Imagine waking up each and every morning and embracing the full potential that the new day has to offer. Most of the time, I spring out of bed with a positive attitude, ready to tackle everything on my to-do list and more. But then there are those other days when I wake up feeling less energetic, less excited, and sometimes even a little bit blue, be it from lack of sleep or nighttime overthinking.
While it’s definitely healthy to experience a variety of emotions, there’s no reason we should resign ourselves to having a bad day; shifting our energy and lifting our mood is possible with a few tools and a bit of practice. Once you get acquainted with these easy-to-implement techniques, you’ll be able to control how you feel instead of letting your feelings control you.
The next time your mood could use a boost, try experimenting with these spirit-lifting possibilities and discover which ones work best for you.
- Connect with nature
For me, there is nothing more grounding than connecting with nature. Whether walking on the beach or hiking through the forest, the effects are the same: feeling imbued with a sense of calm, wonder, and joy. Wherever I happen to be, I make sure to take deep breaths of fresh air and delight in the beauty that surrounds me. It works like magic to lift my spirits.
- Dance the samba
… or the macarena, or the floss, or just freestyle it! Whenever I’m feeling “meh” or low-energy, I cue one of my favorite playlists and have a one-woman dance party. Moving our bodies releases endorphins and gets the energy pumping, and it feels great! Dance like nobody’s watching, and you’ll feel fab instantly!
- Call a friend
Engaging with others has the amazing ability to make us feel connected and nurtured, which research indicates can help alleviate depressive feelings and promote a sense of well-being. If I’m feeling low, a chat with a friend does wonders to shift stagnant energy. Even saying hello to a stranger or engaging in conversation with someone at the store can get me out of a funk.
- Be of service
Studies show that people who volunteer experience higher levels of happiness than those who don’t, and even a small investment of time can reap benefits. Simply reaching out and supporting others—friends, family, or even strangers—gets you out of your head and allows you to let go of the temporary travails that are troubling you. Win-win!
- Do something creative
When I feel anxious or distracted, I engage my imagination and channel my energy toward something creative, which often means dreaming up ideas for decorating my house or baking a special treat for someone I love. Using your hands moves the energy from your brain to your body, which is an incredibly effective way to return to your naturally joyful state.
- Say yes to spontaneity
Sometimes I find planning something fun can cause me anxiety, as I, sadly, have very little time and space for much leisurely activity. However, when a last-minute opportunity presents itself, it can be the universe signaling to jump in. Whether it's a same-day dinner invite, impromptu walk with a neighbor, or a tea break with an old aquaintance you happen to bump into, saying "yes" not only makes for a fun few hours, but can get you out of a mental funk. If you've been feeling down and a spontaneous opportunity presents itself, please say YES! It works.
- Play with a child or animal
There's nothing like the playful, joyful energy of a child or companion animal to shift our own energy. Just 30 minutes spent with my beautiful nephew can shift my mindset and get me into a healthy head space. Just like most children, my nephew lives in the moment and just wants to play and laugh and feel joy. Don't we deserve the same?
- Take a cold shower
While I love nothing more than a hot bath to ease tension and warm my bones, studies have shown that just 15 seconds of a cold plunge can completely shift one's mood. Next time you're in a tough place, take a cold shower or jump into a cold pool for a jolt of energy that should increase alertness, energy, and feelings of joy.