Why is Good Mood Important?
Being in a good mood isn’t always a given. Our state of mind is constantly fluctuating. If you want to improve your mood and feel good, you need to work at maintaining, cultivating and nourishing your mind.
The way modern society is set up no longer meets our fundamental needs of community, connection, family support, regular downtime and consistent routines. If we’re not careful, our lives can be isolating and busy with little time for the small moments that make us feel good. We rush through life on autopilot, never giving positive emotions enough time to land in our bodies.
American Psychologist Rick Hanson talks about the need to ‘hardwire happiness’. If we don’t use our good feelings, we can lose them. Recently, I’ve been working on this myself by capturing and sharing a moment that makes me happy every day. Posting these moments on Instagram Stories is training my attention to spot the positive and correct the negative cognitive bias we’re all susceptible to. This simple practice is making a big difference to my overall mood. You can learn more about using gratitude to improve your mental health here.
5 Ways to Improve Your Mood
1. The relationship we have with ourselves sets the tone for our lives and all our other relationships, so start by looking inwards. What do you need? What is best for your wellbeing? How best can you support yourself day to day? Is your inner narrative lifting you up or beating you down?
We all need a supportive inner coach because life is tough and when we’re not at our best it’s even tougher! It’s important to support yourself as you would support the people you care deeply about. It’s called self-compassion and it’s vital for wellbeing and emotional resilience. It’s also strongly linked to feeling happy.
2. Connection with others is fundamental for our wellbeing. Humans are designed to live in big tribes of people all working together and supporting each other. That’s how we evolved but living in the modern world means being isolated and feeling lonely is on the rise. These days, we often confuse social media interaction with connection but for improving our mood we need to get out in front of people, connect with them and laugh often.
3. Think about the activities that nourish and deplete you. When we feel low, the nourishing activities are often the first to go. Try focussing on activities that provide a sense of achievement and enjoyment. This might mean doing things you’ve been putting off for a long time. Doing things for other people can be a lot more rewarding than doing things for ourselves. Engaging in charity work or simply giving your time to help a friend can make a big difference to your own sense of happiness.
4. There’s no two ways about it, moving your body is one of the best ways to improve your mood. We need to exercise and get the endorphins going. You don’t have to join a gym or complete a gruelling regime, but you do need to make movement and exercise a priority. Walk the long way, take the stairs and work on finding a form of exercise you enjoy.
5. There are exciting developments in the world of psychology around the gut/brain link. Pro-biotics have been shown to improve mood and I believe that over the next few years we’ll gain even more insight into how our diet impacts our mental health. For now, remember that to function well our brain needs the right amount of nutrients. It’s time to eat your greens!
Quick Fixes & Mood Boosting Tricks
If you’ve let some of the big things slip and your mood has taken a hit, here are some speedy ways to get your serotonin going…
Listen to amazing music
Tackle a quick cardio blast
Splash freezing water over your face to shift an emotional state
Watch an absorbing movie
Do something completely different
Laugh – smiling sends information to your brain that all is good in the world.
Dance like no-one is watching
Get cuddling – we thrive off human connection