Whether it’s because you’ve had a crappy night’s sleep, got some bad news or simply woke up on the wrong side of the bed, we all have our down days from time to time. It’s totally normal! On those occasions, it’s tempting to drown your sorrows in greasy takeaway meals and a glass (or four) of pinot. And while that’s fine from time to time, it can often leave you feeling even worse than you did to begin with. Thankfully, there’s a healthier alternative! Next time you’re in need of a pick-me-up, why not try one of these science-approved hacks to instantly boost your mood?
1. Soak up the sunshine
Also known as the ‘sunshine vitamin,’ vitamin D is essential for keeping your bones in tip top condition. But did you know that it’s also essential for your mental health? If you find you generally have a little extra pep in your step in summer, that’s probably why!
While you can get vitamin D through foods like fatty fish and supplementation, the best way to get your dose is by catching some rays. Next time you’re feeling a little blue, try getting out into the sun for 20 to 25 minutes. This is short enough that the sun exposure levels aren’t dangerous, but long enough to give you a serious mood boost! Bonus points if you can kick off your shoes and come into direct contact with the earth (whether it’s grass or a sandy beach) — this is called ‘earthing’ and is also scientifically proven to improve your mood!
2. Wear bright activewear
The colours you wear can have a huge impact on how you feel. Feeling low? Bright colours has been proven to release the feel-good hormone, dopamine, making you feel happier and more energetic. Stressed out? Cool shades like blue have been found to increase the calming hormone, oxytocin. And if you ask us, the best way to rock bright colours is in your activewear. Not only will it lift your spirits, it may actually motivate you to exercise — which, of course, has been proven to release endorphins and give you those upbeat vibes! You can check out our range of vibrant activewear here.
3. Write in a gratitude journal
On those days where it feels like everything is going wrong (you forget your keys, you spill coffee all over yourself, you miss out on a job opportunity) it’s a great idea to remind yourself of all the awesome things you have going for you. The simple act of practicing gratitude has been proven to give you an instant dopamine boost and the long-term benefits of doing it regularly are even better — improved relationships, life satisfaction, overall health and productivity, just to name a few! One of the simplest ways you can do this is by getting yourself a gorgeous gratitude journal. Each morning or night (or just whenever you need a pick-me-up) jot down three things you’re grateful for. It can be as small as the delicious coffee you had that morning or as big as having a family that cares about you.
4. Tune out
Ever noticed how much better you feel when blast Adele (and sing along loudly) when you’re feeling sad? Or how you simply couldn’t be in a bad mood when Pharrell William’s ‘Happy’ came on? It’s no coincidence. Music can have an incredibly powerful influence on your mind. In neurological studies, scientists have witnessed how the brain literally lights up when you listen to music. The key is to match your playlist to how you want to feel. So, if you’re in need of some zen, pick a calming soundtrack. If you’re in a bit of a slump, pop on some upbeat music and dance around the house (preferably in your bright activewear!).There’s a playlist for pretty much any mood or occasion on Spotify, so the sky’s the limit!
5. Practice yoga
Yoga is a bit of an overachiever when it comes to improving your mood. Not only does it give you the endorphin-boosting benefits of exercise, but it activates the parasympathetic nervous system, helping you cope with the stresses of everyday life. So, once you finish, you leave feeling uplifted and calm at the same time. Whether you head to a class or do a solo session at home, practicing yoga is by far one of the most effective ways to lift your mood.
Note: If you feel that what you’re experiencing is more than just ‘feeling blue’, it’s important to reach out for help. Beyond Blue have some great free resources to get you started.