood!