According to Thayer, a bad mood consists of reduced energy and feelings of tension. Exercise can reduce tension and increase energy which in turn will improve mood. In order to feel the mood boosting effects of exercise, you don't need to complete a heavy duty workout. Thayer's research finds that a moderate or even light workout can produce mood boosting effects. Aerobics, swimming, or a brisk walk will immediately reduce tension, increase energy and most importantly improve a bad mood.
Engaging in social interaction is a great way to boost a bad mood. Calling a friend or engaging in a social activity not only distracts you from your bad mood but will also reduce tension. According to Thayer, social interaction influences our mood because humans are social animals. If we lack human interaction we tend to isolate ourselves which can lead to negative changes in mood.
Turn Up the Music Music activates the part of the brain that is hardwired for pleasure. According to Thayer's research, he has found that listening to music is a highly efficient way of improving mood. Whether you're by yourself singing out loud to your favorite song or sitting back, relaxing, and enjoying classical, jazz or the music of your choice, your mood will improve in the moment.
Good Mood Food
Your brain needs a variety of nutrients to perform normally and regulate a balanced mood. Nutrients found in healthy foods and supplements can be helpful in supporting a balanced mood. Junk food can create nutritional imbalances and can affect mood negatively. According to Jack Challem's research on nutritional supplements when your blood sugar crashes, for example, your mood usually does too, often times leading to irritability and impatience. Eat healthy snacks such as fruits, vegetables, and nuts of course taking into consideration any dietary restrictions you may have.
Research has found that Omega-3's benefit mood problems including depression, impulsiveness, and hostility. Foods such as walnuts, edamame, flax seed, beans, atlantic salmon, bluefin tuna, and atlantic mackerel are all rich in Omega-3's.
These vitamins support mood and brain energy levels. Supplements can often reduce anxiety and lift depressed moods. According to Challem, B complex vitamins have long been recognized as anti-stress nutrients and stress is a negative contributor to a bad mood. Foods such as whole grains, vegetables, fruits, legumes, meats, eggs, and dairy all contain various levels of B vitamins.
Low blood sugar levels can trigger feelings of hunger, irritability, and impatience. A balanced intake of foods high in protein and low in starchy sugary foods can stabilize mood. A diet high in carbohydrates and high in sugar can deplete vitamin B levels which can contribute to moodiness.
Other ways to improve your mood
Laugh. It is hard to stay in a bad mood if you're laughing. After all, no one wants to hug a porcupine.
Nap. A short nap in the middle of the day can increase energy and leave you feeling refreshed. Some people can feel refreshed after a quick 10-15 minute nap.
Activity. Distraction can be a great way to get out of a bad mood. Getting involved in an activity will distract you from your bad mood and can improve attitude. Sports, hobbies, hiking or reading are all productive examples.
Self care. Taking care of you and pampering yourself can improve mood. A warm bath, massage, or a warm cup of tea can all decrease a bad mood. Even the smallest practices of self care can be a positive mood pick up. If you feel plagued by bad mood often, try practicing a self care activity several times a week to improve and balance your mood.
Challem, Jack (2013). Mood Foods. Better Nutrition: May 2013.
Thayer, R. E. (2012). Moods of Energy and Tension That Motivate. In R. Ryan (ed) The Oxford Handbook of Motivation. New York: Oxford University Press.
*This article is not intended to be a substitute for medical advice. It is possible that if you're experiencing bad moods regularly there are other conditions and situations that maybe occurring. Please consult your treating Physician accordingly.
By Liz A. Cross