Licensed Psychotherapist
Licensed psychotherapist Julie Hanks, LCSW was recently recognized as the number one online depression influencer by Sharecare for her extensive work promoting mental health resources online. Hanks has over 20 years in the mental…
6 Ways to Boost Your Mood Today
Posted in Depression by Julie Hanks, LCSW on Mar 06, 2012

Video Notes: 6 Simple Ways To Boost Your Mood Today

  1. Listen To Music - Small changes in your environment can improve your mood, like listening to music. Music activates the pleasure center of the brain, according to neuroscientist Daniel Levitin, professor of psychology at McGill University. Music can improve moods and intensify positive emotions; it doesn’t matter what kind of music you listen to, as long as you like it. Here's my recommended music playlist to improve your mood when you're feeling painful emotions Music & Mood-Musings from a Songwriter and Therapist -
  2. Smile - Emotions are contagious. Smiling makes you feel better inside and appear more attractive to others. Several research projects demonstrated that even forced smiles improved moods. Even when subjects held a pencil in their teeth causing facial muscles to simulate a smile they reported feeling happier.
  3. Get Some Sun - Who doesn't feel more cheerful when the sun is shining? Researchers agree that thirty minutes of sunlight daily can improve mood, improve sleep, and increase Vitamin D production. In fall and winter months when the days are shorter exposure to sunlight is even more important. Individuals who suffer from clinical depression during specific months may have Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), a seasonal depression that can be diagnosed and treated by a health or mental health professional. One treatment for SAD is phototherapy which is exposure to sunlight or to an artificial light for a specific amount of time each day as prescribed.
  4. Talk To Strangers - Your mother may have told you not to talk to strangers but researcher Elizabeth Dunn, assistant professor of psychology at the University of British Columbia, found that talking to strangers has a benefit — boosting your mood. We are used to being more cheerful around people we don't know. Next time you're in an elevator or standing in line at the grocery store strike up a conversation and see what happens. Also, reaching out to others in small, kind ways can help you feel happier. According to a University of California, Riverside study, participants who performed five acts of kindness in a single day reported feeling happier. If you want to be happy, practice compassion — Dalai Lama.

  5. Change Your Mind - When you're feeling low, your thoughts slow. Emily Pronin, assistant professor of psychology at Princeton University found that when research participants read statements quickly their mood and energy level improved, even if the statements they read were negative. Next time you're feeling blue, try brainstorming solutions to a problem, playing a fast paced game, or engaging in witty banter with a friend to speed up your thoughts.
  6. Move Your Body - Even if it's only a brief walk, moving your body elevates your mood, especially if you're outside. At Duke University researchers found exercise to be as effective as antidepressant medication for treating depression. In addition to aerobic exercise, practice deep, rhythmical, and repetitive breathing and experience the benefits of elevated mood, reduced stress, and calmness. If you're new to deep breathing read Dr. Weil's article The Art and Science of Breathing for excellent beginning breathing exercises -

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Very Helpful!
By favorbygod  Mar 19, 2012
Great tips that can be applied easily! Thank you so much :)
By drwho546  Mar 09, 2012
Good reminders with a few new ways to implement my mood. Thank you.
By MomofJosh  Mar 08, 2012
This very timely for me, especially after an evening of music and laughter, I dI came home and felt like crying. I needed to walk home to night because the moon was out, and thete was mote than one star shininng bright and visible in the sky. I went to funeral earlier today. Even though this was a celebration of a beautiful life through music and spoken word, it was an emotionally draining day.
By Charlene Ann Varga  Mar 07, 2012
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