When you’re simply having a bad day or you’re struggling with a more serious mental health condition like depression, being in a not-so-great mood is never fun. You’ll be less productive than usual, less fun to be around, and less motivated to do much of anything. In fact, on a bad mental health day, few things sound as appealing as crawling into bed, hiding under the covers, and avoiding any responsibilities‚Äîand anything that might remind you of your poor mood.
But, the truth is, recognizing that your mood is bad is the first step towards improving it. The next step? Doing something about it. From seeking out counseling for the first time and getting to a higher skill level with a favorite pastime to ordering a new pair of skinny jeans and signing up for beginner surf lessons, there are a lot of activities that can genuinely boost your mood.
1. Accomplishing something new.
According to the principles of positive psychology, five factors can improve your mental health: positive emotion, engagement, relationships, meaning, and accomplishment. In action, these are inherently interconnected. In fact, you can engage with the benefits of these factors with one simple endeavor‚Äîsucceeding at something, even something minor. Go all-in and cross something off your bucket list or tackle that item that’s been on your to-do list for ages. Either way, you can benefit from a feeling of accomplishment and the positive emotions that come with it.
Consider your goals and how you can get closer to achieving them. Even the smallest step can help improve your progress and boost your mood. Dreaming of a better relationship? Plan a video chat or in-person date night to reignite the spark. Dream of learning to surf or want to take your beginner surf skills to the next level? Pick up a surfboard, seek out surfing lessons for beginners, and become the surfer you dream of being. With each surf lesson, you’ll find yourself getting better at all the skills a beginner surfer needs, from paddling to the best waves to more advanced surfer skills. Small accomplishment or large, you’ll feel a little bit better with each goal you cross off your list.
2. Treating Yourself
Retail therapy often gets a bad rap but some studies show that shopping can give your mood a must-needed boost. By giving you a sense of control over even a small piece of your life, shopping can reduce sadness and let you feel better with each purchase decision. More than simply window shopping, choosing the perfect items from the rack can help give your mental health a boost.
Head to your favorite department store and check out those womens riding boots you’ve been eyeing up. Compare them with the other available riding boots. If you have a particularly wide calf, figure out which pair of tall boots fit you best.
If you’re not feeling up to the crowds and out-of-pocket costs that come along with retail therapy, don’t worry. You can still reap the benefits of indulging in something special! Sip a cup of tea from your favorite brand or treat yourself to a pampering session full of facials, soaks in the bubble bath, and calming sounds. Consider what will make you feel a bit better, be it a shopping spree or at-home spa day. There will be a great option available for you, whatever your preference.
3. Getting Active
In the immortal words of Elle Woods, “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy.” Endorphins and antibodies contribute to the “high” of exercise, create the link between exercise and happiness. You might not be dreaming of lacing up your running shoes or hitting the elliptical as you hide in bed, but, once you’ve got your heart rate up, you’ll feel much better. The basics of exercise, be it pushups, crunches, and other calisthenics, a beginner’s exercise program, or a private surf lesson can all move you towards greater mental health.
Slip into a wetsuit, learn to surf, and dive beneath the waves. Join a local gym and find a beginner lesson in the workout of your choice. Or just take to YouTube and find your first lesson in fitness available free online. The type of workout you choose or where you choose to try it doesn’t matter. By raising your heart rate, you just might find that your mental health issues ease up a little bit with each strength training session or run.
4. Talking to a mental health professional.
In some cases, a mental health professional will be the single best step you can take toward boosting your mood. With different forms of therapy, a therapist, psychologist, counselor, or psychiatrist can provide the mental health service you need to treat a mental health condition like depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, or PTSD. It might take a few tries to find the right therapist for you or the right form of therapy for your concerns. But, by identifying the best therapist possible, your effort will pay off in plenty of mental health and wellness benefits.
Your therapy session doesn’t need to involve face-to-face therapy or in-person sessions, either. Mental health professionals are made all the more accessible with online therapy options. This means you can video chat with online therapists when you can’t bring yourself to get out of bed in the morning or get the cognitive behavior therapy your therapist recommends from the comfort of your couch.
Better mental health is always a good idea, a fact that becomes even more true when you’re struggling. Whether you seek out a therapist to treat mental illness or you’re learning the basics of surfing to distract yourself from stress with the perfect wave, the best way to boost your mood will be unique to you and your mental health situation. An online therapy session, surf lesson, or even a shopping trip can offer the mental healthcare you need. Cross a private surf lesson off your bucket list or treat yourself to a cup of tea as you try on your new pair of riding boots. However, you decide to feel better is a good way to boost your mood, as long as it works for you.