It’s not uncommon for people to experience a low mood occasionally, especially in the month of January. After all, January includes the most depressing day of the year, Blue Monday on Monday 15th January. So we thought we’d try and help out by providing five simple ways to improve your mood in January and beyond.
Play with a Dog
According to a University of Missouri study, non-pet owners can improve their mood by simply playing with a dog for a few minutes each day. It is believed that playing with a pooch will cause a rise in the blood levels within serotonin and oxytocin, which are two mood-elevating brain chemicals. So, pet your neighbour’s dog for a couple of minutes, pop into your local pet store, visit a friend with a canine, or volunteer at an animal shelter. Who could resist puppy therapy?
Have a Little Fun
Immerse yourself into the present moment by having a little fun. Put all your worries and stress to one side to simply enjoy a little well-earned downtime. For example, you can socialise with friends and enjoy a day of laughter and chatting, become lost in a novel, play friends on the Playstation or Xbox. Set a little time aside for fun, which will give you something to look forward to each day.
Enjoy a Cup of Coffee or Two
Do you enjoy a hot cup of coffee in the morning? Well, you might be happy to learn that it can help to elevate your mood. Dr Cumella from the Remuda Ranch Treatment Centre in Arizona found regular caffeine intake can reduce the risk of depression by 50%. So, if you want to keep depression symptoms at bay, treat yourself to a cup or two of joe each morning.
Start Smiling and Laughing
You might not be in the mood or laugh to smile, but the act itself could make you feel happy. According to research from Dr Cumella, the physiology of smiling can make people feel happier, while laughing can stimulate serotonin (a feel-good hormone) production. So, give yourself a reason to smile and laugh by watching a funny movie or video, or simply fake a smile until you feel better.
Walk Regularly During Winter
The dark winter months can often make people feel more depressed than usual, as people often do not experience much natural sunlight when travelling to and from work. It is, therefore, important to go for regular walks during winter to experience more daylight and embrace physical exercise, which can naturally boost your mood. Walking for ten minutes per day will give you a few small doses of sunlight during the winter months. So, go for a walk on your lunch break or embrace the cold weather for ten minutes during the weekend. You will feel better for it.
Have you got any top tips to improve your mood? Share your advice by posting a comment below.