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How to Change Your Mood In 5 Minutes

The daily hustle and bustle of life can become extremely overwhelming at times, and at certain points, we just want a break! In order to discuss mood accurately, we need first acknowledge that mental health professionals will help to facilitate longer term strategies for improving mood. For most of us, however, we don’t have the time and money to spend on weekly psychotherapy sessions so let’s take a look at a few ways we can actually change our mood within a matter of minutes. First and foremost, we can begin with diaphragmic breathing, which is essentially done by distending one’s belly outward upon inhale, while concentrating on avoiding breathing from our chests. This can affect real change in mood at a very quick pace as diaphragmic breathing acts to interrupt the fight or flight response by triggering the body’s relaxation response.

Suggestion #2 involves engaging oneself with whatever natural surroundings are available and convenient. Whether it is taking a stroll down the beach, a hike through the mountains, or just meditating in a forest, this reconnection to nature will help remove distractions so that we can re-center ourselves. If we are not able to make a trip into local natural surroundings, we can engage in mindfulness meditation. Mindfulness meditation, in short, is simply trying to focus on a particular aspect of breathing while allowing thoughts to come and pass as they please without applying judgement to them. Not only does mindfulness meditation provide a great shortcut to immediate mood elevation, but over the long term, it allows us to become progressively more and more aware of the potential stress that our waking thoughts can bring to us without even realizing it. One of the simplest strategies to improve mood applies the adage, “fake it until you make it”. This is interesting because it works counterintuitively to our typical experience. We often think that we become happy due to our brain sending signals to neurotransmitters that are released and that create a sense of elevated mood. This is all true, however, the exciting part is that we can actually reverse engineer this process. We can put on a funny movie, a stand-up comedy special, or a podcast we enjoy and then force ourselves, regardless of our mood, to commit to allowing ourselves to find humor. If we can keep a smile for any extended amount of time, our bodies and brains will react according and supply us with the feel-good chemicals necessary to elevate our mood. Today is the day to give some of these a shot!

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