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Feeling grumpy? It may seem like there's nothing you can do to make your day any better — but that's not true. Try some of these simple but effective — and scientifically proven — techniques to boost your mood.
Exercise Stimulates More Than The Body
We all know we should exercise regularly to maintain our physical health, but when we're under pressure and strapped for time, it's often one of the first "leisure activities" to go out the window. Don't underestimate the power of exercise on your mood, however. Research has shown that working out regularly can help lessen anxiety and depression, so it definitely has the power to help you if you're just a little grumpy.
Why does exercise help? You are probably aware that exercise gets the endorphins, chemicals that make you feel better, flowing. Along with those, your body on exercise also releases endocannabinoids and reduces immune system chemicals that dampen your mood. On a less technical note, a good workout takes your mind off the stuff that's bothering you and gives you a self-esteem boost as you hit goals that you set for yourself.
Remember that the gym isn't the only place to exercise. Walking to work, taking the stairs instead of the lift, and doing house work are all activities that count as physical exercise. On that note, a good walk works wonders too.
Why Walks Make You Feel Better
Gregory Bratman, a graduate student from the Emmett Interdisciplinary Program in Environment and Resources at Stanford University, found out that city dwellers who sought out bits of nature within their own environment felt better and were more attentive afterward. Eager to find out more, he and some colleagues engaged in further research to find out why. The result?
Did we need scientists to tell us that? Not really. I questioned a bunch of friends on what they do when they feel a little down, and though that's hardly a scientific study, I was interested to hear that nine out of 15 answered that taking a walk — either in the woods or around the block — did wonders for their mood. Knowing that taking a walk has a "scientific stamp of approval" when it comes to mood-boosting may give you the inspiration to try it out if you don't normally walk to feel better, however!
Turn Up The Music!
Researchers from the University of Missouri were among those who conducted studies that proved music can reinforce an existing good mood, and boost long-term happiness. Yuna Ferguson and her team found that listening to happy, upbeat songs with the specific goal of feeling better can work very quickly, but also that playing happy music regularly boosts overall mood levels. "Our work provides support for what many people already do – listen to music to improve their moods," she said.
The research made one thing clear: listening to sad songs doesn't help. If you're feeling down and would like to improve your state of mind, turn to music that inspires positive feelings.