Wouldn’t it be nice if you had a little tool box you could pull out when your’re having a bad day? Something to sprinkle a little joy in your day and quickly improve your mood.
I’m sharing some proven ways to improve your mood and even increase your happiness.
How do I know these tips are proven? Because each tip is based on just one of the many concepts Shawn Achor offers in his book, The Happiness Advantage. Achor backs each tip with scientific research.
He researched happiness at Harvard University, and is now considered a leading expert on happiness, success, and potential.
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Each activity Achor suggests gives a quick boost of positive emotions. Also, if these activities are performed habitually every day, over time it can raise your happiness baseline.
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7 Proven Ways to Improve Your Mood and Increase Happiness
1 – Meditate
Meditating for as little as five minutes each day can make a difference.
Meditation takes practice, but it’s a powerful habit with great benefits. Improving your mood is just one of the many benefits of this wonderful practice.
RELATED READING: Meditation: What It Is | Why You Should Do It | How To Start
2 – Find something to look forward to.
Achor sited research that showed “people who just thought about watching their favorite movie actually raised their endorphin levels by 27%.”
What’s the point?
The most enjoyable part of an activity is often the anticipation.
Even if you have a busy life, get something fun scheduled so you can look forward to it. A night out, a vacation, or anything that floats your boat – get it on your calendar so you can anticipate it. Get a boost of happiness just by reminding yourself of the fun event.
I can attest to the fact that this really works for me. Having a vacation to plan and look forward to is exciting. The joy is in the process, not solely in the event.
3 – Do Conscious Acts of Kindness
A study with over 2000 participants showed that acts of kindness:
- Decreased stress
- Enhanced mental health
The acts of kindness have to be done deliberately. It doesn’t count to think back over your day and count the kind acts you just so happened to do.
To get the boost in happiness that the study showed, you need to consciously do the acts with the intent of being kind.
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Small gestures of kindness qualify just as much as grand gestures.
- Pay for someone behind you in the drive-through
- Strike up a conversation with someone who might be lonely
- Give a sincere compliment
No money is needed, but your effort will have big pay back.
Bonus: The positive effects of your acts of kindness will linger a few days after you’ve completed the acts of kindness.
RELATED READING: Kindness is Contagious – Cause an Epidemic
Achor suggested you pick one day a week and do five acts of kindness, as was done in the study.
I’m more apt to suggest you try to consciously do acts of kindness on a daily basis. There will never be too much kindness, and it has an amazing ripple effect that will have you feeling amazing about yourself!
4 – Infuse Positivity Into Your Surroundings
Your physical environment can have an enormous impact on your mindset and sense of well-being.
At the office, inspire happiness by displaying photos of friends and family where you see them often. Each time you glance at them you’ll get a bit of positive emotion.
My tip: Whether at the office or in your home, intentionally place plants and items you love where you’ll see them often.
Remove items that trigger negative feelings.
RELATED READING: How to Bring Positive Energy Into Your Home
5 – Exercise
Whether we want to admit it or not, I think we all know that exercise makes us feel better physically and emotionally.
Exercise releases endorphins which are pleasure-inducing chemicals.
Exercise also boosts mood, improves motivation, reduces stress and anxiety, and enhances work performance.
Those are some pretty major all-natural mood boosting benefits! Test it yourself by going for a walk. You get quick results and will have proof for yourself.
RELATED READING: How Successful People Fit In Gym Time
6 – Spend Money, But Not on Stuff
Spend money?!?!? Yes, but don’t get too excited too fast. You can’t go on a clothes or furniture shopping spree.
To get the improved mood and lift in happiness, you must spend money to do things, not to have things.
Spending money on experiences produces positive emotions that are both meaningful and longer lasting. This is especially effective when having those experiences with other people.
So done correctly, I guess research says money can buy happiness!
7 – Exercise a Signature Strength
Each time you use one of your skill strengths you experience a burst of positivity. Exercising a strength of character is even better.
Achor reporter that “when 577 volunteers were encouraged to pick one of their signature strengths, and use it in a new way each day for a week, they became significantly happier and less depressed than control groups.”
Their levels of happiness after using their signature strength lasted for up to six months!
Some examples of signature strengths are cooking, caring for children, and Shawn Achor’s is a love for learning. He incorporates learning into boring tasks.
We all have some strength. Use it! You’ll feel better.
Are there two of those tips that you are willing to use each day in the next week? You have nothing to lose and will enJOY an improved mood and increased happiness.
Maybe you’re already doing some of these mood boosters and can add a few more to your tool belt for bad days.
Don’t let a bad mood ruin your day. Now you know how to improve your mood using these tools to build a mindset that will help you be proactive about busting a bad mood. In the long run, may your overall happiness be increased.
Learn more about Shawn Achor’s book by reading my book review of The Happiness Advantage. Buy the book for yourself to get the full scoop on improving your mood and increasing your happiness.
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