10 Fun Activities That Can Improve Your Mood
It’s an unfortunate fact of life: We can’t be happy all of the time. At some point, someone (or something) will inevitably send your rage-o-meter into the red, putting you in a sour mood that can be difficult to shake off. Bad moods are sometimes unavoidable, but that doesn’t mean you need to stay in your funk for longer than necessary. In fact, turning your bad day around could be as simple as taking a walk in the park or grabbing coffee with a friend. The next time you’re feeling low, try one of these 10 mood-boosting fun activities that promise to get you back to a happier state of mind.
Snuggle up with a cozy blanket and read
Every bookworm knows that reading can do wonders for mental health. Diving into a good book provides a much-needed escape from the stress of our daily lives, making us feel less stressed and happier. To amplify the effect, try snuggling up with a weighted throw blanket as you read. Weighted blankets have been scientifically proven to reduce the stress hormone cortisol and increase serotonin — a feel-good chemical in the brain that helps stabilize mood and increase feelings of well-being.
Go for a nature walk
Feeling stressed or frustrated? Take a break from your digital devices and immerse yourself in nature. Also known as forest bathing and forest therapy, spending time in nature is a tried-and-true way to improve your mood and overall sense of well-being. According to one study, spending 20 to 30 minutes in a natural setting is all it takes to feel nature’s stress-relieving effects. For a quick pick-me-up, find your nearest greenspace and go for a quick stroll or bike ride.
Make a ‘happy’ meal
No, we’re not suggesting you grab McDonald’s for dinner. We’re talking about making a home-cooked meal using healthy, mood-boosting ingredients. If you want to feel happier, try adding more seasonal fruits and vegetables, complex carbohydrates, omega-3 fatty acids and saffron to your diet. The act of cooking itself is also super-relaxing. There’s something meditative about measuring ingredients and making a home-cooked meal from scratch.
Have a spa day at home
Feeling overwhelmed by work and the state of the world? Consider indulging in a little “me” time with an at-home spa day. Pampering yourself is a great way to reduce stress and improve your mood.
For an easy day of self-pampering, light some candles and hop in a bathtub complete with a lavender and lemon bath bomb. Once you’re finished soaking, put on a cozy weighted robe designed to release tension and melt away stress. End the evening on a high note with a DIY facial and a relaxing cup of herbal tea.
Watch a funny movie or comedy special
When it comes to improving our mood, laughter really is the best medicine. Laughter triggers the production of feel-good chemicals — such as dopamine, endorphins and serotonin — which help relieve pain and trick our brain into happiness. So, the next time you’re feeling sad or frustrated, just plop yourself down on the couch and watch a funny comedy special on Netflix. After a few guffaws and giggles, your bad mood will soon be a thing of the past.
Get your hands dirty
With the weather beginning to warm up, now is the perfect time to plant some flowers and spruce up your backyard. Gardening offers a slew of health benefits, from boosting your immune system to lowering stress and the risk of disease. Best of all, it’s an activity that’s suitable for all ages. Whether it’s growing plants on a windowsill or setting up your own vegetable garden, there are endless ways to get your hands dirty.
Take Fido to the dog park
If you’re a dog lover, consider taking your pup to your local dog park. After all, it’s practically impossible to be upset when you’re surrounded by a pack of happy pups with goofy smiles. Besides, getting outside with Fido is good for both of you. Like humans, dogs also need exercise and socialization, so leash up and head outside.
Spend time with friends and family
Sure, they might drive you crazy at times, but your loved ones probably have a positive impact on your health and well-being overall. Spending time with the people you love offers a wide range of mental and physical health benefits, from decreasing loneliness and lowering stress to encouraging you to make healthier lifestyle choices. Get in touch with your family and friends and make plans to grab lunch, go for a walk or simply chat on the phone.
Get out on the water
Seeing red lately? Try putting yourself into a blue state of mind by getting out on the water. Research has shown that being on or in water — whether it’s a lake, ocean or even just a swimming pool — can provide a long list of health benefits, chief among them being lower stress and anxiety. Take the family on a boating trip or hop on a paddleboard and explore the great outdoors. If you aren’t lucky enough to live near a large body of water, consider planning your next seaside adventure.
Focus on your hobbies
If you’ve been procrastinating on your hobbies, consider this your friendly reminder to get back in the game. Studies have shown that working to improve a skill or a hobby — such as woodworking or learning a new type of camping knot — can make people feel happier and more content in the long-term. If you’ve been avoiding your hobbies because they feel overwhelming and stressful, you may just need to take the pressure off yourself. Remember: It’s about the journey, not the destination.
Shake Off Your Bad Mood
Getting out of a funk can be difficult, especially when you wake up feeling “bleh.” The next time you feel anxious or upset, try one of these mood-boosting fun activities. You’ll feel better before you know it!