More, Easy Ways to Raise Your Mood Temperature
Episode #10 of the course How to improve your mood by Patricia Haddock
Welcome back to your final lesson. Throughout the course, you’ve learned several ways of enhancing your mood from a baby’s laughter to mindfulness. In the final lesson, you’ll gain a few final ideas that can raise your mood and keep it high.
Let Nature Work Her Magic
Spending mindful time in nature is a well-known method for relaxing. Research on Japanese shinrin-yoku, or forest bathing, shows that being in nature also benefits your mood.
You don’t need a forest to gain the benefits of forest bathing. Any place outdoors that appeals to you will work. A beach, a mountain top, a city park, or even a peaceful, tree-lined residential street. The effects of forest bathing are amplified by choosing a place near running water like a fountain or creek.
To maximize your mood, turn forest bathing into a walking meditation:
• Stay present, and pay attention to everything around you.
• Look closely at your surroundings, listen to every sound no matter how small or faint, smell the air, feel the breeze, touch tree bark, leaves, a flower petal.
• Immerse yourself into the moment and the environment.
• Be present.
Create a Mood Enhancing Playlist
Music is one of the oldest forms of communication. Musical instruments from early drums to flutes have been found in ancient cultures around the world.
Music has the power to instantly transport you to a different time and place because it triggers memories. If the memories are positive, a positive mood and a positive state of mind follow. It’s called “mood music” for a reason.
According to Psychotherapist Julia Lehrman, LCSW, RYT, writing in PsychCentral: “Much like meditation, putting on our favorite song or playlist can take our minds out of the vicious cycle of regret, worry, or fear, and help us to refocus our attention on the sound and rhythm of the song, even if just for a short while. Almost instantaneously, we have the ability to bring our minds away from the trap of its constant mental chatter, and into states of present moment awareness and enlivened being.”
“Music hath charms to soothe a savage breast, to soften rocks, or bend a knotted oak.” —William Congreve
Take a Time-Out
Too much work and no play does more than making a dull boy; it can crash your mood. Research from multiple sources shows that leisure time is an important factor in your well-being and life satisfaction. A little downtime makes a world of difference in your outlook and mood.
For a time-out to work, you have to get out of your routine. This means that you don’t check email or voicemail to find out what’s happening at work or in your business. Instead, you choose something relaxing or exciting that you enjoy. According to research from Cornell University, “What you do doesn’t matter, but don’t allow yourself to worry or focus on the work you have to do or the stressors in your life. Letting your mind and body take a break should be your only goal.”
Even a diehard introvert benefits from getting together with friends. A single outing can improve your mood for days. According to Dr. Joel Young, writing in Psychology Today: “The key is to find the level of socialization that makes you comfortable, and to spend time with people who make you feel good about yourself and your life.”
How long has it been since you met for brunch, lunch, a hike, or just to chat over coffee or a glass of wine? If you can’t remember, you’re overdue.
Your Mood Matters in so Many Ways
As you have discovered, your mood and your ability to control it has many benefits for your life. It improves your overall well-being, leads to greater satisfaction in your life and work, reduces your stress, and increases your self-esteem.
You can’t be in a good mood all the time, but you don’t have to be controlled by your moods because you now have tools to help you manage the ups and downs. Remember, persistent negative moods or erratic, swift mood bounces from positive to negative and back may signal a situation that needs professional help to address.
1. Take a hike in the woods.
2. Put in your earbuds and listen to your favorite playlist. Sing and dance along with it until your mood has changed to something more positive.
3. Have a leisurely lunch or dinner with a close friend.
4. Take a day off and just chill.
I hope to see you in another course here at GoHighbrow. Until then, may you have many good-mood days.
Thoughts and Feelings: Taking Control of Your Moods and Your Life by Matthew McKay, Ph.D., Martha Davis, Ph.D., Patrick Fanning
Other courses by Patricia Haddock
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