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| By Antonia Day | Wellness

9 Things You Can Do Right Now to Improve Your Mood

And guess what… they’re all free.

Sometimes we feel like we can’t help the mood we’re in, especially if it’s a negative one. Maybe everything’s going wrong on the longest day you’ve ever experienced, or perhaps the pasta you left in the fridge last night was eaten by anyone other than you.

The good news is that there are simple things we can do to help us improve our mood – even when we really don’t want to. So if you’ve just come home from a tough day at work, or just received a letter about your car rego being due, we’ve put together a list of nine happiness boosters that’ll get you out of that mental rut when you’re feeling low.

9 Things You Can Do Right Now to Improve Your Mood

1. Go outside

Most of us know that exercise is good for our mental health, and when you take it outside – the benefits are tenfold. Don't fret, we’re not talking running a marathon barefoot on sand, a simple 20-minute walk around the block to get some fresh air will get you away from the environment causing you stress and anxiety, as well as provide some perspective on the negative mood you’re currently experiencing.

2. Talk to a friend

Talking to a friend is good for us no matter what mood we’re in. Social connection is imperative when it comes to boosting your mood and mental health in general. If you’re not a big talker, sending a quick message to a close friend reaching out, or just asking how they’re doing can often distract us from what we’re going through and remind us of the good that surrounds us.

3. Chat to your four-legged friends

More than a cute face, pets have been proven to significantly increase mood and overall happiness. If you want to exponentially boost your mood, combine points 1 and 2 by taking your four-legged friend on a walk. Even though they can't talk back to you, the simple act of caring for your furry friend while being in nature will increase your gratitude, and in turn, boost your mood.

4. Try something new

If you’re feeling ambitious while you’re feeling low, trying a hobby or skill that you haven’t done before can be extremely enriching. Not only does it keep your mind off whatever’s getting you down, but it also teaches you something new while you’re doing it. This doesn’t need to be a totally new skill, even cooking something you’ve never tried before, or attempting Sunday's cryptic crossword will get your brain working and serotonin pumping.

5. Throw on some colour

We all know black goes with everything, but what many of us don’t know is that wearing the beloved shade day in and day out can significantly impact our mood. If you’re having a rough day or just feeling a little low, when getting ready that morning try to add pops of colour to your outfit. Wear what sparks joy and feel your mood boost from the inside out.

6. Groove a little

Similar to getting outside and doing some light exercise, dancing can completely transform your mood. It may sound crazy, but even spending a few minutes in the comfort of your own home grooving to your favourite tunes can boost your mood significantly. Jump around while you’re at it, research shows performing upward, expansive movements can elicit good vibes.

7. Smile!

Probably the easiest task on this list, smiling takes only a few seconds and the effects of it can last hours. Even when we’re not feeling great the act of smiling tricks your mind into feeling the opposite of its current state, so even if it's the last thing you feel like doing on a hard day, give it a go and feel the positive energy come your way.

8. Turn up the music

Music has the ability to change our mood completely, it can make us laugh, cry, and reminisce on the past – but when you’re in need of a mood boost, playing your favourite artist or song will instantly lift your spirits.

9. Chase simple pleasures

It can be as simple as running a bath, reading a book, or even watching your favourite movie. The simple pleasures each of us enjoy in life are known to boost your mood when you’re not feeling the greatest. Indulging in short-term pleasure has been proven to be just as rewarding as pursuing far-off goals like buying a house or training for a marathon, so press play on the next episode, buy the chocolate, and say yes to every joy-filled adventure.

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