Aug 12, 2010

Ten Ways To Improve Your Mood Without Spending A Dime

In the past, I’ve fallen prey to the idea that shopping can lift my spirits. You may have seen me wandering the dollar aisles of my local Target in years past, attempting to shop my sad and bad moods away. I’ve since come to learn that there are plenty of ways to lift your spirits without paying a dime – here’s ten to get you started.

1. Every time you answer the phone, do so with a big smile on your face. Not only will the person on the other end sense the happiness in your voice, you’ll find it’s much harder to be rude or short-toned, and your spirits will brighten just a bit. Works doubly well when dealing with someone who’s already crabby!

2. Close your eyes and roll your neck around. What a shock to discover that when I was in a foul mood, my neck muscles would tighten up, causing a chain reaction of stress, foulness, tension. Now, when I feel the grumbles coming on, I take a few minutes to close my eyes and roll my neck from left to right with my chin to my chest. Not only do I feel looser and more relaxed, the grumbles have usually passed!
3. Wash your hands. Sounds silly, and a bit strange, and don’t believe it will work? The feeling of fresh clean hands gets me every time! Don’t reach for the hand sanitizer here – get up from where you are, head to the nearest bathroom and slather on the suds. Give your hands and nails a good two-minute scrub under slightly cold water, and then pat dry. That super clean-hands feeling is sure to lift your spirits a bit!

4. Drink some water as fast as you can. It’s possible that your mood is foul because you’re feeling tired or dehydrated. Drinking a glass of water will take care of your much-needed (and probably ignored!) thirst, and will open your eyes a bit wider the colder the water is!

5. Make a list of five or ten concrete things that are awesome about your life right now. Don’t dip into the past, and don’t go for the esoteric stuff like “my health is okay”. Giving your brain concrete items to wrap around, like “I took the stairs at work instead of the elevator” and “The sun was shining at lunch and I got to eat my sandwich outside” will help you see the good in your day, and before you know it your list will have grown and a smile will have stretched across your face.

6. Close your eyes and picture a person you love. Doesn’t matter if it’s your spouse, your child, your significant other, your best friend, or someone you just met. Just try to detail out in your mind every little part of their face for 30 seconds or so. I love to do this when it’s super hectic at work – just a few seconds with my eyes closed and my husband’s face behind my eyelids being goofy or sleeping soundly brings a smile to my face every time!

7. Snuggle a cat or dog. There’s nothing like an animal companion to lift your spirits! My cat Burt snuggles me extra close when I’m feeling under the weather, and I credit him with keeping my spirits up when I’m feeling sick. ellen-and-barack.jpg
8. Dance around in your car or your home to top-40s music. Save your super cutting edge music for another day here, folks. While we all make fun of top-40 at some point, those catchy beats and simple lyrics make you want to shake your bootie no matter who you are, and by giving in your mood will lift along with your heart rate!

9. Watch the “full on double rainbow” video on You Tube. You know what, even if you think you’re in a good mood right now, go ahead and click that link. Click away from this page, and watch as this dude freaks his freak over a gorgeous double rainbow. Yes, most of us have made fun of it, but I defy you to watch that video and not laugh at the innocent wonder of it all.

10. Hang upside down from your couch. What??? I know, I know, I sound nutters now, but I promise you cannot be in a bad mood after having hung upside-down from your couch. How do you do this? Lay your back down on the seat of the couch, throw your legs up on the back-rest and over the top edge, and hang your head off where your feet normally hang. Chill out there for a minute or two, and see if you don’t feel a bit happier!

What are some of your fool-proof {and free!} ways to boost your mood? I’d love to add some to my list, so please share in the comments!

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