No one is immune to bad moods. Whether a minor inconvenience like a traffic jam ruins an upbeat mood or major worries cause a serious case of the blues, a bad mood feels, well, bad. When you sense a bad mood brewing, these six research-backed techniques may help, even if you’re dealing with chronic stress or depression.
Take a Walk
Moderate exercise helped ease feelings of sadness after a distressing event, according to a 2016 study published in Cognition and Emotion. Research also has shown that moderate aerobic exercise may alleviate depression. “[Exercise] may help people be more emotionally flexible, meaning they can bounce back more easily from stressful situations,” explains Emily Bernstein, a Harvard University graduate student in psychology and lead author of the study.
Turn Up the Tunes
Whether you sing along to show tunes or practice air guitar to heavy metal, music can make you happier. A 2016 study in Scientific Reports found that listening to music reduced stress, lowered levels of inflammation and improved mood.
Step Away from the Screen
Research published in BMC Psychiatry linked computer use to increased stress and depressive mood. “The time [spent on a computer] may be taken from activities that are important for health such as sleep, physical activity [and] social relations,” explains study author Sara Thomée, PhD, a psychologist at University of Gothenburg in Sweden. If you’re in a bad mood, log off the computer.
Hang Out with Upbeat People
You can catch a bad mood just as you can catch a cold, according to research in Clinical Psychological Science. If another person’s bad mood is infecting you, seek out positive people to spend time with.
Hit the Sack
When you have chronic pain, poor sleep is common, and disrupted sleep is linked to negative mood, according to recent research in the journal Sleep. Talk to your doctor about pain treatments, and practice good sleep habits, like keeping a regular bedtime; sleeping in a cool, dark room; and avoiding caffeine, TV or other stimulants before bed.
Get Some Sunshine
Channeling a sunny disposition could be as simple as seeking out the sun. “Depressive symptoms could be closely associated with low vitamin D [levels],” notes researcher Fatme Al Anouti, PhD, a biochemist at Zayed University in the United Arab Emirates. Al Anouti says spending just 60 minutes outdoors per week can boost vitamin D levels and may ease depression.
Author: JODI HELMER
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