We have all been there. Your boyfriend just dumped you or maybe you got fired from your dream job. And now you find yourself inflicted with a major case of the blues. You immediately start to drown yourself in a tub of Ben and Jerry’s hoping that somehow this is going to solve all your problems.
Well, are you ready for some tough love? No one is coming to save you. You have to be your own hero and figure out how to perk up. And while picking yourself up may sound like the last thing you want to do right now, improving your mood is essential for keeping your brain and body healthy.
In this article, I will detail exactly how you can ditch the blues and start feeling more like your happy-go-lucky self today.
Why does your mood even matter
You might be thinking to yourself, “So I’m sad. What’s the big deal?”. Well, your mood really does matter.
Research indicates that a sad mood may influence your memory and ability to recognize emotion-related facial expressions in others. Reduced memory could lead to poorer performance at work or forgetting a loved one’s birthday.
And if you can’t effectively recognize facial expressions in others, this could have some rather unpleasant consequences. You could easily mistake the “I’m clearly upset” grimace for a “come give me a kiss” invitation, which would leave you awkwardly puckering your lips at your upset lover.
Conversely, a positive mood has been shown to improve your capacity to learn and helps you perform better than if you were in even a “neutral mood”. This indicates improving your mood may help you be more likely to succeed in the classroom or in your work environment.
What happens if you let sadness linger too long
If you let your bad mood outstay its welcome, you may find yourself working your way into depression. We all know depression isn’t good for you. But do you really understand the consequences of depression?
A study performed in 2002 found that depression decreased your overall quality of life similar to those who had arthritis, diabetes, or high blood pressure. And if you were depressed and had another medical condition, the depression was found to increase the negative effects of that condition on your body.
As someone who has let her sadness slip into depression before, I can attest to the pervasive effect it has on your life and health. I stopped eating well and rarely made an effort to exercise. Even the smallest of tasks felt like it took a colossal amount of energy to perform. If your sad mood has turned into full-on depression, I want to encourage you to seek out professional help because your long-term well-being is at stake.
5 easy ways to pick yourself up now
Now that you understand why your mood matters, it’s time to figure out how you can go about changing your mood. If it’s happiness you’re seeking, I encourage you to not just read these tips. Take these tips and put them into action!
1. Walk your way to a better mood
The reminder you get from your apple watch to get up and get some steps may be good for more than just your heart. Taking a walk can improve your mood and even gets your body out of that “fight or flight” mode, which reduces your stress levels.
Whether it’s a five-minute power walk or a thirty-minute stroll through your neighborhood, using your own two feet to move your body is a very accessible tool for changing your mood. It doesn’t cost a thing and it can be as long or short as you want.
For more benefits of walking, here's an entire article we wrote about the importance of walking.
2. Turn on your favorite song and dance
When I am having a bad day, I expect no judgment if you see me dancing like a wild animal to the Spice Girls’ “Wannabe”. It’s my favorite pick-me-up song because there is something so outrageous about it that I cannot listen to that song and be sad at the same time.
Now your favorite song may be a little less obnoxious than mine and that’s fine. I don’t care what song it is. Your job is to blast that song as loud as you can and start grooving in whatever way feels right to your body.
After you finish dancing to your favorite song, you are bound to be left with a little more pep in your step. You may even want to press repeat if you’re like me.
3. Call up your bestie
Sometimes all it takes to lighten your mood is dialing your best friend’s phone number. Just knowing that someone else cares and understands can make a world of difference in how you process your emotions.
I can still recall a phone call with my best friend the day that my boyfriend dumped me right after my grandmother passed away. Talk about a double whammy. Saying I didn’t feel my best is probably the understatement of the year.
My best friend was not only able to understand me through my sea of tears, but she knew just the words to say. I went from being hysterical to feeling like I was strong enough to overcome this situation.
If you want to learn more about the importance of having good friends, we got you covered.
4. Watch your favorite comedian
I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase, “Laughter is medicine.” But tell me the last time you laughed really hard and felt sad simultaneously? Yeah, I can’t remember either.
So how can we get ourselves to laugh when we’re feeling down? My go-to solution is to listen to one of my favorite comedians. After Kevin Hart tells his fifth joke, I can feel my frown turning upside down.
If you want to take it a step further, invite a friend to watch a comedian special with you or go to a live show. Laughing alone is great, but laughing with others always feels even better.
5. Get off the couch and go outside
Nature has this magical power that helps you realize just how small and insignificant your problems are. Every time I make the effort to go outside, I return home in a much better mood and with a sense of appreciation.
Now when I say go outside, this could be as simple as sitting in your yard and soaking up the sunshine or as complex as rappelling off the edge of a cliff. I personally gravitate towards the option where I dance with danger, but that’s just the adrenaline junkie in me.
It truly does not matter what you do, you just need to get outside of the walls that are keeping you trapped in a somber mood. There is a whole world out there full of little surprises that may just pick you up unexpectedly.
Get Our FREE Mental Self-Care Cheat Sheet
Thrive under stress and crush your goals with these 10 instant tips for your mental health.
Now I know it’s unrealistic to expect to be happy all the time, but you also can’t let yourself stay sad forever. If you don’t pick yourself up, it could have severe consequences for your cognition and physical health. That’s why you have to do whatever it takes to brighten your mood. By using these five easy steps, you can become your own hero and send Mr. Blues packing out the door!
What do you think? Do you find it difficult to pick yourself up, even though you want to sometimes? Or do you want to share a tip that has made it easier for yourself to pick up recently? I'd love to hear from you in the comments below!